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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.

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channel.nationalgeographic You’ve probably heard the expression "the devil made me do it." And it sounds like an excuse, right? After all, when you do something that you’re not supposed to do—whether it's eating too much, envying someone else's success, or flirting lasciviously with a coworker’s spouse at the office party—you're the one who ultimately makes the choice to do the wrong thing. But if you’ve committed one of the transgressions that the sixth century A.D.'s Pope Gregory included in his list of the seven deadly sins—pride, envy, lust, greed, gluttony, sloth, and wrath—maybe you did have a teeny bit of help. And while you might think you can just ignore the little imaginary devil whispering in your ear, it’s not so easy, because some of those sinful urges may also have a positive side, and may even have helped the human species to survive and prosper.

The World's Most Spoken Languages And Where They Are Spoken This beautifully illustrated infographic (above), designed by South China Morning Post’s graphics director Alberto Lucas Lopéz, shows the most spoken known languages in the world and where they’re spoken by the 6.3 billion people included in the study. Based on records collated from the database Ethnologue, the infographic illustrates the wide-ranging facts and figures of the world’s living languages catalogued since 1951. “There are at least 7,102 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these languages are a mother tongue for more than 50 million people. The 23 languages make up the native tongue of 4.1 billion people,” says Lopez on his infographic. “We represent each language within black borders and then provide the numbers of native speakers (in millions) by country.

Why We Need Mindfulness at Work In this age of constant distractions and long hours, it’s difficult to find even a few minutes of time to reflect. Yet finding that time and space can help ease the stresses of your demanding working life. Peter Jaret of BerkeleyWellness interviewed Jason Marsh, director of programs for the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), about the benefits of mindfulness at work, which will be the topic of our upcoming conference hosted by the GGSC on Nov. 13-14 in Berkeley, California. Jason Marsh

Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Sweden Sweden has strong gender equality in the workplace. Photo: Cecilia Larsson/Image Bank Sweden Sweden's global reputation as a hub for gender equality, efficiency and work-life balance can also result in some baffling conversations for those new to doing business with Swedes. The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel The 2-Book Series The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel This companion to the New York Times bestselling The Wes Anderson Collection takes readers behind the scenes of The Grand Budapest Hotel via in-depth interviews between writer/director Wes Anderson and cultural critic Matt Zoller Seitz. Learn all about the film's conception, personal anecdotes about the making of the film, and the wide variety of sources that inspired it—from author Stefan Zweig to filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch to photochrom landscapes of turn-of-the-century Middle Europe. Also inside are interviews with costume designer Milena Canonero, composer Alexandre Desplat, lead actor Ralph Fiennes, production designer Adam Stockhausen, and cinematographer Robert Yeoman; essays by film critics Ali Arikan and Steven Boone, film theorist and historian David Bordwell, music critic Olivia Collette, and style and costume consultant Christopher Laverty; and an introduction by playwright Anne Washburn.

Visualization Techniques based on the new Spiritual Science As you have probably already heard – our thoughts are material. In other words “be careful what you wish for (what you visualize) you might just get it”. This principle has become very important especially today as we have been learning how to interact during the informational age and there are visualization techniques that can hep you do tha. We all need to learn how to correctly use our brain (and our heart), otherwise, Nature will be forced to teach us through problems in life that will eventually manifest as sickness on our physical body. Our right brain hemisphere can process much more (1 billion units of information per second) than our left brain hemisphere (16 units of information per second). Right brain hemisphere is also responsible for everything creative including visualizations.

The case of the missing “u”s in American English Before you consciously became aware of your decision to read this article, your brain was already making the necessary preparations to click the link. There are a few crucial milliseconds between the moment when you’re consciously aware of a plan to act, and the moment you take action. This brief window is thought by some scientists to be the moment in time when we can exercise free will. It gives us the chance to consciously make a decision, suggesting we aren’t just slaves to our impulses. But, as the New Scientist reports, a study published in Neuroscience of Consciousness last year found that impulsive people have a shorter window of time between their awareness of an impending action and the act itself. Emilie Caspar and Axel Cleeremans from the Free University of Brussels asked 72 people to fill out surveys to determine their level of impulsivity.

The Busier You Are, the More You Need Mindfulness jennifer maravillas for hbr The most forward-looking companies are willing to take risks to achieve greatness. Most leaders give lip service to this idea, but few actually do it. We have worked with banks willing to take on toxic assets (again) and hedge funds willing to take a $100 million gamble on a failing company. But their leaders would still be terrified to ask their employees to stop working for two minutes a day to watch their breath go in and out. More Swedes go abroad to escape daily stress Travellers at Arlanda airport. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT Growing numbers of Swedes are planning to spend extra kronor on holidays abroad – to escape the stress of living in the country, known for enjoying the best work-life balance in the world. Holidaying in foreign nations is becoming increasingly important to the Swedes, according to research by pollsters Novus on behalf of Swedavia, the organization that manages Sweden's airports. "They say in the survey that they want more time for their family, they feel that their daily life is stressful and they want to get away to recharge the batteries," market director Elisabeth Axtelius told the TT newswire on Wednesday.