character and personality

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  • foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Well, "personality" is the sum of an individual's peculiarities, created by an interaction between inborn traits and conditioning.

    Character has more to do with what that person does with his personality when he takes control of his own life-- there is a moral dimention, as character is formed at the same point a child grows old enough to be responsible for his own actions. Right and wrong choices are a major factor in establishing character-- whereas personality has more to do with circumstantial matters.

    One observation-- I think when the speaker gave his "vision" of a teacher and said it was composed of "three characters," he was speaking as someone whose native language is based on ideographic characters. The speaker was laying out his description of the ideal teacher as a calligrapher would, delineating traits in three well-chose clusters of brush-strokes.

    It was later on that they started talking about "character" (in the singular) as opposed to personality.
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Well, when "characters" is used in the plural in this conversation, I believe it's being confused with either "character traits" or "characteristics." A person doesn't have six characters (unless they have a multiple-personality disorder :) ). "S" doesn't seem to have a clear grasp of the word "character."

    "Character" has to do with the fundamental make-up of a person - his moral or ethical foundation. "Personality" is a mode of expressing oneself: cheerful, thoughtful, intense, mellow, talkative, circumspect, etc.

    A person has many characteristics, but only one character.

    [edit] I see Foxfirebrand has beat me to the punch, and with a clearer explanation to boot. :)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Well, when "characters" is used in the plural in this conversation, I believe it's being confused with either "character traits" or "characteristics."
    Well as you can see, I came away with a different take on "characters."

    It's not uncommon in Japanese rhetorical forms, even in a simple explanation or exposition, to start with a "picture" of what you're talking about.

    Calligraphic "headings" are both clarifying and flexible, as the aim in that art is to suggest meanings in a way that keeps "definition" subordinate.

    If you've ever seen early episodes of the world-renowned Japanese culinary-combat "surreality TV show" called Iron Chef, you will have seen that the calligraphic overture was once de rigueur in helping define the dining experience the "tasters" were supposed to interpret.

    As the show internationalized, the menus expressed in elaborate kanji "characters" fell by the wayside. From then on, what you ate was what you got.
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    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    JamesM, foxfirebrand:) I can't thank you enough for always helping us!

    In the link, E is a Japanese teacher, and S is a native speaker of
    English."S" doesn't seem to have a clear grasp of the word "character."
    I think this native speaker used the word "character" in the sense E (Japanese teacher) was using out of kindness. Thoght it was a wrong choice of word, he chose not to hamper the flow of the confersation. Thank you, now I understand that E should have said "three characteristics are needed to be a good teacher" instead of "three characters." Now I know that one person can have only one character, but can have many characteristics.

    Firefoxbrand, it's interesting that "characters" can be interpreted as you have. Chinese and Japanese can make each others understood by writing kanji (ideographic characters) on paper. I liked the Iron Chef, I miss the program.

    We hear "personality disorder" but not "character disorder." I've now got the clearer definition of those words. I owe two of you a lot!
     
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