Humans communicate with one another using a many languages, each differing from the next in many 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? Does learning new languages change the way you think? The idea that the language we use influence the way that we think shows the different ways a word can mean. Language does not only reflect our way of thinking, but is also able to shape it.
People from different cultures and languages view the world differently and organize their reality differently. The way that they think is influenced by the grammar and vocabulary of their language. To bring it directly to the point: there are certain thoughts and ideas that can only be thought in a particular language. These ideas do not exist in other languages. Many people say that you could not live a normal life if you did not have the able to hear or be able to see but the real question is could you be able to live a normal life if you had never learned a language?
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Could you still have friends, get an education, hold a job, 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 merely tools for expressing our thoughts, or do they actually shape our thoughts? “We use language to describe our subjective perception of the world. If I say “I feel cold”, then I use language to describe how I feel. This is nothing new. The interesting question now is: does it also work the other way around?
Can the language that we use influence the way that we perceive and view things? ” This is an example on how different language can affect the way we think People organize space and time based on the language that they use. They showed people speaking different languages picture cards with faces of people with a different age. The researchers asked the people to arrange the cards according to age. People who speak English arranged the cards from left to right; this reflects the direction of their writing. For them, young is on the left and old is on the right.
For them, time flows from left to right. People who write Hebrew arranged the cards from right to left, this too reflects their writing. The Australian Aborigines They do not use the words “left” and “right”, which are relative to the observer. Instead they use the terms “north”, “south”, “east”, and “west”. Instead of saying “What are you holding in your left hand? ” They’d say: “What are you holding in your north-east hand? ” Unlike English speakers, the aboriginals use an absolute reference system for space, and not a relative one like speakers of other languages.
The language that they use essentially forces them to stay oriented at all times, and indeed they have much less problems staying oriented in new surroundings, compared to speakers of other languages. They arranged them from east to west. This has something to do with the direction of the sun moving, which also moves from east to west, and which reflects time. Color perception is a second example which demonstrates how language can influence again the way we think . In the Russian language, for example, there is no single name for the color blue.
If an English speaker says “The pen is blue”, then the pen could be any shade of blue from light blue to dark blue. The Russian language requires the speaker to make a distinction. The person must say “The pen is light blue” or “The pen is dark blue”, because a general term for “blue” does not exist. In short: Learn to speak Russian if you want to improve your color perception. How can this be explained? How can language influence the perception of color? I think the explanation is not even so difficult.
The language Russian requires the people to distinguish different colors, and for this reason the people have simply more training in distinguishing the colors. Seeing different colors can therefore also be learned. But does this mean that the Russian speakers think of these as different colors, while having one word for blue causes English speakers to think of them as the same? Do you think of red and pink as different colors? If so then you may be in the influence of your language; after all pink is just a light red. Example 1
The question that I ask myself is, if there is no word for a particular idea or concept, does it mean that the people are not aware of the existence of this concept at all? In the Arapaho culture, for example, there is only one word for “father” and for “uncle”. Does this now mean that a child of this culture does not differentiate between his/her own father and the uncle? Example 2 Traditional Japanese language does not have a word for “privacy”. Does this mean that the concept of privacy is completely absent in Japanese culture?
Certainly different cultural perceptions concerning privacy do exist, but I cannot imagine a complete absence of this concept. Apparently there was a need for a word and for this reason the English word for privacy was assimilated into the Japanese language and is pronounced Then can we translate the true essential meaning of a text if we change the language? Will it always mean the same as the essential text or the same point of view? From what I seen and researched the answer is no as they are some words that I can say in one language but not explain in the other.
Does learning a different language change the way I think? Yes it will if the new language is very different from your own, it may give you some insight into another culture and another way of life. All in all the influence isn’t so much on what we can think about or even what we do think about , but rather on how we break up reality into categories and label them. And in this, our language and our thoughts are probably both greatly influenced by our culture.
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