How language shapes thoughs

We will be using only language to address you, no image. We will be doing that because I can. We humans have the gift of language. Just by making some noises with our mouths, we can send pressure waves through the air, and these pressure waves can magically create ideas and images in the mind of people who hear it, right. So I can Just say something like: imagine a Mess random sit met dieter, and hopefully if everything has gone well in your life so far, you’ve never had that though before. And now you’ve had that thought Just because I made the pressure waves travel through the air.

Humans communicate with one another using a lot of languages, there are over 6. 000 different languages, cachet differing from the next in innumerable ways. Do the languages we speak shape the way we see the world? The way we think? And they way we live our lives? Do people think differently simply because they speak different languages? Does learning new languages change the way you think? And what about bilingual people? Do they think differently when speaking different languages? You hear a lot of people say, that when they learn a new language, they start thinking differently.

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Charlemagne for example said: to have a second language is to have a second soul. We have collected data about a lot of languages and compared them. What we have learned is that people who speak deferent languages do indeed think differently and that even grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world. To understand how important language is to us, lets look at this small example. If you lose, or you are born without your sight or hearing, you can still have a wonderful rich social existence_ You can have friends, you can get an education. O can get a job and start a family. But what would your life be like if you had never learned a language? Could you still have friends? Or get an education and start a family? Language is so fundamental to our experience, so deeply a part of being human, that it’s hard to imagine life without it. But are languages tools for expressing our thoughts, or do they actually shape our thoughts? A simple observation is that languages differ from one another. And a lot! Lets take an example. Suppose you want to say: Pellet read Hemmingway latest book. Let’s now focus on the verb “read”.

To say this sentence in English, we have to mark the verb for tens, in this case, we eave to pronounce it like “red” instead of “read”. In Russian, you would have to indicate the tense and the gender. So if it was “Sara” who did the reading, you’d use a different form of the verb than if it was petite. In Russian you would also have to include In the verb Information about completion. So if petite read only part of the book, you’d use a different form of the verb than If heed read the whole thing. And In Turkish you’d even have to include in the verb how you acquired this information.

So if you’ve heard it, or actually seen it. Compared to the Hopi language spoken in Eratosthenes Arizona, English focuses more on whether the event is in the past or present, while Hopi doesn’t require this, and focuses more on how you got the information. Whorl believed that, because of this, Hopi and English speakers think about events differently. Hoop focusing more on the source of Information, while the four minutes, half an hour, they tend to treat time as objects (seconds, minutes, hours) instead as a smooth and unbroken stream. This makes them think that time is stuff that can be saved, wasted or lost.

The Hopi don’t talk about those terms, and so think about it differently, or them it’s a continuous cycle. In English, we’ll often say that someone broke a vase even if it was an accident, but Spanish and Japanese speakers tend to say that the vase broke itself. This has the effect that English speakers are much more likely to remember who accidentally popped balloons, broke eggs, or spilled drinks in a video than Spanish or Japanese speakers. Clearly, different languages require different things of their speakers. Does this mean that the speakers think differently about the world? The answer is yes.

So lets find out why it’s yes. Joke, so lets do a test. Everyone close your eyes and point your finger to the east. Now you can open your eyes. I see fingers pointing everywhere. To be honest I don’t know where it is either. But we can surely say that we all don’t know it for 100%. In Paranormal, a small community in northern Australia. The locals don’t use left, right, forward and back. Which are commonly used in English. The locals use cardinal- direction terms, like North, south west and east, to define space. This is done on all scales, so the people say things like: the cup is next to your southeast leg.

The normal greeting there is: where are you going? And the answer should be: northwest for example. So if you don’t know which way you’re facing, you can’t even get past the “hello”. The locals from paranormal think different about the space and are much better than English speakers at staying oriented and keeping track of where they are, even in unfamiliar places or inside buildings. What enables them- in fact, forces them- to do this is their language. Because space is such a fundamental domain of thought, differences in how people think about space don’t end there.

For example, People who use west and east instead of left and right also think different about time. This is proven with experiments done on English people and people from rampart. Both people got pictures of temporal progression, like a man aging, a crocodile growing or a banana being eaten. They had to arrange the pictures to show the temporal order. English people arranged the cards so that time proceeds from left to right. The locals, who don’t use left and right, arranged the cards from east to west. No matter what way they were facing.

So when they were facing the east, the cards came toward the body and so on. Which clearly shows that language changes the way you think. Even basic aspects of time perception can be affected by language, for example English speakers prefer to talk about duration in terms of length, like: that was a short talk, the meeting didn’t take long. While Greek speakers use terms of amount to talk about time, like the movie was big. This also affects their abilities, English people are better than Greek speakers in estimating a distance, while Greek people can sues someone speaks.

You are probably asking yourself at this point if these differenced are caused by language or other aspects, like culture. Focuses the culture differs in a lot of ways, but how do we know that its language itself that creates this differences in though ND not some other aspect of their cultures? Test met bylaw Gun speakers, who don’t differentiate between yellow and orange, have trouble telling them apart. In Russian on the other hand, there is no single word that covers all the colors that English speakers call Blue.

Russian makes a distinction between light blue, which is scales geology in Russian, and dark blue, which is called shiny. Does this distinction mean that shiny blues look more different from geology blues to Russian speakers? We Just compared a Russian and a English speakers ability to discriminate shades of blue. The answer is yes, Just like saw in our test. Russian speakers are quicker to distinguish two shades of blue that are called by different names in Russian that if the two have the same name like it is in English. This is the same as English people have Red en pink.

Two different colors you would think, but Pink is actually light red. Language can affect the way we put things in groups, and so affects how you think about them compared to other languages. Take grammatical gender. In Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine. What it means for a language to have grammatical gender is that words belonging to different genders get treated differently. For example to say something like: my chair was old in Russian, you would say: mom stud bill start. Chair is masculine in Russian, and because of that you’d need to make every word in the sentence agree with the gender.

So you’d use the masculine form of my, was and old. This are the same forms you’d use of you were speaking about a male, so you can say: mom toots bill stars. If, instead of speaking of a chair, you were speaking off bed, cravat, which is feminine in Russian, you would say: moist cravat bill strain. So the form of the words my, was and old have changed their form. This form is also used if you’d speak f a women instead of a bed. Does treating chairs as masculine and beds as feminine in the grammar make Russian speakers think of chars a being more like men and beds more like women in some way?

It turns out that it does, and not only in Russian. If German and Spanish speakers have to describe objects having opposite gender in those two languages, Germans would describe a key, which is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish, as hard, heavy, metal, useful and other “male words”. Spanish speakers would describe it more like: little, shiny, tiny and lovely. Same goes for bridge. Bridge s feminine in German en masculine in Spanish. The Germans described it as: beautiful, peaceful, pretty. While the Spanish said that it was: big long strong and dangerous.

So apparently small grammatical things as a gender, can have an effect example, German painters would paint the death as a man, whereas Russian painters are more likely to paint death as a woman. This show that language affects how people think about anything that can be designated by a noun. That’s a lot of stuff Even in school when we read 1984 we saw an example of this: Newsweek is engineered to remove even the possibility of rebellious thoughts?the words by which such thoughts might be articulated have been eliminated from the language.

Newsweek contains no negative terms. For example, the only way to express the meaning of “bad” is through the word “unshod. ” Something extremely bad is called “doubles unshod. ” This shows that if you eliminate your language, your thoughts can also disappear. We have described how languages shape the way we think about space, time, colors and objects. Language is central to our experience of being human, and the languages we speak profoundly shape the way we think, the way we see the world and the way we live our lives.