Language And The Way We Think

Language And The Way We Think

Language is a literal and linguistic tool that many believe is a fundamental basis of the way we think. Some have hypothesized (like the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) that many languages do not have room for certain thought patterns, and are able to alter our thoughts.

The underlying logic is just because there is no word in a certain language to express something, people who speak the language will not be able to think it, and if they learn a different language, new words and phrases are learned, leading to new ways of thinking.

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Communication

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • Culture is a way of perspective and identity, and people speaking the same language immediately bond and form a connection.
  • If an English speaking person learns Spanish, the underlying culture that emphasises ‘passion’ or ‘enjoying the experience’ is a more important cultural value in the countries who are natively Spanish.
  • The culture of a certain place may include cuisine, history, music and notable personalities, but language becomes the salt without which the culture is tasteless.

Learning a new language provides access to people who have different thoughts than our own, helping us understand ourselves and the world with a new insightful mindset that didn’t exist before.

Learning a new language, therefore is not just culture, but a way into the minds of people who are not like us.

The local language is the preferred route to understand the culture due to 2 reasons:

  1. Most people don’t speak English very well, due to their learning it as a second or third language. These people do not represent the real sampling of the country's population, just being the better-educated cosmopolitans who speak a global language.
  2. Most translations are poor substitutes for the real cultural essence, and a person needs to learn the original language to fully understand the context and culture.

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RELATED IDEAS

Immersion is more effective and faster for learning a language than sitting in a class.

However, most people make some key mistakes when trying to learn a language while travelling.

Learning with flashcards

Flashcards can be a powerful learning tool, but they can also be a waste of time.

  • They are powerful because retrieval and spacing are key to memory. If you have a lot of information to memorise, flashcards will help you the best.
  • But flashcards can also waste your time. You may memorise something you don't need, or fail to memorise the important things. But most of all, flashcards can be a way to avoid doing the real thing.
Open-ended tasks

Open-ended tasks are any tasks that don't have a definite endpoint. Activities like "studying", "working" or "tweaking" waste your time and cause procrastination. "I should really study" is open-ended because it does not have a specific to-do list to learn the material.

A solution is to close all the ends. Set up specific to-do lists which outlines your tasks on what needs to be done. When the to-do list is completed, you stop.

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