Two Personalities. One Bilingual.

Have you ever noticed that every language brings out a different side of you? Especially if you’re bilingual which seems to take this to another level. Speaking two languages fluently apparently has made me develop two different personalities.

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that on the one hand I am a depressed insomniac looking desperately for the meaning of life, and on the other, a devil-may-care sexy and violent “animal”. What does it mean then? 

By the way, if you didn’t get that Fight Club (1999) reference, get your priorities straight 😛

The thing with being bilingual is that you speak two completely different languages that each have their own culture, certain words that are impossible to translate and “personalities“. When I say personalities, I don’t mean every French person has the same personality just because they speak French, but French does bring its own unique personality as a language compared to Korean for example if you think about it.

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When two very different languages come into play though and, being bilingual, you speak them both, you change a bit when limited to speaking just the one, which can get pretty exhausting.

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The thing is, I always feel I am more “myself” when speaking both languages at the same time. Because my personality is a mix of both Greece and South Africa, I can only express this when speaking both. I have certain traits that I got from South Africa and the English language and completely different ones that I got from Greece and the Greek language.

For example, when speaking English, I’ve noticed I tend to be a bit more polite and reserved. When speaking Greek though, I tend to swear quite often and be much more loud and confident.

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It came with Greece and its people, which I absolutely adore. I love my Greek side and developed much more confidence and character, but I also love having being raised to be more polite.

I remember Greek teachers used to tell my parents that it was so obvious I wasn’t raised in Greece. All the other kids were loud and confident, whereas I was quiet and shy. Kids in my school also kept telling me to stop saying “please” and “thank you” all the time. Apparently it wasn’t necessary.

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In South Africa though, it completely is. If you don’t say “I’m fine, THANK YOU”, people take it that you’re being rude.

What about you? What different personalities have you adopted from your two mother tongues? Do you also feel, like me, that you are more yourself when speaking them both at the same time?

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