Bilingualism and personality

Among the various aspects of bilingualism it is necessary to underline how it is not only our perception of the world, of time or of colors that changes, but even the whole personality of an individual and, with it, their gestures, tone of voice and many other aspects. Bilingual people are unaware of many intrinsic knowledge of a second language: just as one learns the cultural background involuntarily, the personality also changes to better adapt to the cultural characteristics of the spoken languageat that moment. Not only that, but also the grammatical differences, once again lead to reasoning in a completely different way: the Russian has an articulated system of verbs able to immediately give the idea of ​​a precise action in the listener’s mind, while it is not possible to do the same in Italian, a language that implies resorting to various stratagems in order to make the idea original and maintain the accuracy of every verbal form of the Russian language. It is a simple example to better explain every aspect that can change both your perception of the world, as much as your personality. Bow down with the Japanese, don’t smile with the Russians,

Indeed, these social norms do not depend exclusively on the evolution of a particular society, but are essentially related to the principle of action of one language rather than another. Clearly, in such a context, many factors intervene; language therefore represents only one of these key factors , but language must not be excluded a priori when analyzing a society and, in particular, the culture related to it. ‘Learn a new language and you will have a new soul’ reads a Czech proverb, to underline how a correlation actually exists between spoken language and personality, because ‘the personality is individual, but not its perception’, determined in this case by the language we speak and the perception we have of other people. However, we must remember how the context in which we find ourselves is fundamental to determine the approach of a person, rather than a language, or how the nuances of a character can be overshadowed if a given situation requires it, although much depends also by various factors such as personal character, command of the language and many others.

The “dilemma” I will tell you about today belongs mainly to those who, like me, leave their country, with the illusion of being able to feel at home even in the country to which they are emigrating. I deal with translators because I have been told that native speakers who live in another country tend to forget their language and therefore stop being good at writing, which seems absurd and contradictory to me.

Italian is not my native language, in fact I learned it after the age of 20 and it is not that I don’t speak or use Spanish, I work there every day writing and thinking in Spanish, but when I have to write some notes, some fast thinking I irreparably use Italian.

I realized that I had made this beautiful language my own when I started dreaming in Italian.

The language learning process has several steps , also from an academic point of view. In summary, first you try to recognize the letters and sounds in that language, then you learn to read them, to understand them, but you still cannot speak. Then you start talking by making an imaginary bridge in the brain from a word in your language to the corresponding one in the language of destiny, then instead the words automatically begin to come without having to go through your language and there you can also articulate a long speech and deep. But in my opinion there is one more step, the one in which you feel so comfortable that you “prefer” to dream in that language .

Do you remember Antonio Tabucchi? He loved Portuguese, he loved it so much that some books preferred to write them directly in Portuguese, because, like me, and many others, he made his own a language that he didn’t know from birth but that he studied, lived and made him fall in love with .

This is where I want to go. We cannot call ourselves bilingual if we clearly respect the concept of bilingualism , but we have made another language our own without abandoning our mother tongue and, in my opinion, the fact of having so deeply incorporated that new language only speaks well of us and of our language and learning ability.

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