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!

Image: A group of traditionally dressed girls in China laughing and having a conversation

Source: Pixabay

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…

Via: TED 1

“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?

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Embracing a Language that Brings Us Closer 🙂

You've probably shared a few of these in your messages if you've communicated through technology in the past decade, but could emotion depicting icons have an even longer history than we assume? And where could these emojis bring the human race in the future? Jenna Schilstra discusses this on the TED stage.

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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?

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Endangered Alphabets

Have you ever considered what might happen if the alphabet you use became extinct? It's happening slowly, but here is one person using his unique talents to change that!

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

Learn More About the Brain!

We’re as curious as you are about how our brain works, so if you want to explore more, try exploring our full library of articles on neuroscience!

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Notes:

  1. Boroditsky, Lera. “How Language Shapes the Way We Think | Lera Boroditsky.” YouTube, TED, 2 May 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKK7wGAYP6k.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV