How Language Shapes Thought

Boroditsky, L. (2011). How Language Shapes Thought. Scientific American304(2), 62.

In this article Boroditsky explains a simple experiment she conducts after meeting a young (five year old) girl from Cape York in northern Australia who, without hesitation can determine which direction is north; the catch is when Bordortsky does the same experiment at prestigious universities amongst scholars they refuse or take quite some time to point in whatever direction they might think is north. Boroditsky boils it down to language; with over 7,000 languages in the world it’s no surprise that each one requires different things from any given person. Because every language is different and has a different set of rules, things you can describe in one language may be completely different in another. Since the way we think influences the way we speak, and vice versa, it can be said that language plays a major role in cognition. There is still research being done on language in relation to cognition, and “In recent years empirical evidence for this causal relation has emerged, indicating that one’s mother tongue does indeed mold the way one thinks about many aspects of the world, including space and time.” (Boroditsky).

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