Why Does My Personality Change When I Speak In A Different Language?

Last Update on November 23, 2021 : Published on November 24, 2021
personality change when speak in different language

For a long time, I did not know that when I am speaking in my mother tongue I have a different personality in comparison to when I speak in English. One of my friends once pointed it out and I started to wonder why does my personality change when I speak another language?

Does something have an influence on me? What is it that makes me change my innate nature or my body language? I am sure many of you wonder about the same too. But have you ever tried to find out why you may have a different personality while speaking a different language?

If you have begun reading this article, you’re obviously looking for answers! It’s certain that there is a significant effect of language on our personality.

All we have to do is some research, let’s get our answers!

How Does Our Personality Change When Speaking In A Foreign Language?

personality in different languages

When I say that there is a personality change I don’t mean that you completely change into another person. Having said that, there is a visible change in your thought, behavior, and body language when you converse in a different language.

There are many studies from The United States which claim that your perception and interpretation of certain things change when you watch, hear or speak in another language. it’s all about how you think in a certain language.

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Here are some changes that you might experience because of the language you choose to speak in:

  • Your confidence might increase or decrease (depending on the comfort you have with the language)
  • Your reaction to the same situations in different languages will be different
  • Your opinions will change with change in language
  • Mannerisms are also affected by change in language
  • Perceptions and interpretations are influenced by language
  • Body language is high altered because of changes in language
  • The intensity of your personality changes with change in language (you might be serious while speaking in one language and fun while talking in another)
  • Posture is again influenced by the language you choose to speak in

Have you experienced these changes while you are having a conversation in two different languages? My body language is the first to change!

What Is The Theory Behind The Change In Personality Because Of Change In Language?

language personality theory

Our brain is highly talented and we humans are capable of switching our thoughts and feelings about a particular situation. We easily switch between our two different interpretations of a similar thing.

This phenomenon of being able to change from one way of interpreting something to another is called Frameshifting. Frameshifting is actually responsible for the personality change in us caused by the language we choose to speak in.

Now, we all are capable of frameshifting but according to researchers, bilingual and multilingual people do it a lot more because language is one of the triggers of frameshifting.

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What Effect Language Has On The Personality Of Bilingual/Multilingual People?

Okay, Let’s understand this with the help of an exercise. We all are guilty of using cuss words and I will make you do it again. Now all you have to do is choose a cuss word and choose two languages that you know.

Say the cuss word out loud in both languages. Which sounded worse? Which was more demeaning? Although the meaning is the same in both languages, the intensity changed when you changed the language.

It did sound a lot worse in the language you’re most comfortable in (mostly mother tongue), right? Do you know why? It’s all about who you chose to interpret it.

Since you are fluent in your first language the cuss words seem more intense than when you hear them in your second or first language.

This was an example of how your personality changes while talking in another language. It’s all because you interpret and perceive things differently in different languages. From personal experience, I will give you another example.

Whenever I am having an argument with my husband, I somehow always fight in English. But whenever we are mocking each other or just having fun conversations I tend to speak in my mother tongue.

After a lot of research and reading, I found out that I do it because I feel very assertive and serious while I am talking in English and that’s how I readily frameshift from one perception to the other.

Final thoughts…

Language is sure to affect the way you interpret and perceive things. Your interpretation and perception affect your thoughts and feelings. Your thoughts and feelings affect your personality. Therefore, it’s safe to say that your personality does change when you speak in a different language.

I hope you enjoyed reading the article.do comment and tell me about your experience with the frameshifting phenomenon. Does your personality change when you speak in another language too?

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

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About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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