One observation is that most people are not symmetrically bilingual: Many have learned one language at home from parents, and another later in life, usually at school. So bilinguals usually have different strengths and weaknesses in their different languages—and they are not always best in their first language.

Another observation is that even for a speaker whose two languages are very nearly the same in ability, the person will feel different in the two of them is because there is an important distinction between bilingualism and biculturalism. Many bilinguals are not bicultural, yet some are. And for them, we should be little surprised that they feel different in their two languages.

Johnson: Do different languages confer different personalities?
LAST week, Johnson took a look at some of the advantages of bilingualism. These include better performance at tasks involving “executive function” (which involve the…


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