Monday, July 26, 2010

Language shapes how we think

I copied this from Capucha, another blog that I follow.  


Pretty interesting article in the WSJ today. Basically says that language profoundly influences how we see the world. Some examples:
  • Russian speakers who have more words for light and dark blues are better able to visually discriminate shades of blue.
  • An aboriginal community in Australia doesn’t use terms like “left” and “right”, and instead uses north, south, east and west for directions. As a result they have greater spatial orientation.
  • People who speak languages that drop the agent of causality, for example “the vase broke itself” versus “John broke the vase,” don’t often associate blame for events.
  • One group who uses the words “few” and “many” in favor of actual number words have difficulty keeping track of exact quantities.
  • English speakers see time on a horizontal plane, with the best years ahead and the past behind us. Whereas Mandarin speakers see new events emerging like a spring of water, with the past above and the future below.

This is so fascinating to me! You can read the full article by clicking HERE.

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