Speaking a second language may change how you see the world
Where did the thief go? You might get a more accurate answer if you ask the question in German. How did she get away? Now you might want to switch to English. Speakers of the two languages put different emphasis on actions and their consequences, influencing the way they think about the world, according to a new study. The work also finds that bilinguals may get the best of both worldviews, as their thinking can be more flexible. Cognitive scientists have debated whether your native language shapes how you think since the 1940s. In the new study, researchers turned to people who speak multiple languages. Athanasopoulos and colleagues were interested in a particular difference in how English and German speakers treat events. This linguistic difference seems to influence how speakers of the two languages view events, according to the new study. Bilingual speakers, meanwhile, seemed to switch between these perspectives based on the language most active in their minds.