Thursday 20 December 2007

Language and personality

If you live in a foreign country and routinely speak the language, you might have noticed this: you are behaving slightly differently depending on which language you speak.

It's difficult to say what the differences are, really, but you can feel they are there. When I'm in Germany speaking German, I am someone. In the UK, speaking English, I am someone else. And at home, speaking French, I am someone else again.

After all the time I spent far from Germany, I cannot even tell anymore which one is the real me. All of them probably.

But does that apply to a child that has lived in a multilingual environment all her life?

I am guessing it does not, as for her being multilingual is absolutely normal. She does use different degrees of intonation and seems to be more animated in Arabic and German than in English or French. But that might well be a result of her copying how we speak.

I guess we are going to have to wait and ask her one day.

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