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How Being Multilingual Affects Our Personalities

How Being Multilingual Affects Our Personalities

Speaking more than one language is what many people strive for. It puts us at an advantage when we’re applying related jobs, and makes us communicate with ease in a foreign country. But this is just the surface. Researchers have found that being multilingual can affect the way we think and change our personalities!

How Being Multilingual Affects The Way You Think

The ability to switch from one language to the next is known to strengthen the brain therefore making it more flexible in problem-solving. A study published in The International Journal of Bilingualism showed that being able to think in two or more languages resulted in children doing better in tests both arithmetically, through problem solving and also enabling them to think more creatively.

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How Being Multilingual Affects Your Perspective

A multilingual is more inclined to think about who speaks to whom, who understands what context and to think in terms of what environments different languages are spoken in. They can categorize meanings in different ways and are even shown to be more sensitive to others.

A study conducted by the department of psychology and human development at Cornell University, found that children who were exposed to multiple languages from an early age are better at understanding other people’s perspectives and were much better at communication. Interestingly, they found that even children who were exposed to more than one language but only spoke one actually did just as well in the study as those that were multilingual.

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How Being Multilingual Can Change Your Personality

Anyone who is multilingual will know that what language they speak determines how they act, feel and come across to others. Many studies are coming through backing up the fact that when we switch from one language to another so does our personality and behaviour. There are many reasons for this; one being the context in which you learnt the language but also the deep-rooted culture that comes with the language you’re speaking.

In a study by Jean-Marc Dewaele and Aneta Pavlenko, results showed that, when asked, nearly two-thirds of bilinguals felt like a different person when speaking another language. Many people find it easier to express themselves in a certain language or find that one language may be softer or more spirited whereas another language may have less expressive vocabulary which results in them being more prone to using certain sides of their personalities when speaking it.

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A study conducted by Michele Koven, involved asking participants who were fluent in both French and Portuguese to narrate personal experiences in both languages. She found that there was a big difference in the way both narratives were told by each individual participant; they emphasized different traits of their personalities depending on which language they were speaking. For example, when speaking French women portrayed themselves as strong and independent yet when speaking Portuguese they were more patient and well-mannered.

Finding different sides of your personality can only serve as a way of discovering emotional perspectives on life and using this as a tool to fully understand your beliefs and passions. Being able to speak a different language therefore allows you to pursue the complex variations of people, culture and even yourself both intellectually and emotionally.

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So whether you speak several languages, or you’re attempting to learn them, there are many wonderful advantages that transcend further than just being able to converse with different people. Languages shape you as a person in many amazing and positive ways making you a true citizen of the world.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

The Need for Change

Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

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We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

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    Signs It’s Time to Redefine

    “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

    So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

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    In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

    “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

    The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

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    When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

    Aronld in Predator

      Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

      And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

      Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

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