>Abby in Spanish v. Abby in English

>So the other day F. told me that I talk differently in English than I do in Spanish. I asked him what he meant by that, and he told me that my voice sounds different. I was skeptical until I told my brother and he said “You totally do!” (My brother has overheard many Skype conversations, or my end of them anyway). So then I got curious. Given that my new computer has a fancy built-in webcam I decided to record myself saying something in English and something in Spanish. Now I realize that this is not the most scientific of experiments, but whatever. I tried to just speak naturally. I found out that my voice is defintely (almost annoyingly) higher in Spanish. And maybe more “cutesy” (ugh!) but I think this is partially due to the fact that having learned most of my Spanish in Chile, I add “-ita” or “-ito” to every other word.

Anyway, so this whole “experiment” got me thinking about a conversation I had at the International Studies Senior Reception this spring when one of my advisors asked me if I thought I had a different personality in Spanish than in English. I didn’t really have an answer for her then, and I don’t really have one now either. The only thing I can think of is that F. told me this January that I was shyer than he remembered. He thought that maybe this was because my study abroad friends weren’t there with me. Also, usually the situations he referred to were ones where his family was sitting around the table talking about people that I don’t know, so I really had no way of participating in the conversation.

My professor told me that she was more agressive while speaking Portuguese (her second language). But she said that was the nature of being in Brazil–she was always worried about someone trying to take advantage of her so she tried to appear more confident than she really felt. I can understand this, but I don’t think that happens to me. If I come across some sort of language barrier, my natural instinct is to back down and seek an easier route. (Man..now I sound like a coward!) Luckily, the whole language barrier thing hardly happens anymore. Although who knows, it’s been 7 months since I’ve been fully immersed in the Spanish language. ¡Ojalá que no haya perdido todo!

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