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An Application Tool for the MBTI Instrument.

Changing Languages Summary

Henry L. Thompson, Ph.D.

A common question addressed early in CommunicationWheel™ seminars and workshops is "How do you change languages?" Let's take an ENFJ as the example. ENFJs speak Feeling as their primary language and NFJ as a dialect. Extraverted Feelers tend to be object focused, that is, focused on the outside world. They respond to external stimuli, including societal norms of how things should be during interpersonal interactions. Feeling is a judging function—and language. Consequently, when speaking the Feeling language, the ENFJ tends to be quick to evaluate, or judge, the situation, person, conversation, etc. This is being driven by the judging orientation to life, which results in extraverting the judging function.

Switching to the secondary language of iNtuitive requires a shift of not just a language, but also a shift in orientation from J to P. iNtuitive is a perceptive language and requires a cessation of judging in order to use it. The switch from feeling to iNtuitive also switches the dialect from NFJ to NFP.

The difficulty of changing from a judging language to a perceptive one is particularly evident in brain storming sessions. One of the primary brain storming rules is "no judging of others' ideas" during the idea generation phase. Those who have to change from a judging language (T or F) to a perceptive one (S or N) find it very difficult to remain in a perceptive mode during the session. After all, the sometimes wacky ideas produced in a brain storming session are easy targets for criticism. Changing to iNtuitive requires suspending judgment, loosening up, going with the flow.

The above explains what happens to the orientation dimension when changing languages, but what about attitude? For example, when an INFJ changes from their primary language of feeling to their secondary of iNtuitive, does their attitude also change?

The answer is "yes." To assist in the explication of the rationale for this, an annotated type code will be used. The dominant (D) and auxiliary (A) functions and their attitudes, extraversion (e) and introversion (i) will be designated, e.g., IN DiF AeJ. The INFJ normally extraverts their auxiliary function F Ae, supported by their dominant, introverted function N Di. In order to switch from the feeling language (based on extraverting a judging function) to the iNtuitive language (based on extraverting a perceiving function), they have to extravert as a perceptive (P). Thus, their dialect, N DiF AeJ changes to N DeF AiP. Note that when J changed to P, the attitude of the functions also changed. If the attitude remained the same (I), the INFJ would become an INFP. The IN AeF DiP style extraverts the auxiliary function N Ae, supported by the dominant, introverted function F Di. The new dialect, N DeF AiP, does not match the INFP dialect, N AeF DiP; it actually changed to match the EN DeF AiP dialect. Observation of INFJs changing from the feeling language to iNtuitive reveals a sudden "burst of extraversion." When introverts change to their secondary language, they become extraverts.

When extraverts change to their secondary languages, they become more introverted. For example, when EN AiT DeJs change from the primary language of thinking to the secondary of iNtuitive, they change to the IN AeT DiP style. An easy way to remember what happens when types change from their primary to secondary languages is that extraverts change to the introverted style of their secondary language and introverts change to the extraverted style.


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