How the Languages We Speak Shape the Ways We Think by Lera Boroditsky, Assistant Professor, Stanford University, Department of Psychology. How do the languages we speak shape the ways we think? Do speakers of different languages think differently? Does learning new languages change the way you think? Do bilinguals think differently when speaking different languages? Does language shape our thinking only when we’re speaking or does it shape our attentional and cognitive patterns more broadly? In this talk, Boroditsky will describe several lines of research looking at cross-linguistic differences in thought. The results show that languages help construct our representations of the world at many stages, yielding predictably different patterns of thought in speakers of different languages.
Here at Berkeley, we have first-hand experiences of learning, teaching, and using dozens of languages every day. Do you feel that the languages you speak influence the way you think? How? Considering your own experiences—and those of your friends, peers, students, family and others—how would you respond to Professor Boroditsky’s other questions above?