ERIC Number: ED222087
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1976-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Bilingualism and Self-Constancy: A Structural Approach.
Hodge, Virginia D.
The phenomenon of ego-switch, reported by many bilinguals as the perception that they have a different personality associated with each of their languages, is examined. In a study involving a sample of 252 white South African students who spoke English and Africaans, subjects were administered psychological tests and a questionnaire on their language background. While 40 percent of the subjects reported no ego-switch, the remainder reported either ego-diffusion or a more complete form of ego-switch. The subjects who reported ego-diffusion described it in terms of being inept and less able to express themselves when using their second language. Those reporting the more complete form of ego-switch consciously perceived themselves as having a separate personality for each language and viewed this as a normal and positive phenomenon. Possible explanations for ego-switch include differences in language proficiency, differences in the cultural milieu in which each language is used, and differences in awareness of paralinguistic phenomena such as gestures and body cues. Other possible factors involve (1) elaborated versus restricted modes of language use, (2) compound versus coordinate bilingualism, (3) integration of speech and kinesic communication channels, and (4) ego-switch as a function of feedback variation. (RW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa