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!

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

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

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

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

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.

tdreamgmail : 1984

Guess Who Am I : Languages have a half life xD

Who's there? : Love her dress.

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

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.

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

Hafizh Arbi : it's like the movie Arrival

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

daiki : 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.

BorisaRed : Learn another language, it helps open your mind

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!

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

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.

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

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

Jason K : She looks so futuristic.

Hay Taken : Soon this comment is gonna be forgot

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.

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

alone vera : i use to read my 2009 almanac back then and i encountered this little english tutorial. i was very interested bcs at that time i was really trying to learn english. so here's the example of wrong vs correct grammar: it says that it should be "i spilled my milk on the floor" not "my milk spilled on the floor". i find it weird bcs we cant say "i spilled my milk on the floor" in filipino. it's weird. to me it sounded like as if i intentionally spilled my milk on the floor. but anyways that was years ago. i got used to it now lmao

Manal Fabian : Fascinating!!! Then how speaking multiple languages shape your way of thinking and perceiving things????

VannTile Ianito : So she watched Assasination Classroom

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

alazia dancing : Not only was the presentation informative but the comments were all very positive too.

fpwu : "...we can create language to suit our needs..." This is where things get somewhat fishy, I think. It seems to me that some social groups (mostly self-declared oppressed minorities) are currently trying to change my language (German, but that applies to English just as well) to change my way of thinking - and in a way that solely suits their own needs, not mine. Such attempts to re-shape my language by prescribing a certain vocabulary are not diversity. I perceive them as oppression.

lao3fu3 : for the linguistic viewpoint search mcwhorter on youtube. he explains why this idea of language shaping thought is wrong on many levels. language on the whole influences our thinking, as it allows to manage more subtle semiotic distinctions. there are barely any significant differences between languages, at least none that could not be overcome with ease in case of need.

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

krystina dowdell : 7000 cognitive universes.. through language. This is my favorite Ted Talk thus far

Jo Ko : she’s so beautiful...

غَيْدَآء Hijaz : فستانها يجنن 😍

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

Chevy Boy : This talk is immensely informative. It guides people to examine the limitation imposed by one language alone. She illustrates the possibilities of a higher dimension of cognitive power to reality by exploring other languages. It is all about fine-tuning the human cognitive tool (the brain) to give life a broader scope and keener perception about time and space, or how we experience that which we called Life on Earth. More importantly, this cognitive power differentiates between machine (technological device) and sentient being (human). Thank you for this wonderful talk.

Matthijn Dijkstra : I enjoyed listening to her tones, hisses and puffs. They were interesting.