Seriously, I have been meaning to blog about this for ages and Samier blogged it about it the other time too!
Different personalities associated with different languages – me and my alternative language selves
For example, when I speak Korean, I’m not so shy and I feel really brave, when I speak in Chinese I feel more outgoing and talkative, and when I speak Japanese I feel very polite and collected.
I need to stress that it’s not saying that we associate these traits to languages and people who speak them. It’s about how our own personalities kinda change a little when we speak in different languages.
For me, I have come to realize that I’m a much nicer and subtle person when speaking in Korean. Perhaps because of my cultural knowledge, I subconsciously respect elders a lot more, show more deference, speak politely to people, be conscious of the age hierarchy. I generally sound a lot nicer (tone wise), more agreeable and a lot more face-giving.
For example, I won’t directly disagree or rebuk a person (especially a senior) unless it really really really pisses me off. I will choose to smile politely and keep the conversation light. And most of the time sound agreeable. Although there are times that my honest and direct personality still come out in Korean, it’s very toned down.
It’s a total different story when I’m speaking in Chinese or English. It’s not about the proficiency. Believe it or not, I can still argue or sound sarcastic in Korean. ^^ When I’m speaking in English or Chinese, I tend to have a more direct personality and I’ll tell you what I really feel about things. Of course I’m still super nice when you are nice and polite, but I don’t take digs / thinly veiled criticisms quietly and if I see a need to rebuke, I will. No caring if you are a senior or not. Not that I’m going to be impolite, but I believe in voicing out what I feel too, in a polite way. But too bad if you really pissed me off, I can get pretty sharp. And I generally have no interest in exchanging fake pleasantries with judgmental people. I generally have little patience with them, since I met too many of them. D:
I generally dislike it when people try to go the roundabout way of saying things. For example, ‘I’m not saying this to criticize you.. / I’m not saying it’s a bad thing’.haha I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt but once you say that a little too many times I’ll start to wonder what’s your true intentions. #justsaying Why don’t you say ‘it’s a great thing, but why don’t…’. I think that sounds a lot nicer. #language peeves
It’s interesting how I’ll not pay that much attention to hierarchy when speaking in English, perhaps because there is less of a cultural emphasis on that in English. It’s like how I am used to calling a Korean Professor by her first name in English but if I ever happen to talk to her in Korean, I’ll definitely use 교수님 instead of her name. I think I’ll be mortified if I slipped and call her by her first name in Korean. ><;; And I think the conversation will be more casual in English and more formal in Korean XD
There are so many tiny ways that I think my personality/tone etc differ across language selves and it’s interesting to reflect and think about them.
As for Japanese, I think I’m still too much of a beginner to start thinking of a language self. Perhaps I’ll develop one in the future 😀
Generally I’m a very carefree kind of person, and I like to do things that I like and am passionate about. ^^ I think that doesn’t change across my language selves.
What is your personality like and how do you think it changes as you speak in different languages? I’m really curious!