When speaking a language, one can feel the “cultural baggage” that comes with it. For example, French culture is often associated with elegance and romanticism, and American culture to productivity and dynamism. The use of either languages influences our behavior and personality. A study conducted in 2006 at the Connecticut University proves this.
The study focused on bilingual speakers of English and Spanish. It evaluated five personality traits: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. The results: the study shows that we have a tendency to speak in a different manner about different things depending on the language that we use. When answering in English, people act more extroverted and pleasant than when answering in Spanish. When expressing themselves in English, they tend to talk about their career and their daily lives. In Spanish, they tend to focus more on their family, love and their hobbies.
But the context in which we learn a language is equally important. For example, we develop a better perception of Portuguese culture when learning the language in Lisbon, surrounded with native speakers, than while taking Portuguese evening classes in Paris. In other words, we learn languages much more easily in full immersion (during a trip or a language exchange program). The context in which we learn a language influences our relationship to it. It also determines the personality traits that we adopt when expressing ourselves in it.