How language affects you

Dispatches on the Future of Science Edited By Max Brockman Humans communicate with one another using a dazzling array of languages, each differing from the next in innumerable ways. Do the languages we speak shape the way we see the world, the way we think, and the way we live our lives?

How language affects you

Dispatches on the Future of Science Edited By Max Brockman Humans communicate with one another using a dazzling array of languages, each differing from the next in innumerable ways. Do the languages we speak shape the way we see the world, the way we think, and the way we live our lives?

Do people who speak different languages think differently simply because they speak different languages?

How the language you speak changes your view of the world

Does learning new languages change the way you think? Do polyglots think differently when speaking different languages? These questions touch on nearly all of the major controversies in the study of mind.

They have engaged scores of philosophers, anthropologists, linguists, and psychologists, and they have important implications for politics, law, and religion. Yet despite nearly constant attention and debate, very little empirical work was done on these questions until recently.

For a long time, the idea that language How language affects you shape thought was considered at best untestable and more often simply wrong. We have collected data around the world: What we have learned is that people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even flukes of grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world.

Language is a uniquely human gift, central to our experience of being human. Appreciating its role in constructing our mental lives brings us one step closer to understanding the very nature of humanity.

I often start my undergraduate lectures by asking students the following question: Most of them pick the sense of sight; a few pick hearing. Once in a while, a wisecracking student might pick her sense of humor or her fashion sense.

Yet if you lose or are born without your sight or hearing, you can still have a wonderfully rich social existence.

You can have friends, you can get an education, you can hold a job, you can start a family.

How The Body Speaks

But what would your life be like if you had never learned a language? Could you still have friends, get an education, hold a job, start a family? But are languages merely tools for expressing our thoughts, or do they actually shape our thoughts? Most questions of whether and how language shapes thought start with the simple observation that languages differ from one another.

In Russian you would have to alter the verb to indicate tense and gender. Clearly, languages require different things of their speakers. Does this mean that the speakers think differently about the world? Do English, Indonesian, Russian, and Turkish speakers end up attending to, partitioning, and remembering their experiences differently just because they speak different languages?

For some scholars, the answer to these questions has been an obvious yes. Just look at the way people talk, they might say. Certainly, speakers of different languages must attend to and encode strikingly different aspects of the world just so they can use their language properly.

All our linguistic utterances are sparse, encoding only a small part of the information we have available. Believers in cross-linguistic differences counter that everyone does not pay attention to the same things: Unfortunately, learning a new language especially one not closely related to those you know is never easy; it seems to require paying attention to a new set of distinctions.

Recently my group and others have figured out ways to empirically test some of the key questions in this ancient debate, with fascinating results.

Follow me to Pormpuraaw, a small Aboriginal community on the western edge of Cape York, in northern Australia. I came here because of the way the locals, the Kuuk Thaayorre, talk about space. Instead of words like "right," "left," "forward," and "back," which, as commonly used in English, define space relative to an observer, the Kuuk Thaayorre, like many other Aboriginal groups, use cardinal-direction terms — north, south, east, and west — to define space.

The normal greeting in Kuuk Thaayorre is "Where are you going? What enables them — in fact, forces them — to do this is their language. Having their attention trained in this way equips them to perform navigational feats once thought beyond human capabilities.

People rely on their spatial knowledge to build other, more complex, more abstract representations. Representations of such things as time, number, musical pitch, kinship relations, morality, and emotions have been shown to depend on how we think about space.

So if the Kuuk Thaayorre think differently about space, do they also think differently about other things, like time?You’ve probably been told to sit up straight a few times in your life, turns out there’s a good reason to follow that heartoftexashop.comg or standing with a slouch can lead to abnormal spine alignment, which can affect our overall health and leave us with problems for the rest of our lives..

There are short-term effects too. In my opinion, language affects identity, personality and behavior in many ways, but the evidence for linguistic relativity is slight in the sense that structural differences in language definitely exist, but don’t shape our behavior or sense of identity the way you assume.

The Physical Thought

Below you’ll discover seven ways your body language can positively influence your life. The Victory Stance Amy Joy Cuddy is an American social psychologist known for her research on nonverbal behavior and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels, among other things.

How Speaking a Second Language Affects the Way You Think The role of inhibition in language, thought, and emotion. Posted Sep 09, Jan 02,  · How Language Seems To Shape One's View Of The World: One's native language could also affect memory, says Pavlenko.

How language affects you

Shots is the online channel for . In contrast to one’s first language, it tends to lack the deep-seated, misleading affective biases that unduly influence how risks and benefits are perceived. So the language you speak in really.

6 Ways Your Body Language Affects How You Think