How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky

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Yusuf : This is so damn interesting, love learning languages!

Faiza : This is very interesting. As someone who speaks a few languages I've become aware of my personality differences every time I switch, it's incredibly amusing really. Great talk!

Hoàng Kim Việt : Control the language = Control the culture :-0

Adina Budacov : Very very interesting, universitary lesson to listen with mouth open...and btw the dress is to die for...

Fuvity : She's so smart. This is a great talk. The dress is very cool

Mon P. : When I speak my tone of voice changes in different languages. When I speak English, I'm more high pitched, Spanish is my mother language so that'd be neutral and French my voice lowers. I studied Japanese in college and my way of thinking had to "assume" too much from the abstract way Japanese is constructed. English is "red car", Spanish is "carro rojo" (car red), so even with basic grammar, you have to think differently.

Marcus Vachon : I love intelligent people. This intelligent woman exuded an inner and outer beauty.

Tristan Möller : If one culture couldn’t discover algebra because of their language missing number words, I wonder what our language misses and what we have yet to discover due to that.

天皇 : I am a native Japanese speaker, I truly agree with this idea!! When I think in English, I feel more reasonable and more computational. And in the case of French, more accurate and more abstract than them. I think it is very difficult to guarantee the equality of all language speakers at the same time as preserving the language. English has gained status as a global language as an established fact. The use of my poor english is one example.

Greenred Productions - Relaxing Music : Very interesting... and what a dress!

Who's there? : Love her dress.

Nash Shrestha : Now THIS is a TED talk! Very interesting!

General G. S. Patton : There is this Australian Aboriginal tribe who due to their language (which is dying) are able to pinpoint their direction anywhere . And another indigenous SA tribe perceive time not as linear but as the future being behind and the past being ahead. The future is suppose to be behind you because it is the unknown BTW I am paraphrasing from this game show called “QI” o

John De León : The fact that half the comments point out how nice is her dress makes me think about the kind of people who watch TED talks.

satellite964 : Wow that dress is really good looking! BTW as a multilingual I have to say that learning multiple languages adds another dimension to one's thinking and reasoning ability.

Benjamin Trias : It’s been disproven times and times again: language doesn’t shape reality. If the aboriginal tribe speaks of direction in cardinal orientation it’s because their culture is a bushmen’s. If they don’t have a word for left and right it’s because it’s pretty useless for moving or migrating hunter gatherers who spend their entire time in open spaces. As a result they visualise time according to their usual direction. It would be precisely surprising if they would not, considering their sense of direction. The causality in this talk has been turned around. In fact as you study languages you find that many languages from migrating cultures used cardinal directions to address what is now left or right. The word for right “yamin”, in Semitic languages, which gave the word for the country of Yemen originally means south. Facing the rising sun, the right hand is on the south. Similarly in Indic languages, like the word “dahine” for “right” in Hindi derivated from the Sanskrit word dakshina, which still exists as dakshin in Hindi to mean south. What this says is that cultures used cardinal directions for left and right while being herding or hunger gathering cultures and fixed the words for left and right when they became sedentary agricultural cultures. Look at the words for right and left in heavily literary cultures who administrated their kingdoms or empire thanks to writing: the word dexter in Latin means the “right/correct” side while writing from left to right while “sinister” that meant curved or clumsy, the word for “left” in Arabic (written right to left) is “yasar” which, lo and behold, means “easy”. It’s not language that shapes culture, it’s culture that shapes languages.

Deepak Chughani : Do languages shape the way we think, or does the way we think shape our languages?

crazy being : She is looking like an ANGEL...really amazing

Jason K : She looks so futuristic.

Levi Benezra : Growing up if you always use the names for plants and animals instead of just saying "look a bird, or a shrub, etc', you can make a kid understand differences between them way easier

Evian Perrier : Yeah thanks a lot for this talk! Actually I do wanna say it’s a complete true thing that you change your mindset all the time you switch to another language. I’m Russian and I’ve been studying English only for two years but I already can say that all the time I speak English my thoughts go in another direction and I can find some solution or just come up with some idea I would never did in Russian!

Garrick Nehls : As a linguist, I have so many more questions! Like: 1. Does language affect intellect and intelligence? Are multi-lingual societies smarter than those who only speak one language? Is a person’s cognitive ability more developed if his/her language contains a richer selection of vocabulary? 2. Does language affect feelings and emotions? If a language doesn’t have words for “love”, can a person still feel it? Or if “I like you” is more acceptable than “I love you” because of their linguistic connotations, how does this affect relationships?

Hafizh Arbi : it's like the movie Arrival

Brenda Rua : This was very nice and informative! I wish she had talked more about how ancient cultures did not see blue or have a name for it, then address how the change took place. The "Wine dark sea" has always fascinated me.

Le OT : Interesting but I'm not sold. The examples she gave for Spanish vs. English are not very good. I speak both languages fluently, and I do say "Me fracture el pie" which does literally translate to "I broke my foot". Spanish does change from country to country, so maybe there are some that speak the way she says, but where I'm from (and all the Spanish speaking countries I visited) we would definitely say he/she broke the base and I would certainly say that I broke my feet. Interestingly enough, my English speaking company requires people to never say things like 'he forgot to update the spreadsheet" and instead we need to say "the spreadsheet was not updated" to avoid blaming at least in my life, her examples do not hold true. Then again, English and Spanish are spoken in so many countries that maybe her examples would work for some countries, but definitely not all, so in this case, it would be something more cultural than linguistic what shapes the way we think AND SPEAK.

MoralSupport : As a bilingual person speaking Vietnamese and English, I can clearly tell the big difference when I switch between the two. When I speak Vietnamese I care more about feelings of the listener, and sounds/melody and very highly abstract emotions, and when I use English I focus on the scenes, about what's happening, the images as a whole.

Simone : Amazing presentation, on an extremely interesting subject. Makes me wonder how this has played out over ages past since we have gotten a lot more precise words for measurements, and how things work. Simultaneously IQ scores keep going up, generation to generation and has been for the past hundred years at least. Would be interesting if it was possible to compare the two, and maybe be more cognisant to how it develops in the future.

Swami Shailendra Saraswati : Just like Mathematics is the language of Physics, Sanskrit is the language of spirituality. Language actually changes our ability not only to understand, but also to experience reality.

fmdxua : Hi! My native language is Ukrainian. I liked this speech of Lera Boroditsky. It's very interesting topic. But in my opinion this phenomenon was described not enough deep. It was said nothing about feeling yourself when you speak in non-native language. The reason is in your native language you think using templates and associations which you have got since your childhood. But when you teach some foreign language being an adult you are free and you can get absolutely another exepience using this new language. Even your temperament could be changed when you are thinking and speaking in some non-native language.

Stealthgun IV : Alright people, i‘m going to be that guy that criticises a ted talk so here we go: Now the examples she put‘s forward are all quite interesting, but they don’t really support the hypothesis that language shapes our thoughts. Firstly the fact that english speakers order the pictures differently doesn’t mean anything, the reason that we put them from left to right is that we assume that the other person will understand that this order means start left and go through to the right, just as hebrew speakers will assume that you will understand that you start to READ on the right, they don’t THINK from right to left. As a german myself i would lastly point out that the words ‘trouser’ ‘rocket’ ‘map’ and ‘weapon’ are also feminine in german, conversely ‘skirt’ ‘lipstick’ ‘bra’ and ‘vibrator’ are masculine. I don’t believe for a second that anybody would say trousers are actually more feminine then skirts. At most i would say that language can focus our attention but that’s it.

tdreamgmail : 1984

gollapudi raviteja : Language is different from ordinary people and extraordinary people

757flyer : She’s smart, pretty, and has a lovely voice. She’s a hottie!

2LegHumanist : Good to see a talk by a female speaker that isn't about the fact hat she is a woman.

John Karavitis : So she supports the strong version of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which has never been demonstrated. It is incredibly difficult to prove such a thing, since language is so tightly bound together with culture. A Native American tribe whose language has no word for "time" may be that way because, culturally, they've never needed to be so discriminating with regards to their own environment.

Aarohi Hasan : I'm very weak in English for speaking but roughly I know writing well and know 5 languages in the world's. I can Bangla (my mother language), Hindi, Turkish, English and Arabic.

Ms0mbl : I’m multilingual and I can distinguish the same vowel sounds in different languages. Japanese U, English U, Russian U and French U are all completely different. However, they all seem to sound the same to people who were exposed to only one language, although I have to pronounce all of those sounds in a totally different way. I’m not trying to say that I’m superior or anything, it’s just so interesting to know how people perceive the pronunciation of certain letters. I hope I make sense lol

Dejan Markovic : My brain hurts from disagreement...she makes a lot of erroneous assumptions to serve her argument. Yes, she's right about half the thing, but the other half is just wrong. Our progressive view of time has nothing to do with our proprioception...we actually respect reality with our speech. Also, she used phrases like dark blue and light blue to argue that there is only blue, which is itself ironic, especially given that there are also words like turquoise, teal, navy...seems to me that as soon as someone mentions using fmri, they're immediately given credit for everything they say; you used the frmi to reinforce your's not that simple..

VCG Construction : Hey I hope everyone has a blessed day!!

NoriKGuitar : When a famous Japanese writer from the Meiji era saw his students literally translate the English words “I love you,” he famously said “we Japanese don’t use such words. Just write ‘oh how blue the moon is.’” Just something I remembered when she mentioned the gender of sun and moon.

Hałaśliwa mrówka : The second name "Boroditsky" is correct for man in Slavic languages. For woman it should be "Broditska" or "Broditskaya".

Engin Atik : The dress she is wearing is very elegant but reminiscent of a nurse’s dress. The red stripe on her skirt is the only thing that breaks the symmetry and draws attention to it. Subconsciously you know that something is missing: a horizontal stripe would complete it to the “Red Cross” emblem. What she presented is very interesting but I couldn’t stop thinking about her dress while listening to her.

Tomáš Janoušek : I like to think about things in English than my native language. It is easier and faster for me. I wanted to know how my brain goes about thinking in foreign language without need for translations. Unfortunately, this talk focused more than needed on developing countries and tribe languages.

Jihad Ayish : Thanks a lot, this very nice. I really like languages. And the powerful magic of them.

Rajesh Pachaikani : மொழி வெறும் கருவியல்ல. Translation: Language is not just a tool.

갱미몬 : Her speech is so interesting. I love her confidence :)

Marinacuatica : OMG that dress and those shoes lol, that's the worst comment I can post in this video I know lol

Ornela Šapina : But is it the language that predicts our cognitive abilities, or is the culture? And what is the relation between culture and language? I've been thinking a lot about the way cultures shapes our way of thinking, never how the language does it, though. I could imagine that it is the culture in the first place, especially our environment, practices and our moral concepts, that shapes our language, and not the other way around. From this point of view, it would make more sense to talk about the effects of culture on our cognitive abilities.

wan aizat : i can read english but i don't understand what im reading.

mtwo mthree : the MALTESE Language is a winner as it's made up of approximately 7 languages and we get to understand so many other languages because of the foundation of the maltese language! thank you for this very in depth understanding of what languages also stand for, apart from communication, as we really do need to understand the origins of each countries language origin! VISIT MALTA-it's AMAZING