Languages Magazine

Do Languages Really Shape Our Way of Thinking?

By Tlb
Automated border sign YVR

A sign indicating automatic border crossing terminals at Vancouver International Airport.(Photo credit: Dragfyre)

Foreign language school learn a foreign language“Does the other language we learn to speak can shape the mode of our individuality in a way we observe the society and the way think?” “Do people who speak  different languages also think differently?”


These questions have long been the questions of many people for over a century ago. When a linguist whose name was Benjamin Lee Whorf who studied the Hopi language (a Native American language from Northeastern Arizona) in 1940s had claimed that people who spoke Hopi language and those who spoke English have seen the world differently due to their language distinctions.


Different languages have different usage, in grammar, in vocabulary use, and even in words that sometimes other languages do not have similar words for that. For example, the language spoken in the North Queensland, Australia called as “Guugu Yimithirr” has no words such as left and right, front and back. When they use to point a direction they instead use the words like east, west, north, south.


Sentence like “A boy is standing at the back of the car.” The Guugu Yimithirr speakers say it, “A boy is standing north of the car.” Although the words have different spellings but the meaning indicated are the same to what would like to be expressed by the speaker.


Due to this extent, is this enough to answer afore questions that languages do really affect people’s way of thinking? Do languages play a big impact to the culture to vary from country to country that has dissimilar lingo? Factually, the culture, the way people think, and the language have entirely grown up altogether. So the answer can be complicated because learning a new language is very unusual from your own language, it may provide you a few insight into another tradition and culture as well as another to another behavioral style.



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