Tolerance of ambiguity, need for cognitive closure and feeling like a different person when speaking different languages

Krautz, Agnieszka Ewa

Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume: tba
Page range: tba
Place of publication: London
Publishing house: Routledge, Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0143-4632 , 1747-7557
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Anglistik I (Seniorprofessur) (Tracy 2019-)
Subject: 400 Language, linguistics
Abstract: Feeling like a different person when speaking different languages has been investigated before and attributed to several linguistic as well as psychological factors. Language proficiency, the context of language acquisition, personality traits, emotional intelligence, and the topic of conversation as well as the interlocutor have been found to give rise to this feeling. Here, the discussion of this phenomenon is continued and extended to the investigation of the psychological constructs of tolerance of ambiguity (TA) and need for cognitive closure (NCC) as well as several demographic and linguistic variables, including: age, gender, age of second language acquisition (L2 AoA), and second language (L2) proficiency. Data collected via an online questionnaire from a group of 452 bilingual first language (L1) German – L2 English speakers were analysed with binary logistic regression (GLM model). The analysis returned five factors, i.e. valuing diverse others, decisiveness, change, participants’ gender as well as age, as significant predictors of feeling like a different person (D2 = 0.0718). In addition, qualitative thematic analysis revealed that the languages themselves as well as varied levels of language proficiency and distinct cultural backgrounds might be responsible for feeling different.

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