A scientific taxonomy of human personality attributes should optimally be based on studies from multiple languages and cultures. Study 1 demonstrates convergence between seven-factor structures found in previous studies of Filipino and Hebrew languages. Study 2 shows that this ‘Multi-Language Seven’ (ML7) factor model overlaps partially with the Big Five model, but includes four rather than three affective–interpersonal factors, replicates in American English lexical data nearly as well as the Big Five, and has close correspondences to the structure upon which two Italian lexical studies have converged. Correlates were used to clarify interpretation of ML7 factors labelled Gregariousness, Self-Assurance, Even Temper ‘versus Temperamentalness’, Concern for Others, Conscientiousness, Originality/Virtuosity, and Negative Valence ‘or Social Unacceptability’. These studies indicate the viability of a lexically derived ‘etic’ alternative to the Big Five. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.