K's Atelier





Some people say that bilinguals change their personalities when they speak Japanese and when they speak English. Can you explain what this means?


It is not uncommon for bilinguals to feel as if they have different personalities when they speak different languages. This phenomenon is often referred to as "code-switching" or "language-shifting."

When a bilingual person switches from one language to another, they may feel that their personality and mannerisms change along with it. This could be due to a number of factors, including cultural differences between the two languages, differences in the language's syntax and grammar, or simply the different social contexts in which the two languages are used.

For example, someone who is bilingual in Japanese and English might feel more reserved and formal when speaking Japanese, as that is the norm in Japanese culture. Conversely, they may feel more informal and casual when speaking English, as that is the norm in American or British culture.

Code-switching can also occur within a single conversation or sentence. For instance, a bilingual person might begin a conversation in one language, but switch to the other language to express a particular idea or emotion more effectively.

Overall, code-switching is a natural part of bilingualism and can enhance a person's ability to communicate and connect with others from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.