Reproduced by Permission from TJ, www. By age six or seven, most humans can comprehend, as well as express, written thoughts. These unique abilities of communicating through a native language clearly separate humans from all animals. The obvious question then arises, where did we obtain this distinctive trait?
Search Share German speakers are likely to imagine where this woman is going and English speakers to focus on her journey, but bilinguals may be able to have it both ways. You might get a more accurate answer if you ask the question in German.
How did she get away? Now you might want to switch to English. Speakers of the two languages put different emphasis on actions and their consequences, influencing the way they think about the world, according to a new study.
The work also finds that bilinguals may get the best of both worldviews, as their thinking can be more flexible.
Cognitive scientists have debated whether your native language shapes how you think since the s. The idea has seen a revival in recent decades, as a growing number of studies suggested that language can prompt speakers to pay attention to certain features of the world. Russian speakers are faster to distinguish shades of blue than English speakersfor example.
And Japanese speakers tend to group objects by material rather than shapewhereas Koreans focus on how tightly objects fit together.
Still, skeptics argue that such results are laboratory artifacts, or at best reflect cultural differences between speakers that are unrelated to language.
In the new study, researchers turned to people who speak multiple languages. English has a grammatical toolkit for situating actions in time: As a result, German speakers tend to specify the beginnings, middles, and ends of events, but English speakers often leave out the endpoints and focus in on the action.
Athanasopoulos and colleagues asked 15 native speakers of each language to watch a series of video clips that showed people walking, biking, running, or driving. In each set of three videos, the researchers asked subjects to decide whether a scene with an ambiguous goal a woman walks down a road toward a parked car was more similar to a clearly goal-oriented scene a woman walks into a building or a scene with no goal a woman walks down a country lane.
Bilingual speakers, meanwhile, seemed to switch between these perspectives based on the language most active in their minds. The researchers found that 15 Germans fluent in English were just as goal-focused as any other native speaker when tested in German in their home country. This change could also be seen as an effect of culture, but a second experiment showed that bilinguals can also switch perspectives as fast as they can switch languages.
In another group of 30 German-English bilinguals, the researchers kept one language busy during the video-matching task by making participants repeat strings of numbers out loud in either English or German.
Distracting one language seemed to automatically bring the influence of the other language to the fore. With German blocked, bilingual subjects acted like English speakers and matched ambiguous and open-ended scenes.Lost in Translation New cognitive research suggests that language profoundly influences the way people see the world; a different sense of blame in Japanese and Spanish.
That does not mean that the English language only has 2 terms.
Quite the contrary, there are many more English words that refer to different states of frozen water, such as blizzard, dusting, flurry, frost, hail, hardpack, powder, sleet, slush, and snowflake.
Jul 21, · For some people, language is the most important factor when forming their personal identity. For others, it is ancestral origin.
For instance, under one definition, that of ethnic origin, I would be mainly a Spaniard and a Celt. Language barriers are also present within generations of a single family, with the elders being separated from the young simply because they do not know the same language do possibly to their move to the United States.
We use language to inform the people around us of what we feel, what we desire, and question/understand the world around us. We communicate effectively with our words, gestures, and tone of voice in a multitude of situation. Language is a key component of our identity and through it we can express our unique worldviews.
We should honour multiple language and cultural identities. If we lose our languages we lose a way of life, a way of thought and a means of expression.