background preloader

How language can affect the way we think

How language can affect the way we think
Keith Chen (TED Talk: Could your language affect your ability to save money?) might be an economist, but he wants to talk about language. For instance, he points out, in Chinese, saying “this is my uncle” is not as straightforward as you might think. In Chinese, you have no choice but to encode more information about said uncle. The language requires that you denote the side the uncle is on, whether he’s related by marriage or birth and, if it’s your father’s brother, whether he’s older or younger. “All of this information is obligatory. This got Chen wondering: Is there a connection between language and how we think and behave? While “futured languages,” like English, distinguish between the past, present and future, “futureless languages” like Chinese use the same phrasing to describe the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. But that’s only the beginning. Featured illustration via iStock.

http://ideas.ted.com/5-examples-of-how-the-languages-we-speak-can-affect-the-way-we-think/

Related:  words, linguistics, semantics and semioticsthinkMindsightRead laterWordsworth

Yanny or Laurel? It's your brain not your ears that decides As a speech scientist, I never thought I’d see so much excitement on social media about one tiny little word. The clip, which went viral after being posted on Reddit, is polarizing listeners who hear a computer voice say either “Laurel” or “Yanny.” @AlexWelke tweeted, “This is the kinda stuff that starts wars.” While I can’t prevent a war, I can explain some reasons why this sound file has created such a controversy. Basically, the “word” relies on some tricks of acoustics. Your brain, and those of the millions of other Twitter viewers, is responsible for the rest.

How Did Marijuana Become Illegal in the First Place? In less than a week a number of states will decide the fate of legalized or medical marijuana. While progress has been a long time coming locally there has been no sign marijuana will budge from its Schedule 1 status federally, which means that research into the plant’s therapeutic efficacy continues to suffer. It also means that the feds will keep intervening with state’s rights when they so choose. Researchers Find Out How a New Concept Makes Its Way into the Brain Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) scientists have documented the formation of a newly learned concept inside the brain and found that it occurs in the same brain areas for everyone. In other words, brain's "filing system" is same for everyone. To prove this, leading neuroscientist Marcel Just pointed to the Smithsonian Institute's 2013 announcement about the olinguito, a newly identified carnivore species that mainly eats fruits and lives by itself in the treetops of rainforests.

Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can't Protect Us Anymore You have a secret that can ruin your life. It’s not a well-kept secret, either. Just a simple string of characters—maybe six of them if you’re careless, 16 if you’re cautious—that can reveal everything about you. Your email. Your bank account. Your address and credit card number. Zero Historical scientists categorize the types of number systems peoples use, much the same way philologists break down languages into "analytic," "agglutinative," "inflectional," etc. The path that leads to the discovery of "0" lies only in the most advanced type of number system, which is called "positional" because the value of a character depends on its position. Our modern way of counting is positional. The base figure "5" has a different value in 514 and in 145, determined by its position. The Romans, Greeks, Hebrews (and Aztecs and pre-Islamic Arabs and a great many others) used an "additive" system, which is fundamentally a transcription of counting.

Studying chimpanzee calls for clues about the origins of human language Freud, Wilkie and the other chimpanzees peacefully fed and rested in the sun-dappled Tanzanian forest. Mzee Hilali stood next to me, writing notes on the chimpanzees’ behavior, as he had been doing for over 30 years as a field assistant for Jane Goodall’s long-term study at Gombe National Park. Suddenly, a strange, high-pitched call sounded from where some other chimpanzees were feeding, about a hundred meters from us. 5 Ways Teachers Are Fighting Fake News : NPR Ed Students in Scott Bedley's fifth-grade class at Plaza Vista School in Irvine, Calif., play a version of "Simon Says" with fake news. Courtesy of Scott Bedley hide caption toggle caption Courtesy of Scott Bedley

Intuition May Reveal Where Expertise Resides in the Brain In the instant before he drove Kuang's sting through the base of the first tower, he attained a level of proficiency exceeding anything he'd known or imagined. Beyond ego, beyond personality, beyond awareness, he moved, Kuang moving with him, evading his attackers with an ancient dance, Hideo's dance, grace of the mind-body interface granted him, in that second, by the clarity and singleness of his wish to die. —William Gibson,Neuromancer, 1984 Sometimes a solution just appears out of nowhere.

Why English as the Universal Language of Science Is a Problem for Research Technology The vast majority of scientific papers today are published in English. What gets lost when other languages get left out? Kanji of the year, meaning 'disaster,' symbolizes 2018 amid natural and human calamities KYOTO – The kanji sai (災, disaster) was picked as the Chinese character best describing this year’s social mood in Japan, amid a string of natural and man-made calamities, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization announced Wednesday. Chief Buddhist priest Seihan Mori of the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto wrote the character 1.5 meters in length and 1.3 meters in width with a giant calligraphy brush on traditional washi paper at the temple’s annual year-end event, where the kanji of the year was revealed. The selection came after Japan was buffeted this year by torrential rains in the country’s west and an large earthquake in Hokkaido, heightening public awareness of the importance of disaster prevention measures. Japan was also rocked by man-made calamities such as stolen cryptocurrencies and the uncovering of harassment by coaches in the athletic world. The selection of the word was based on characters put forward by the general public.

Related:  Language linksLinguisticsLenguas