How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky

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  • 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."

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Comment

  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump an hour ago

    Two words: Platonic Forms.

  • Pooria
    Pooria 3 hours ago

    That was amazing many thanks. I'm a big fan now.
    My mother tongue is Persian and just wanted to mention 2 examples:
    Instead of saying I broke my arm which has always sounded weird to me, we say: My arm broke, well not arm but My hand broke, which might sound weird to English people now. We have to use hand instead of arm cz arm is the muscle in Persian like biceps in English.
    And number two:
    We use light and dark to point to different colors but we also use the word Slow for light like Slow Blue and Fast for dark like Fast Blue.
    Sth strange happened right now, I Googled Slow Blue and it brought light blue, do we have such an expression like Slow Blue in English? Now I'm confused.

  • Tim Solnze
    Tim Solnze 9 hours ago

    Goluboy and Siniy

  • Social Mathematics
    Social Mathematics 12 hours ago

    Lets talk about Greek Language and Cosmotheory.
    There is a very old Greek and still widely used word which is Αλήθεια.

    Αλήθεια
    Α - Λήθη
    Not - Erase from the Memory

    So Αλήθεια is a value with absolute power for the Greeks
    because Αλήθεια cannot be erased by anyone and does not belong to anyone.
    In Enlish we say "True" instead of "Αλήθεια".
    This is why very often people say "My True" because True is not Αλήθεια.

    This is the answer of Mathematical Proof, Philosophy and Democracy,
    all established by the Greeks.

  • Lisena Kim
    Lisena Kim 21 hours ago

    Favourite ted talk since the first time I saw this

  • Romi Lopez
    Romi Lopez yesterday+1

    She is wrong in many ways. I am native German and can assure you that Germans dont think of nouns in terms of masculine/feminin/neuter. We dont picture a brigde (Brücke) as female, it is just the grammar and has nothing to do with gender.

  • Manzana835
    Manzana835 yesterday

    I am curious, because in spanish we have two distinctions for "to be", which are "ser" and "estar", they have different meaning and for foreigners it's difficult to comprehend, one (ser) is more a philosophical thing, like about one's soul, while "estar" is about feeling or being in a place, something more tangible, but I found it curious, that this difference does not exist so far in any of the languages i know (english, german, and I just started learning korean but so far I can't identify such distinction), does anybody know about something similar in other languges? right after her talk i became really curious.
    By the way, I really think It's beautiful to know other languages, It always feels like magic when I can communicate what I'm thinking (even if I commit mistakes here and there) to people who have another different culture and way of thinking, and it truly is like having another soul.

  • Jiaqi Liu
    Jiaqi Liu 2 days ago

    So I guess Aristotle is gonna have some terrible moments when he hear some of our people pronounce ancient Greek using some restored phonology like Erasmian pronunciation, which to me sounds like a two stroke gas engine with the exhaust broken. I don't think that the language of the people who valued harmony so much, would sound like that...

  • 3 Minute Poetry Analysis

    Ask Syme about language.

  • Chris Kayel
    Chris Kayel 2 days ago

    Excellent. Very well - presented.

  • nabeliaree
    nabeliaree 2 days ago

    I can relate to the thought that you think differently using different languages. I feel more confident and I enjoy arguments way better when I'm talking english. It is exactly like having two souls!

  • Alex Patrascu
    Alex Patrascu 2 days ago

    What a bunch of pretentious bs. Language doesn't shape thought. Thought shapes language.

  • Roman Travkin
    Roman Travkin 3 days ago

    This is how I counted penguins: here are four… another four… eight penguins total.

  • victoria s
    victoria s 3 days ago

    Wonderful speech!!!

  • Gilberto Andrade
    Gilberto Andrade 4 days ago

    My experience speeking Portuguese, French, Spanish, and English is Latin languages has a huge emotional interactive with the world and West German language as English is more rational interactive language. I feel that when I watch movies, news and when I talk with friends of mine.

  • vaanan navin
    vaanan navin 4 days ago+1

    East or west tamil is best....

  • Matheus Eça
    Matheus Eça 5 days ago

    Lindíssima, falou tudo.

  • Athena Parusudis
    Athena Parusudis 5 days ago

    I cannot decide whether it is what she said or how Mrs. Boroditsky delivered this talk that made such a great impression. Bottom line- language DOES shape reality.

  • Mandy Fard
    Mandy Fard 5 days ago

    ♥ ♥ ♥ Thank you so much for bringing awareness to this all-too-important topic and how it relates to our communication on a personal and global level. I speak three languages fluently (of totally different cultures) plus a fourth language on intermediate level. I also read three different alphabets. I truly believe that our culture, our perception, and our language are intertwined and each language expands our perspective and imagination on a cognitive and even emotional level sometimes. In fact, I do feel different when I speak different languages.
    However, when I dig deeper and peel more layers of my own analysis, I often see that in our "core" and in our "essence", our emotional similarities are significantly outnumbered by our differences. I think if I learn another three languages fluently, I will see even more of our emotional similarities. I might! :-)
    Thanks again for this video. Truly enjoyed watching and learning from it. ♥

  • Ahmed Farag
    Ahmed Farag 5 days ago

    Brilliant speech .. a lot of ideas