…. or at least other people’s impressions of your personality. I think a lot of my German or English-speaking friends would describe me as at least somewhat outgoing and talkative. However, a few of Marco’s Italian friends who don’t speak English would probably disagree with that description.
Since my Italian can be described as rudimentary at best, I tend to be much more quiet among them. Yes, other people can translate what I say, but a real conversation is nearly impossible and jumping into an ongoing conversation? Forget it! Plus, since my Italian is not that great, it takes much more concentration to follow any conversation. That also leads to me being more tired than usual and therefore much more willing to call it a night much eaerlier than, say, in the US or Germany. I am fully aware that it’s up to me to change things, so I have sort of started to practice Italian with Marco a little more. It’s becoming a tiny little bit easier to communicate at this point. I can do some small talk, but I am far from being able to have a more complicated conversation. The conversations I am able to have in Italian would probably ressemble those you could have with a 4-year old. Well, probably I actually have less vocabulary than a 4-year-old 😉
And the changes in my perceived personality are also present when I switch between German and English – two languages I am very comfortable with. Since I only started studying English in 5th grade and moved to the US only about 6-7 years ago, I don’t have that instinctive feeling of “oops, I shouldn’t say that!” when it comes to curse words. I think I use a lot more “bad” words in English just because it doesn’t feel bad when I do. When I first moved here, I was an exchange student and consequently hung out around a lot of college kids. Therefore, the word “f*ck” in its many possible applications started creeping into my vocabulary more. I once helped a professor proctor an exam and very freely used the word “f*cking” in little funny comment I wanted to make. He looked at me with eyes wide open for what felt like a very long time and then started laughing extremely hard… and I think it was more the use of a pretty inappropriate word than my funny comment that made him laugh. Oh well… 🙂
I am trying to brush up on my languages a little these days and recently found these great blogs: French Blog and Italian Blog. They post little stories here and there about various topics – sometimes completely in that language and sometimes just a few words. I’ve only been following for a little while, but so far I really like it and think it refreshes my memory about what I already know and teaches me a lot of new stuff. Seems like a fun way of getting more comfortable in foreign languages and learning more about the culture as well. It’s free and they have them in many languages. Go check out their website here. They also have a word of the day feature that seems kind of neat.
Do you feel like your personality changes depending on which language you speak?
© 2010 – 2011, Country Skipper. All rights reserved.