The languages we grew up speaking say a lot about who we are and where we are from, but did you know language shapes perception of the world, too?
As humans, language is one of our most unique and valuable skills, but without us even knowing it, the ones we grew up using have had a distinct impact on the way we see and understand the world around us. From the way we register colors, to the direction we travel, and even to the way we remember events, language has played a role in the world we live in, so let’s find out how!
Lera Boroditsky, an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California in San Diego. is well known for her research on how language shapes perception. Her work is fascinating! In her talk on the TED stage from November 2017, she gives us a glimpse of some of the highlights from her extensive (and fascinating) research career, and it left us looking at the world around us with completely new eyes…
“Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7000…” — Lera Boroditsky
Think about that for a moment! What are the possible implications of having 7000 different ways of understanding the world around us?
Is this a reason why nations who don’t share a common language have historically struggled to come to peaceful agreements? How different would events have ended up if we had this understanding of how our brains are structured through this language sooner? Where would our society be now if we were able to tap into that resource?
In an interdependent world facing the issues of climate change, resource scarcity, trade agreements, and political complexities, linguistically diverse teams are not only commonplace but necessary.
It’s fascinating to think about the role language plays in what each individual brings to the table.
As we move closer and closer to a more homogenized landscape of languages, what discoveries and insights into the way our brains really work will we be missing out on? Will we lose these diverse ways of thinking that are so crucial to our forward progress?
Stay beautiful & keep laughing!
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