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Thought and language a mirror of ones rationality essay

Language: Notes on the Thought of Luce Irigaray

Messenger Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia.

  • What faces the language learner, under these assumptions, is not the impossible task of inventing a highly abstract and intricately structured theory on the basis of degenerate data, but rather the much more manageable task of determining whether these data belong to one or another of a fairly restricted set of potential languages;
  • But one cannot count on this being the case, and in the study of language it surely is not the case;
  • First, it misinterprets the views of classical rationalist grammar, which held that languages are similar only at the deeper level, the level at which grammatical relations are expressed and at which the processes that provide for the creative aspect of language use are to be found;
  • The abstractness of linguistic structure reinforces this conclusion, and it suggests further that in both perception and learning the mind plays an active role in determining the character of the acquired knowledge;
  • Assuming the rough accuracy of conclusions that seem tenable today, it is reasonable to suppose that a generative grammar is a system of many hundreds of rules of several different types, organised in accordance with certain fixed principles of ordering and applicability and containing a certain fixed substructure which, along with the general principles of organisation, is common to all languages;
  • As participants in a certain culture, we are naturally aware of the great differences in ability to use language, in knowledge of vocabulary, and so on that result from differences in native ability and from differences in conditions of acquisition; we naturally pay much less attention to the similarities and to common knowledge, which we take for granted.

Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in. The past 15 years have witnessed an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with the majority of the evidence pointing to the tangible advantages of using more than one language.

Going back and forth between languages appears to be a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible.

  1. This is a study now being undertaken by a few psychologists, and it is particularly active right here in Berkeley.
  2. This innate restriction is a precondition, in the Kantian sense, for linguistic experience, and it appears to be the critical factor in determining the course and result of language learning.
  3. The problem cannot even be formulated in any sensible way until we develop the concept of competence, alongside the concepts of learning and behaviour, and apply this concept in some domain. Thus there is, in this view, an underlying structure of grammatical relations and categories, and certain aspects of human thought and mentality are essentially invariant across languages, although languages may differ as to whether they express the grammatical relations formally by inflection or word order, for example.
  4. In short, the theories of philosophical grammar, and the more recent elaborations of these theories, make the assumption that languages will differ very little, despite considerable diversity in superficial realisation, when we discover their deeper structures and unearth their fundamental mechanisms and principles.

Just as regular exercise gives your body some biological benefits, mentally controlling two or more languages gives your brain cognitive benefits. This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: We showed German-English bilinguals video clips of events with a motion in them, such as a woman walking towards a car or a man cycling towards the supermarket and then asked them to describe the scenes.

Language and Mind

Or walking towards the car? The worldview assumed by German speakers is a holistic one — they tend to look at the event as a whole — whereas English speakers tend to zoom in on the event and focus only on the action.

The linguistic basis of this tendency appears to be rooted in the way different grammatical tool kits situated actions in time. English requires its speakers to grammatically mark events that are ongoing, by obligatorily applying the —ing morpheme: Research with second language users shows a relationship between linguistic proficiency in such grammatical constructions and the frequency with which speakers mention the goals of events.

In our study we also found that these cross-linguistic differences extend beyond language usage itself, to nonverbal categorisation of events. We asked English and German monolinguals to watch a series of video clips that showed people walking, biking, running, or driving. In each set of three videos, we asked subjects to decide whether a scene with an ambiguous goal a woman walks down a road toward a parked car was more similar to a clearly goal-oriented scene a woman walks into a building or a scene with no goal a woman walks down a country lane.

  1. But since no one has succeeded in showing that the fundamental properties of natural language — those discussed in Lecture 2, for example — appear in prelinguistic symbolic systems or any others, the latter problem does not arise. Women are more likely than men to characterize difference as positive, and women are more likely to use interrogatives.
  2. Surely it is pointless to accept methodological strictures that preclude such an approach to problems of learning. Some of the empirical conditions that must be met by any such assumption about innate structure are moderately clear.
  3. Both women and men are unlikely to designate a woman as the subject of a sentence of direct a constructed sentence towards a woman. The theory of learning has limited itself to a narrow and surely inadequate concept of what is learned — namely a system of stimulus-response connections, a network of associations, a repertoire of behavioural items, a habit hierarchy, or a system of dispositions to respond in a particular way under specifiable stimulus conditions.
  4. On the contrary, you think that the chicken has an innate idea of doing this; that is to say, that it can think of this, but has no faculty of thinking anything else....
  5. As participants in a certain culture, we are naturally aware of the great differences in ability to use language, in knowledge of vocabulary, and so on that result from differences in native ability and from differences in conditions of acquisition; we naturally pay much less attention to the similarities and to common knowledge, which we take for granted.

German monolinguals matched ambiguous scenes with goal-oriented scenes more frequently than English monolinguals did. This difference mirrors the one found for language usage: Switch languages, change perspective When it came to bilingual speakers, they seemed to switch between these perspectives based on the language context they were given the task in. We found that Germans fluent in English were just as goal-focused as any other native speaker when tested in German in their home country. But a similar group of German-English bilinguals tested in English in the United Kingdom were just as action-focused as native English speakers.

In another group of German-English bilinguals, we kept one language in the forefront of their minds during the video-matching task by making participants repeat strings of numbers out loud in either English or German.

Distracting one language seemed to automatically bring the influence of the other language to the fore. With German blocked, bilingual subjects acted like English speakers and matched ambiguous and open-ended scenes. These findings are in line with other research showing distinct behaviour in bilinguals depending on the language of operation.

  • If I speak with no concern for modifying your behaviour or thoughts, I am not using language any less than if I say exactly the same things with such intention;
  • One might hope that such study will reveal a succession of maturational stages leading finally to a full generative grammar.

Israeli Arabs are more likely to associate Arab names such as Ahmed and Samir with positive words in an Arabic language context than in a Hebrew one, for example. People self-report that they feel like a different person when using their different languages and that expressing certain emotions carries different emotional resonance depending on the language they are using. When judging risk, bilinguals also tend to make more rational economic decisions in a second language.

So the language you speak in really can affect the way you think.