Does Your Language Shape How You Think

1368 Words 6 Pages
A splendid way to communicate in this world where so much diversity is found, is through language. There’s not just one language that exist, there are thousands of them and each is embraced in different ways. People have the ability to obtain their own meaning of words in accordance to the language they were taught. Perhaps that’s why language makes every person or culture a unique one. The readings “Does Your Language Shape How You Think?” by Guy Deutscher and “Lost in Translation” by Lera Boroditsky, are both pieces of writing that support the idea of how language shapes our thinking and the way we see the world. I agree that language does shape the way we think through grammar, spatial orientation, and sometimes a second language can benefit …show more content…
Deutscher talks about two sets of directions that people use, egocentric coordinates and geographic directions. Egocentric coordinates refers to the left-right axis or the front-back axis. On the other hand, the four main geographic directions refers to north, south, west, and east (450). With this in mind, I am fairly familiarized with the egocentric coordinates because that type of language was the language I grew up with to define locations, directions or even the position that I’m in. I can easily guide myself or someone else by simply saying “take a left turn” or “the restaurant is in front of the store.” Egocentric direction comes naturally, without over thinking about the language. Boroditsky gives an example of how geographic directions is part of the language in Pormpuraaw. By all means, it is crucial to use the cardinal directions in a conversation in order to even “get past hello” (471). Conversations in Pormpuraaw according to Boroditsky, sound like “There’s an ant on your southwest leg” (471). I find it almost unachievable to speak in cardinal directions, but the Pormpuraaw people are experts at it. I would take a great amount of time to understand where north, south, west, and east are located in my standing point of view. Boroditsky remarks, “This is a big difference, a fundamentally different way of conceptualizing space, trained by language”(471). These speakers …show more content…
Boroditsky states, “When bilingual people switch from one language to another, they start thinking differently, too.” This is something I can relate to when I write essays. When I can’t figure out an idea in English to make a sentence, I switch my thinking to Spanish in order to find the words and then translate them to English. This process helps and opens my mind in a way that I can understand what I want to say because both languages bring a different meaning. I take the switching of both languages to my advantage. According to an online article, “Speaking a Second Language Makes You See the World Differently,” there was a study done by Professor Athanasopoulos that showed how bilinguals think and behave as two different people in one. In the study, fluent German-English speakers were shown video-clips of people performing everyday tasks. When they were asked about what was going on, their answer in English went straight to the action part of the clip. In contrast, their German answer required to specify the whole picture. “Fluent German-English bilinguals categorise events according to the vocabulary constraints of the language in which they are speaking. In German, speakers tend to focus on the beginnings, middles, and ends of events. In English, speakers often leave out the endpoints and focus in on the action.” In other words, if the way we perceive things

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