Have you ever noticed how your behavior changes when you speak another language?
It's subtle at first, but you gradually construct another version of yourself - let's call it your English self.
This self has viewpoints, attitudes, and movements that develop gradually as you achieve fluency. You realize at some point that your English personality has taken on a life of its own.
Has it, or has it not? The concept of a bilingual identity may be more fiction than reality. You may express yourself differently in another language, but you're still the same person, right?
We'll look at the myth of multilingual identity together. So prepare to dig into the fascinating connection between yourself and your English self.
The Emergence Of Your English Self
When you decide to study English, a new you emerges, your English self. This self starts as a shaky, timid speaker but gains confidence and skill with time.
• You may first feel like an impostor speaking English. You know your ideas and personality in your home language but find it difficult to express yourself completely in English. It might seem like you're acting as someone else.
• As you experience, your English self gets stronger and more confident. You create a particular speaking style in English, with favored phrases, idioms, and a distinct sense of humor.
• Your English and native language selves merge. When speaking your native language, you may employ English terms or phrases or translate English idioms. This linguistic integration represents your multilingual identity.
• However, considerable distance remains. Your English self is often a compressed version of your entire, varied self. Nuances are lost during translation. In certain cases, one language may feel more natural than the other.
• Ultimately, your English self is a reality that coexists alongside your native self rather than fiction. These selves, when combined, become your bilingual identity, a complex blend of languages and cultures. It is a lifetime adventure of self-discovery to navigate between them.
So embrace your English identity. Learn about them, strengthen them, and rejoice in this new dimension of your personality. Two selves are superior to one!
How Does Your English Self Differs From Your Native Self?
When you study English, you create a new identity - your English self. This self is distinct from your natural self in many ways:
• You may come out as more formal or courteous in English. English has unique etiquette and respect standards that are rooted in the language that you use. Expressions such as "please," "excuse me," and "thank you" become automatic.
• Your sense of humor shifts. You begin to grasp and use the usual English jokes, puns, and sarcasm. When connecting with people or lightening the atmosphere, your English self understands when to employ humor.
• You get fresh insights and modes of thought. You are exposed to cultural attitudes and values that form your English self as you immerse yourself in English literature, movies, music, and discussions. Your perspectives may change and become more open or flexible.
• You're back to feeling like a newbie. While your native self is comfortable and confident, your English self may be anxious or cautious. It might be difficult not to be able to express oneself completely. However, consistent practice will make your English more competent and comfortable.
The misconception of bilingualism is that these two identities are distinct. They are, in fact, linked and complimentary. Your English self complements your native self by bringing a different perspective and abilities.
To top it all off, your native self is a cultural foundation for your English self. When combined, these selves form a total larger than the sum of its parts. You may merge both into a bilingual personality with time and effort.
Why The Bilingual Identity Is A Myth?
You Are Not Two Separate Selves
When you're learning English, you may feel as if you've developed two versions of yourself: your native and English language self. However, this needs to be clarified. You're still you; you're simply using a different side of yourself.
• No matter your language, your personality, events, values, and viewpoints stay the same.
• You've merely learned to express yourself in two languages.
• This does not create two distinct individuals or divide your identity in half.
A Language Is A Tool For Expressing Identity
Consider language to be a tool for communicating who you are. You gain another tool to use when you learn English, providing additional alternatives for expressing yourself.
• Your identity and feeling of self are not defined by the languages you speak.
• Your identity shapes your values, ideals, connections, and life experiences.
• Language is merely a method of transmitting one's identity to others.
Adaptation Is Not Identity Transformation
It is natural to have some cultural adaption while speaking another language. This, however, is not the same as evolving into another person.
• You can stick to cultural conventions or modify your conduct out of politeness. However, you are still functioning from your own identity and viewpoints.
• Any changes are cosmetic and transitory rather than a comprehensive transformation of who you are.
• Your essential beliefs and drives transcend languages and cultures.
The concept of a bilingual identity is simplified. You are a full person with various life events defining your identity. Regardless of language, you can access all elements of your unique self. While you may communicate differently in other languages, your sense of self remains constant. You are not two distinct individuals but one with a deep, complex personality.
You are not two people living in one body. Your identity is rich and complex, yet you're still the same person. Languages are tools that enable you to express yourself in many ways. They broaden your thinking and expose you to different ideas and civilizations. However, you are not defined by any language. The concept of a bilingual identity is fascinating but ultimately a myth. You are you and only you.