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Language Barriers to Thought - Is Your Native Tongue Holding You Back?

June 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 180

The other day, I was reading a very interesting piece in the New York Times by a professor of language who stated that in actuality the language one speaks is not a barrier to the way that they think, and that all humans have similar structures of their brain, and left to their own devices will come up with similar observations because they have the same sensors or five senses, and it wouldn't matter which language they use to communicate amongst themselves. Okay so, let's talk about this for second shall we?

There is a branch of psychology that believes that there are different ways of thinking and they are affected by the spoken and written language. I would tend to agree with both summations and conclusions to this argument, I don't think it's an either or argument. However there is a tribe which was found in the Amazon jungle which does not have a word for time, they don't recognize time, and they don't think of it like we do in our hustle and bustle 24/7, nonstop information age in modern society and civilization.

There is another Indian tribe that doesn't count or have numbers. They don't differentiate between a single unit, or a group of people, at least not in their language or their tenses. Interestingly enough, dolphins do in their click language, so why don't those humans? Does it mean that their brain is wired differently, or that they don't have very many people their tribe, and everyone knows everyone else, so they just describe people by name? These are all interesting questions, and not long ago we were discussing this in our think tank when it came to the written language.

Why is it that some cultures are better at some things than others? Could it be that the language which is spoken, the words which are used, or the symbols that describe events, concepts, or phrases change the way we think, reason, and indeed what we think about? Now then, if you thought about this long enough, you would say; "sure they do." And I would believe that you are correct. Nevertheless, since humans all have the same senses or sensors they are liable to think about similar things because they have similar observations which could be grouped in with the human experience, regardless of where on the planet you are. Does that make sense also?

Good, I'm glad we had this conversation because there is so much more to talk about. If you'd like to continue this conversation in an e-mail dialogue, I mean really getting into the nitty-gritty, then go ahead and shoot me an e-mail at early as can be. Until then, indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think it on.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Source: EzineArticles
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Language Barriers


Written Language


Similar Structures


Native Tongue


Language And Thought



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