Aurora Paget

Lost in Translation: A look into Multilingualism’s Effect on Personality and Identity

Mentor: Brian Ernst

In my project, I investigate the connection between language and identity and examine how they influence and affect each other. Language is tied directly to identity formation, especially in the way we express ourselves and are perceived by others. I will build on the study conducted by Smari and Navracsics with multilingual Tunisian citizens, which found that individuals have different personalities when speaking different languages. Growing up in a multilingual household, I have observed this switch and have always wondered about its influence. I’m particularly interested in the experiences of bilingual immigrants in America and how they navigate their identity and language usage, especially when faced with anti-immigrant rhetoric that might lead to forced assimilation and xenophobia. To investigate these relationships, I will use existing literature on multilingualism and identity and conduct personal interviews with first-generation immigrants and their descendants. This project aims to help better understand how language shapes identity, as well as gain insight into the challenges of immigration and assimilation.

See Aurora’s PPT Lost in Translation: A Look into Multilingualism’s Effect on Personality and Identity