How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky

  • Published on:  5/2/2018
  • There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world -- and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language -- from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian -- that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."Check out more TED Talks: http://www.ted.comThe TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.Follow TED on Twitter: TED on Facebook: to our channel:


  • Hanane Ben belaid 9 months ago

    "Speaking another language is having another soul"I so relate to that I speak 4 languages and I feel like another person when I speak another language !

  • Jessica Dash 4 days ago

    @Aldo Zilli I dream and think in different languages. It is possible.

  • Life Draw 6 days ago

    me too, in english i am stupid, in my native lannguage - not.

  • Luis Cantero 5 months ago

    "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world" - Ludwig Wittgenstein.

  • Miguel Cayazaya 3 days ago

    I agree if the world means access

  • Underground Skeptic 17 days ago

    Ich weiß ihn. Das ist die Richtig, warum ich liebe die Mathematik.

  • Thiago Melo Idiomas 6 months ago

    In other words: The more languages you speak, the broader are the experiences you can feel and notice.

  • Evelyn Medrano 27 days ago

    Leo, Januszewski ugh... ok.

  • Dorothea Jones 1 months ago

    I agree languages are great it’s a window into peoples culture and understanding

  • Johnny Daller 5 months ago

    My mother tongue is Persian and I speak English fluently. I learned driving on the right side of the road in Iran. When I moved to South Africa I had to drive on the left side of the road. No problem so far. When I had passengers and we spoke English in the car all went well. When some of my friends switch to speaking in Persian in the car, I subconsciously moved to the left side of the road scaring everyone in the car and on the road! Then I moved to Australia and the same thing happens every now ...

  • gaijin 9 days ago


  • Abner Raposeiro 10 days ago

    O meu maior medo era cair de moto e se ralar até ler esse comentário, mas agora é mudar de faixa enquanto dirijo por falar outras línguas kkkk Falo Português (BRA) inglês, espanhol e esse ano comecei a aprender francês...

  • Carina Mantovani 7 months ago

    I absolutely loved her speech. So professionaly, accurately, meaningfully, interestingly and sweetly constructed and delivered. Simply brilliant!

  • GILBERT MEDRANO 2 months ago

    Carina Mantovani yep

  • A 3 months ago

    You really like ly' words...

  • Harry TM 1 months ago

    I really envy the people who so easily and calmly articulate their thoughts

  • Nadia B. 24 days ago

    Don't!! It is just practice, practice, practice! You can do it too!

  • Raw Vid 1 months ago

    Both of us autistic brother

  • Louvie 7 months ago

    English is a very straight language, very direct.I know it's easier for me to express in english than it is in my native language, and I really appreciate that.I also appreciate the complexity and the beauty of my language, especially in poetry and medieval fictions.It's amazing how perception change from one language to another, and I've bearly scratched the surface.

  • Al P an hour ago

    @STEVE DEATHGUN I understand this a little because I know a little Spanish and using the sentences context.

  • Underground Skeptic 17 days ago

    What's your language? If I may ask :)

  • holy shit 5 months ago

    that made me realize how powerful language can be

  • Maruha Starshaya 21 days ago

    Da, cyka!

  • Zeldris 1 months ago

    @Elkhan HUSEYNOV Hi! Can we chat? I want to improve my English?* (sorry for my prescriptivism brother)

  • HeyDeb 3 months ago

    It´s even more clear if you think about how the verb "to be" is divided in two verbs in languages like Spanish and Portuguese: one verb based on essence ("ser") and one based on status ("estar"). They change totally the sense of what you're saying, but in English they are just the same so you aren't able to express your idea totally. I think that's so interesting!

  • Katia Estrada 27 days ago

    @Diogo de Araujo Sgrillo yes

  • joangg 2 months ago

    @Diogo de Araujo Sgrillo Without any more context, I understand "És bella/guapa". However in the following context: "She's not a pretty girl, but today, with such an ellegant dress and hairdo, she's beautiful" it would be "esta noche, con ese vestido y peinado tan elegante, ESTÀ bella/guapa". In this case we use ser vs. estar to express if the adjective is a normal vs. temporary situation.

  • Veronique Castel 5 months ago

    I’m an interpreter (and multilingual anyway) and the content from this video blew my mind and made my day. You speak well and I want to research this topic more. Thank you 😊

  • Hello I want to be a interpreter, please help me

  • Elkhan HUSEYNOV 2 months ago

    Hi.Can we chatting? I want improve my english?😊