5 examples of how the language we speak can affect the way we think

5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think
Posted by: Jessica Gross
February 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm EDT
languageEconomist Keith Chen starts today’s talk with an observation: to say, “This is my uncle,” 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.

Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?
“All of this information is obligatory. Chinese doesn’t let me ignore it,” says Chen. “In fact, if I want to speak correctly, Chinese forces me to constantly think about it.”

This got Chen wondering: Is there a connection between language and how we think and behave? In particular, Chen wanted to know: does our language affect our economic decisions? Continue reading

How to say ‘vote for me’ in India – 447 different ways

How to say ‘vote for me’ in India – 447 different ways
With 814m voters, 29 languages spoken by at least 1m people, and 447 mother tongues, India’s election is a test of linguistic as well as political skills
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British journalists: if you think you’ve got it tough trying to appeal to a global English-speaking audience, spare a thought for the candidates in this month’s Indian general election.

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