Thomas Ramey Watson

Different languages influence how we habitually think about things

SINCE THERE IS NO EVIDENCE that any language forbids its speakers to think anything, we must look in an entirely different direction to discover how our mother tongue really does shape our experience of the world.

Some 50 years ago, the renowned linguist Roman Jakobson pointed out a crucial fact about

differences between languages in a pithy maxim: “Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” This maxim offers us the key to unlocking the real force of the mother tongue: if different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not because of what

our language allows us to think but rather beca

use of what it habitually obliges us to think about.

Fascinating. Read article.

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