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Read. Reflect. Grow.

Ep. 2: Can you translate a personality?

Explore the Intricate Connection Between Personality, Identity, and Language Learning in my New Podcast Series!

Welcome to Episode 2!

For the past year, I've been very interested in how personality and identity connect to one's ability to learn and speak a second language.

It was clear that speaking a second language fluently and confidently required more than just learning grammar and vocabulary.

It even requires more than just practice.

In my mind, being one's best self in a second language requires an understanding of one's thoughts, feelings, and actions to develop foundational confidence in one's ability to express one's unique English-speaking personality that will last a lifetime.

Join me as I dive deep into the complex world of personality and identity and their important role in improving and developing your English language communication skills.

In this epsidoe, I ask the question, 'Can translate a personality from one language to another?'

Listen to find out!

Personality, Identity, and Language Learning - Ep 2

Following along with the transcript

"Welcome to the Phil's Conversation podcast, where I'll be exploring the connections between personality, identity, and language learning. I'm Phil, an English language coach, trainer, and teacher who empowers individuals to break free from mental barriers and fears so that they can unleash their authentic English-speaking personalities.

In the last episode, I briefly explained my understanding of personality. I mentioned Doctor Joe Dispenza, who defines personality as the way that we consistently think, feel, and act. He explains that how we think, feel, and act is shaped by our upbringing, culture, past experiences, and environment. In this episode, I'd like to dive deeper into a belief about personality that I have, which comes from both my own experiences and those of my clients.

So let's dig in. Here's a belief I have about personality: I believe that you can't translate a personality from one language to another. Instead, what you do is you grow your current personality. So the one that you already have, the one that's perhaps German-speaking, you grow that part of yourself to include an English-speaking part of your identity. Because when you learn English as a second language, you're not just learning new words and grammar, you're learning how to think and feel in another language. In essence, what you're doing is you're practicing to make English another emotional language that you have to express yourself with.

Let's take me as an example. I remember when I came back to Switzerland almost 20 years ago, in 2005. I was 21 years old, and I had lived in America for ten years, from the ages of 11 to 21. At the age of 21, in 2005, I had to come back to Switzerland very abruptly. Coming back to Switzerland was an awful and terrible experience because even though I'm Swiss and I did speak a little Swiss German back then, it was very broken.

The hardest part, or my biggest frustration, was not being able to connect with people through my personality. In America, I was an extremely outgoing person. I got along with so many people, had an amazing sense of humor, and was able to connect with almost anyone. I was extremely social and loved interacting with people. But when I moved back to Switzerland, that changed. My thoughts and feelings in connection to my ability to connect with people turned for the worse. I didn't feel like myself.

For example, I hated that I couldn't keep up with a conversation. People were talking, and by the time I wanted to say something, they had already moved on to something else. I couldn't think of words fast enough. I couldn't express myself quickly enough. That completely changed the way I felt about myself. I felt stupid, slow, and my self-confidence completely went out the door. This bad experience, because of the environment I was in, changed my thoughts and feelings about who I was. But not who I was in English, but who I was in German here in Switzerland.

Unfortunately, these thoughts and feelings made me a very quiet person, a very shy person, and almost the complete opposite kind of person that I was in America. Thinking about that time now, I realize it wasn't enough for me to just translate anything. Even if I knew the words, it would only be the beginning of my ability to feel like myself and express my personality in German. Translation didn't work because, at some point, I was then able to speak more German and translate what I wanted to say. But it took me a long time to realize that it wasn't just about words. It was only when I met people that I had positive experiences with that anything even started to change as far as being able to express my personality to people.

Luckily now, after a good ten years of being here, I have had enough positive experiences with people, and I have made a few friends with whom I speak Swiss German. These positive experiences have changed my attitude and my thoughts and feelings about who I can be in Swiss German. The key here is that I'm able to connect with people. I'm able to make them laugh, I'm able to share my emotions, and that has made all the difference.

I believe that it is because of my own challenges with personality, identity, and language that I really feel compelled to want to help other people break free from any barriers they have. I want to allow them to feel free, and I want them to be able to express their English-speaking personalities freely and authentically. All my clients are amazing people, and I know this because I get to know them. Through the environment that I create—a safe space where people can make mistakes and feel free—I get to experience their transformation from a more reserved English speaker to a much more open English speaker. It's beautiful, and I love that.

So that's what I just wanted to share with you today—my personal experience of realizing that you can't translate a personality. It's really about growing your current personality and learning how to include that English-speaking part of yourself into your identity and personality. I hope this connects with you. I hope you enjoy this short episode, and I look forward to sharing much more with you all. Have a great day. Thank you very much for listening. Until next time."

Episode Summary


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