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The Language We Speak Can Influence Our Way of Thinking

The Language We Speak Can Influence Our Way of Thinking
How Language Affects the Way We Think
(Last Updated On: November 27, 2023)

Have you ever struggled to express yourself in another language? Maybe you’ve tried communicating something but had trouble explaining it because the vocabulary wasn’t quite right. Many people have gone through this experience, as learning a new language can be difficult, particularly when it comes to things that you don’t often think about. This has led researchers to wonder if there may be more to the language we speak than just using the right words; they believe that how we use our native language could shape how we think and understand the world around us.

Languages Change Our Worldview

Before learning a new language, it’s helpful to consider how different languages can change our worldview. Do specific languages have distinct cultural characteristics? Do some cultures use other pronouns or genders to indicate social status? How do languages around the world handle verb tenses and meanings? For example, in English, we use prepositions—words like in, out, on, and at—to define relationships between words. But specific other languages don’t rely on prepositions; instead, they use postpositions that come after nouns.

So, where does your language fall when using pre- or postpositions? In what ways does your language shape how you think about everyday things? Would it be easier for you to express complex ideas when writing or to speak if there were no word for sunset but instead an equivalent word for dusk? What happens when someone uses a word from their native language in conversation with someone who doesn’t speak that same language?

Is there something particular about being bilingual that affects how one thinks? All these questions illustrate how profoundly languages affect the way we think. People use different verbs depending on how complex their sentence is. Japanese speakers rarely say I see because seeing requires more than just looking. These are just two examples of how language influences thought! Languages play such a massive role in shaping culture and society. If not for language, how would we communicate? How would anyone learn anything new?

does language shape way we think

How we talk affects how we think.

Depending on which language you speak, your thought processes may differ significantly. This has been a long-running debate among philosophers and psychologists for years, but a study from 2010 found that language can affect how we view reality.

Interestingly, people who speak a language other than their mother tongue are still prone to these effects. Research shows that second-language speakers process information about time differently depending on what tense they’re using. So just because you’re bilingual doesn’t mean you avoid all cognitive biases!

One theory is that different languages have concepts that aren’t as prevalent in others. For example, some languages have no equivalent word for the color green; this would lead the speaker not to associate green with any particular qualities, while someone speaking the English language might find it difficult to imagine life without it.

There’s also evidence that idioms and proverbs (e.g., leap before you look) are passed down through generations and across cultures because of how closely related they are to our thinking patterns; if we don’t use an idiom like to kill two birds with one stone, it might never occur to us when the perfect opportunity arises.

Though only briefly mentioned in passing by Aristotle, it was Noam Chomsky who first suggested that the language we speak shapes how we think.

More recent research finds this especially true for young children: In a 2011 study published in Developmental Science, three-year-olds spoke to themselves more fluently after hearing fluent Mandarin Chinese speakers recite nursery rhymes than after hearing nonfluent Chinese speakers recite nursery rhymes or fluent English speakers recite nursery rhymes. The results suggest that the brain development of children whose primary language isn’t Mandarin is less advanced than those whose primary language is Mandarin.

does language shape the way we think

Whorf and Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (SWH) is a linguistic idea about how language shapes our thoughts and perceptions. According to SWH, each language contains words and patterns that can lead speakers to think differently from each other.

The most famous version of SWH states that speakers who share a common language can differ in their cognitive abilities based on how different their languages are from one another. The more distinctions we make between objects in everyday life, the more flexible our thinking becomes. It’s not that we become more competent by speaking two languages rather than one, but instead that we develop skills at noticing minor differences, which helps us see the world as much more complex than it might be if we only spoke one language.

It’s believed this flexibility doesn’t come without a cost, though. Some studies have shown people with bilingualism may show signs of memory loss earlier on than those who speak just one language or are monolinguals. Researchers believe this has to do with the stress caused by constantly switching back and forth between languages to comprehend them both thoroughly.

Bilingual individuals will use different areas of their brain for processing information depending on what language they’re speaking at any given time, so when they switch back and forth, there’s an interruption that could cause some cells within the brain to stop functioning correctly.

Another possible explanation for how languages can affect how we think is through verb tense. When someone speaks a different verb tense than they’re used to, they’re essentially saying something else entirely because tenses change meaning in every language depending on what culture you’re coming from.

Script Theory

According to Script Theory, a language’s structure directly affects how its speakers think and behave. The theory was first formalized by Julian Jaynes in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

According to Jaynes, before humans could speak, they heard voices inside their heads; these were known as the gods and guided people’s behavior. When human beings learned how to communicate with each other verbally, their inner voices stopped speaking and took on a new role as internal narrators who explain why we do what we do. In effect, when someone says something like I’m hungry or I’ll be there at seven, those words aren’t just being expressed—they’re being explained by your internal narrator.

Similarly, if you say I need this or I want that, you’re explaining that need or want through the filter of your voice. However, some languages require more explanation than others.

A language that is more detailed about when events happen (I will come at 7:00) might result in less creativity and abstract thinking because it forces people to be more literal about periods and events. Conversely, a language where time is considered linguistic relativity (I will come soon) would promote more abstract thinking because there is no explicit reference point for measuring time intervals.

Additionally, studies have shown that speakers of languages without gender-specific pronouns are better able to focus on logic and have higher levels of abstraction than those who speak languages with gendered pronouns. On the other hand, children learning languages without gender-specific pronouns are slower in forming social bonds, which may cause difficulties later in life. For example, not having been exposed to gendered pronouns from birth has been linked to lower quality relationships.

It is well-known that the language we speak affects the way we think. For example, speakers of different languages have different ways of categorizing objects. Sometimes, the way we feel is determined by the language we speak. For example, if we don’t have a word for a concept, we may not be able to think about it. However, it is also possible that our thoughts are not solely determined by language. Instead, speech may be one of many factors influencing how we think.


Language is the essential tool for communication and the sharing of culture. It is the tool that we use to share our ideas, our thoughts, and our feelings. Language is the tool that we use to connect with other people and to create and maintain our social relationships. It is the foundation of our social lives.

Geography Shapes Culture, Language, and Thought

If you think that language helps us communicate and express our thoughts, think again. The language we speak is embedded into how we feel, how we view the world, and even how we view ourselves.

In other words, linguists argue that it’s impossible to completely separate language from culture. So if you want to understand a culture or worldview different from your own, learning their language is an excellent place to start. For example, an indigenous tribe in Australia called the Guugu Yimithirr has no word for left or right. Instead, they live by cardinal directions: north, south, east, west, and Hulu buy (the middle).

Now, this doesn’t mean they don’t have notions of left and right; instead, they use these concepts like south-east as adjectives to describe places about each other rather than as absolute coordinates in space. Or how about languages with gendered pronouns?

Languages with only masculine or feminine pronouns can affect how people think about gender relations. And then, there are tonal languages like Mandarin Chinese, which often lead to misunderstandings among non-native speakers because sentences can be said in vastly different ways depending on which tone is used. Imagine speaking a sentence like I didn’t go with either flat or rising tones–this would change its meaning from I did not go to I am not going.

So, how does language affect the way we think? It depends on how it’s used. Some languages rely heavily on body language/movements, facial expressions, and gestures to convey meaning, while others may not.

A language’s script also impacts how people learn and perceive symbols. For instance, English uses Roman letters, but Japanese relies on three scripts: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. When reading Japanese, readers must first identify the characters (kanji) before associating them with sounds to create words. All these factors contribute to how we think – whether we realize it or not!

how does language shape culture

Power of Language

The power of language is often underestimated. We use language every day to communicate our thoughts and feelings, yet we seldom stop to think about how much impact it can have. Language can be a powerful tool, capable of influencing the way we think, feel, and behave. It can be used to persuade, motivate, and even manipulate.

One way language can be used to influence others is through persuasion. When trying to convince someone to see our point of view, we use language to present our argument in the best possible light. We choose our words carefully, highlighting the benefits of our proposal while downplaying any potential drawbacks. By doing so, we increase the chances of swaying the other person to our way of thinking.

Language can also be used to motivate and inspire others. When we hear a stirring speech or read an inspiring message, it can encourage us to take action. The right words can tap into our emotions and spur us to do things we might not have the courage to do.

Language can be used to manipulate others. When we want to control or influence someone, we can use language to achieve our goal. We might use flattery or threats, or we might play on the other person’s fears or desires. By carefully choosing our words, we can exert considerable control over others.

Words are a powerful tool that can be used to influence thoughts and actions. They can be used to persuade, motivate, or even manipulate someone into doing something. The way we use words can have a significant impact on the way we think and behave. Words can be used to persuade someone to do something. For example, convincing someone to vote, buy a product, or even donate to a cause. The right words can be very effective in swaying someone’s opinion or getting them to take action.

Words can also be used to motivate someone. For example, a coach giving a pre-game speech to his team or a manager giving a pep talk to his employees. The right words inspire people to do their best and achieve their goals. Words can also be used to manipulate someone. For example, they use flattery or threats to get what they want. Manipulative people often use words to take advantage of others.

how language shapes thought

Language changes how we see things.

Language is constantly changing and evolving. As our understanding of the world grows, so too does our use of language. This change can be seen in the way we use words to describe things. For example, the word “computer” once referred to a person who did calculations by hand. Now, of course, it relates to a machine.

Similarly, how we use language can also change how we see things. The way we talk about something can affect our perception of it. This is especially true when it comes to controversial topics. For example, how we talk about immigrants can affect how we see them. If we use negative language, we are more likely to see immigrants as a problem. But if we use positive language, we are more likely to see them as an asset.

One way that language can change how we see things is by affecting our perception of reality. The words we use can shape our view of the world. For example, the word “computer” once referred to a person who did calculations by hand. Now, of course, it relates to a machine. This language change has affected our perception of reality. We now see computers as machines, not as people.

Similarly, how we talk about immigrants can affect how we see them. If we use negative language, we are more likely to see immigrants as a problem. But if we use positive language, we are more likely to see them as an asset. The words we use can therefore shape our view of the world.

Another way that language can change how we see things is by affecting our emotions. The way we talk about something can influence the way we feel about it. For example, if we talk about immigrants negatively, we are more likely to feel negative emotions toward them. But if we positively talk about them, we are more likely to feel positive emotions. Language can also be used to manipulate our feelings. For example, advertisers often use emotional language to sell products. They may use words like “love” or “happy” to make us feel good about a product. And they may use words like “fear” or “danger” to make us think wrong about a product. By manipulating our emotions, we can influence our view of the world.

Language can change how we see things by affecting our behavior. The way we talk about something can influence the way we act towards it. For example, if we talk about immigrants negatively, we are more likely to mistreat them. But if we positively talk about them, we are more likely to treat them well. Language can also be used to manipulate our behavior. For example, advertisers often use persuasive language to sell products. They may use words like “you deserve this” or “you need this” to make us buy a product. By manipulating our behavior, we can influence our view of the world.

Relationship Between Language and Brain

The relationship between human language and the brain is a complex one. Language is thought to be processed in various areas of the human brain, including Broca’s and Wernicke’s. There is evidence that suggests that human language acquisition and processing are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. One of the essential areas of the brain for language processing is Broca’s area. This area is responsible for producing speech. Damage to Broca’s area can result in a condition known as Broca’s aphasia, characterized by difficulty delivering a speech.

Wernicke’s area is another critical area of the brain for language processing. This area is responsible for understanding speech. Damage to Wernicke’s area can result in a condition known as Wernicke’s aphasia, which is characterized by difficulty understanding speech. There is evidence that suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in language acquisition and processing. For example, studies of twins have shown that there is a heritable component to language ability. Additionally, exposure to language at a young age is essential for language development.

So what? What can you do with this information?

Knowing how language influences our thinking can help us better communicate with others and avoid misunderstandings. At work, it can also help you understand your employees’ different perspectives on specific tasks or company initiatives. In your personal life, knowing about other languages may help you understand different cultures and people from around the world a little better.

If you often travel for business or pleasure, understanding how other languages work could be helpful if you end up conversing with someone who doesn’t speak English well. After all, most English speakers know very little about how a foreign language works—including professionals like interpreters and translators! Remember that everyone has their unique way of thinking: That’s true regardless of language!


In a recent study, people were asked to rate their personality traits in both their native language and a foreign language. The results showed that people tended to rate themselves as more extroverted and open to new experiences when speaking in a foreign language. So it seems that language can indeed influence our personality. But it’s unclear whether this is because we feel more comfortable expressing ourselves in a foreign language or because speaking a foreign language changes our personality.

In Spanish, the letter ñ is used to represent the sound /nʲ/, which is a combination of the sounds /n/ and /ʲ/. To put an accent over the letter ñ, you must use the correct keyboard combination. On a Windows computer, you can do this by holding down the ALT key and typing 0241 on the numeric keypad. On a Mac, you can hold down the essential Option key and type n, then release both keys and type e.

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