Learning Foreign Language: Influence On Your Personality


The famous Czech proverb says that, “You live a new life for every new language you speak.  If you know only one language, you live only once.” The language we speak is such an inseparable part of our everyday life that we rarely give it any thought. We think that we control and shape the language and don’t realize that in fact it shapes us, too. The recent studies have shown that our language influences the way we make decisions and choices. It determines the way we see the world around us and the way we interpret everything that happens. It enables us to form our ideas and convey them to other people. Language is like soil out of which our thoughts grow. This means that speaking a foreign language is like having an additional mind in your head. So are you still so sure that you decide what your language will be and not another way around? If you need to write an essay about any aspect of language learning our professional writers will be happy to assist you, just ask them about it on this page. You can read about the way it is done in this post about cheap essay writing service.

How knowing a foreign language influences your personality

The estimate number of languages existing in the world is 7,000. It is hard to name a definite number for many reasons, which you can read about on the web site of Linguistic Society of America. But even that approximate number is impressive. It means that all those people look at the world through the prism of their languages that widely differ from one another. Therefore, if you learn a second language you will be able to adopt a completely new worldview. Let’s try to see if this is really so.

Two approaches

When you want to figure out whether learning another language will change your personality, you should consider looking at this matter from several different perspectives. There are two approaches you could try — scientific and practical.

Scientific approach mostly deals with linguistic theories and cognitive science. Both these fields focus on studying how languages shape the way we perceive the world. A famous theory of linguistic relativity (you can read more detailed description of it on Wikipedia), that goes back to 1930s, states that our mother tongues affects the way we think, understand and react to different aspects of the surrounding world. It tries to prove that speakers of different languages perceive the ideas of space and time unlike each other. At its time the society was fascinated by this theory but eventually, due to the lack of empirical data, the interest withered off.

Later the cognitive science decided to revive the study and to take a closer look at the claims the theory of linguistic relativity made. And after conducting multiple experiments and studies it was able to prove that languages indeed influence very fundamental aspects of human experience, such as space, time, causality and relationships to others. For example a simple verb spoken in different languages could reveal completely different information. In Mian, a language of Papua New Guinea, the verb would express whether the even happened just now, yesterday or in the further past, while in Indonesian, the verb wouldn’t even hint whether it happened already or was coming up in the future. And in Russian, the same verb would reveal the speakers gender. If you want to see more examples of the studies conducted by cognitive scientist you can read this excellent article available from the Scientific American magazine.

The practical approach covers many different aspects which are much easier to grasp that complicated scientific ones. It explains how learning a foreign language may influence your personality based on simple facts that anyone can consciously experience in his life, unlike confusing linguistic theories, which you can’t understand without an additional preparation. So let’s take a look at these aspects according to which adopting a foreign language will:

  • Broaden your understanding of the world and different cultures. Every culture has something unique that you cannot find anywhere else. And you can understand this uniqueness only through that culture’s mother tongue. For example read about gun violence in America in this blog post, the problem that is an inherent feature of American culture.  There are many words that have no equivalents and cannot be directly translated into your language. Such words can tell us a lot about the culture they come from, as well as about that countries worldview, landscape, weather, tastes, etc. Just look at some of this curious words that have no English equivalents and you will understand what I mean;
  • Help you to understand better your own culture. When we live in a sheltered world we take everything for granted and don’t realize that somewhere things might work in a completely different way. What is considered normal or good in your culture could be outrageous and unacceptable in another one, and the other way around. But learning a foreign language will opened that door to another world for you. And by comparing these two worlds you will be able to see your own culture in completely new light;
  • Make you more creative. It is hard to deny that learning another language will provide you with a whole new baggage of knowledge. This knowledge will help you to come up with new ideas easier. Plus, your brain gets a lot of exercise when you study a language, and strong brain means creative brain. If you need to boost your creativity while writing an essay for college you can read some free essay examples like this one for inspiration;
  •  Give you a new cultural experience. While learning a mother tongue of some country you automatically absorb its culture. You open up for yourself the whole new cuisine, history, a way of life. You learn to understand their humor, which makes this experience even more fun;
  • Strengthen your memory and send off the onset of dementia. When you learn a language, you have to memorize thousands of new words, phrases, idioms, grammar rules. It inevitably exercises your memory muscles and keeps them in good shape. And the recent studies have shown that it can actually save you from dementia when you get old. See more interesting facts and tips in this infographic;
  • Make you more tolerant and understanding of other people. When you get to know closely another culture you realize how different all people are. That the norms and standards vary from culture to culture and that there are no universal rules that everyone must follow, except for love and kindness. Understanding this it will be easier for you to accept the differences of other people and be more tolerant to those who are unlike;
  • Broaden your worldview and make you more intelligent. Understanding a foreign language will significantly increase the amount of information from different sources. You can watch foreign movies, news, read their newspapers and magazines. You will be able to meet and talk foreigners and learn things from them firsthand. All this will make you much smarter and interesting person. You will also be able to see the world as if through another pair of eyes, with another perspective on the events around the world. If you want to see how much knowing foreign languages can change your life, check out the blog of Benny the Irish polyglot and see how he managed to learn so many;

Learning a foreign language will enrich your life

Charlemange once said, “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” Everyone who speaks a foreign tongue will understand what it means from their own experience. Knowledge of a second language makes human life richer and more interesting — it is like living two lives in one, like existing at two different worlds at once. There are many approaches you could take looking at how the language we talk and think in shapes our reality. And whether you like it or not, your language determines who you are.  

Do you know any foreign languages? How many? Tell us about it here. If you want to read more on the subject of linguistics check out this blog post about effective writing techniques.