poomeister: A friend is wondering why do we sound different when talking different languages?
There are many factors that pertain to this certain topic so I will just gloss over the major ones since I do not want to tire you out in explaining this to your friend:
1. Each individual languages have a different set of phonetic (sound) systems. For example, /f/ and /v/ sounds that exist in English do not exist in Tagalog which is why many Tagalog speakers who learned English until much later in their lives have difficulty pronouncing these sounds; they end up using a sound close/similar to it: /f/ -> /p/ and /v/ -> /b/. This also applies to vowels as well and not just the consonants!
2. Dialectal/Idiolectal differences affect the way we sound and the manner in which we speak. Another example: when I talk in English, I tend to talk fast, and when I talk in Tagalog, I talk slow.
That is because the American English dialect I speak/learned to speak is the Philadelphia dialect which is one of the more fast-paced American English dialects and the Tagalog dialect I speak is the Batangas one which is considered one of the older and slower-paced Tagalog dialect. Our speech speed affects our pitch, tone, etc, so of course that affects the way we sound.
Idiolect simply means our unique individual speech pattern. We all speak/ sound differently from one another and have developed different speech patterns for each language we speak. Our idiolect is based on the dialect/s, vocabulary, jargons, syntactic/semantic features, and other linguistic factors we were and still are exposed to. Our social interactions affect our idiolect as well. Some people say I sound more mature when I talk in Tagalog than in English and it may be because: 1. the Tagalog dialect I speak is considered formal/traditional, and 2. I mostly use Tagalog when talking w/ adults and English w/ my peers; therefore, my speech pattern is affected by the people I share a conversation with.
3. And this is related to #1 and #2; the size/shape of our oral cavity, nasal cavity, and articulators (lips, teeth, tongue) affect our sound production. And since each language have a different sound system, we would articulate sounds differently. Our dialect/idiolect knowledge is already integrated and accounted for whenever we speak, and we do not need to make a conscious effort to shape our articulators to sound a certain way. Unless of course if we want to sound a certain way.
Hope this helps!
I tried to make it simple as possible, just ask if you have further questions^^ if u want, i can also post some scholarly articles if your friend wants to read about it, but he/she can just google it