Speakers of two languages are finding that each one puts a different emphasis on ideas, and so changing your language changes your perspective, according to a new study. In

Changing Your Language Changes Your Perspective

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short, bilingual people may get the best of different worldviews, as their thinking tends to be more flexible.

Since the 1940s scientists have debated the effect your native language has on your thinking. Today, several studies suggest that language prompts speakers to pay attention to certain features. For example, Russian speakers distinguish shades of blue faster than English speakers.  Japanese speakers group objects by material rather than shape, but Koreans focus on how tightly objects fit together. Skeptics believe that these results reflect cultural differences that are not related to language.

A new study focused attention on multilingual people. The question is changed from if speakers of different languages have different minds, to “Can two different minds exist within one person? ”

The team from Lancaster University focused on differences in English and German.  They found that German speakers focus on the timeline of events, but English speakers often focus on the action.

 

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Changing Your Language Changes Your Perspective

Click image to purchase book