Have you ever thought about the influence of a language? I mean did you ever think that the language you speak can define numerous factors of your life. We have posed 6 crucial questions about languages and the benefit a language can bring into a human’s life in order to find out whether a language is a tool to reach out the world.
What does a language do?
The language we speak is such an inseparable part of our everyday life that we rarely give it any thought. We think that we control and shape the language and don’t realize that in fact, it shapes us, too. The recent studies have shown that our language influences the way we make decisions and choices. It determines the way we see the world around us and the way we interpret everything that happens. It enables us to form our ideas and convey them to other people. So, one way or another, language is a tool to reach out the world.
Do people see the world differently because of the language they speak?
What we have learned is that the answer to this question is complicated. Are you unable to think about things you don’t have words for, or do you lack words for them because you don’t think about them? Part of the problem is that there is more involved than just language and thought; there is also culture. Your culture—the traditions, lifestyle, habits, and so on that you pick up from the people you live and interact with—shapes the way you think, and also shapes the way you talk.
What is linguistic relativity?
Linguistic relativity is a subject that people will always be interested in because it strikes right in the way we process the world and communicate with each other. The principle of linguistic relativity is sometimes called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism. Actually, on this hypothesis, the question arose as to whether language is a tool to reach out the world?
A linguist named Benjamin Lee Whorf studied Hopi, a Native American language spoken in northeastern Arizona. Based on his studies, Whorf claimed that speakers of Hopi and speakers of English see the world differently because of differences in their language. His research appeared to show that speakers of different kinds of language were, as a result of those language differences, cognitively different from one another.
Has our language affected our way of thinking? Or has a difference in cultural habits affected both our thoughts and our language? Most likely, the culture, the thought habits, and the language have all grown up together.
Actually, there is a great debate within the field of psycholinguistics and psychology as to whether different languages have an effect on thinking.
But people think in language, don’t they?
Much of the time, yes. But not always. You can easily conjure up mental images and sensations that would be hard to describe in words. You can think about the sound of a symphony, the shape of a pear, or the smell of garlic bread. None of these thoughts require language.
Can a language really enrich my life?
Charlemange once said, “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” Knowledge of languages makes human life richer and more interesting — it is like living two lives in one, like existing at two different worlds at once. There is another famous quotation which is actually a Czech proverb which says “You live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once.”
Language is a tool to reach out the world. So, the more languages we know, the easier it is for us to conquer this world.
What good does the knowledge of languages do to me?
Broaden your understanding of the world and different cultures. Every culture has something unique that you cannot find anywhere else. And you can understand this uniqueness only through that culture’s mother tongue.
- Help you to understand better your own culture. When we live in a sheltered world we take everything for granted and don’t realize that somewhere things might work in a completely different way. What is considered normal or good in your culture could be outrageous and unacceptable in another one, and the other way around. But learning a foreign language will open that door to another world for you. And by comparing these two worlds you will be able to see your own culture in completely new light;
- Make you more creative. It is hard to deny that learning another language will provide you with a whole new baggage of knowledge. This knowledge will help you to come up with new ideas easier. Plus, your brain gets a lot of exercises when you study a language, and strong brain means creative brain.
- Give you a new cultural experience. While learning a mother tongue of some country you automatically absorb its culture. You open up for yourself the whole new cuisine, history, a way of life. You learn to understand their humor, which makes this experience even more fun;
- Strengthen your memory and send off the onset of dementia. When you learn a language, you have to memorize thousands of new words, phrases, idioms, grammar rules. It inevitably exercises your memory muscles and keeps them in good shape. And the recent studies have shown that it can actually save you from dementia when you get old.
- Make you more tolerant and understanding of other people. When you get to know closely another culture you realize how different all people are. That the norms and standards vary from culture to culture and that there are no universal rules that everyone must follow, except for love and kindness. Understanding this it will be easier for you to accept the differences of other people and be more tolerant to those who are unlike;
- Broaden your worldview and make you more intelligent. Understanding a foreign language will significantly increase the amount of information from different sources. You can watch foreign movies, news, read their newspapers and magazines. You will be able to meet and talk foreigners and learn things from them firsthand. All this will make you much smarter and interesting person. You will also be able to see the world as if through another pair of eyes, with another perspective on the events around the world.
So, answering that question in a title – yes, language is a tool to reach out the world. It is the most powerful tool we have for reaching out to others. We can use it to express our feelings, to spread our ideas, and even to establish peace.
That is why we do hope that this article served you as an inspiration for taking in learning a language. Take up a risk of broadening the world for yourself!
This article is originally posted on our global translation blog Agato Legal Translation blog, we try to share with our audience in New Zealand every piece of knowledge that we believe it’s useful and informative. Happy reading!