How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky

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How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky

There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world -- and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language -- from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian -- that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is, Boroditsky says. Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000. Check out more TED Talks: The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. Follow TED on Twitter: Like TED on Facebook: Subscribe to our channel:

Comments to the video: How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky

Angip Loung 1 month ago
Great talk really There's just one interesting thing struck my mind when the pictures of your grandpa appeared🤔 he looked like Nick Jonas in the 2nd pic 😊
Aishwarya 007 1 month ago
what about multi-lingual people like Indians? A vast majority of educated Indians speak 2 to 3 languages, ranging from Hindi +engling+regional language. I have always felt that, the same thought perceived in two different languages can have varied imagery in the brain and how we feel about that particular thing. A cuss word in English will never sound just as offensive as the cuss word in the regional language, even if the meaning is absolutely the same.
dzsende 1 month ago
It shapes a lot. My native language is hungarian. Every time I want to speak in english, I have to downgrade my thoughts, and try to walk around what I exactly want to tell. Every time I can hear english speaking, I have to upgrade those thoughts for a more clearer understanding. Hungarian is an agglutinative language and it has thousands of years ahead the todays known assimilated languages like english. The difference is huge between the agglutinated and the assimilated languages. Simply just because the possibilities are almost endless when you can use tags and affixes before and after a word. You can create millions of different words from thousands of words. Like the word: elmosolyodik mosoly: smile el-: starting (to smile) -ik(odik): he or she The whole word means about: He or she is starting to smile a kind of a - lovely, cute - different way. When you can notice he or she likes you.
Rethabile Headbush 1 month ago
wow this is so interesting!! It clarifies so much the connection between culture and language!! I am mind blown and am going to google scholar and jstor this topic to death (I'm such a nerd). This is particularly interesting to me, coming from a country (South Africa, shout out) with many native languages.
Sattam 1 month ago
Been brought here by my observation that when i speak in English i have a very different personality, differently articulated viewpoints and different emotional involvement (because it's not my mother tongue) than my first language which is Arabic.
kgzuig 1 month ago
That was so beautiful. Czech speaker there.
Francisco Espírito-Santo 1 month ago
Apparently, you haven't read or learnt about Wilhelm von Humboldt, Sapir-Whorf, Franz Boas, Ludwig Wittgenstein.! Do your homework first and stop trying to re-invent the wheel.
와압 와압 1 month ago
한글 자막 추가해주실 능력자 어디 안 계시나요
Dr. Khalid Eissa 1 month ago
I am from East Africa Now I know why I thought All Americas are crazy. Knowledge is a power. Thank You very much
Alex M 1 month ago
I was born in Belarus, spoke Russian and have sometimes wondered if my character and my way of thinking is different now since I've become custom to the English language living in America for the most part of my later life. Have my memories been lost in translation?
Princess De Puntual 1 month ago
excuse me but how dyou call the aboriginal people she's talking about? didnt quite catch that
Sandeep Kumar 1 month ago
wonderful ma'am
bách dương tùng 1 month ago
I don't understand the meaning of this video
R3ap3rPy 1 month ago
Great talk, from a very beautiful and smar woman!
Phourc 1 month ago
This is a really shallow analysis, though. The Kuuk Thaayorre live on a flat peninsula, so it's not hard to know which direction they're facing. Stuff like color and time are concepts, not physical objects, so it's not surprising different cultures will have different concepts of them. Not having numbers is something that any culture that develops mathematics will correct and gendered nouns are a minor influence on very specific objects. I agree there's merit to studying the differences in thought process between different languages, but if that's all the differences there are, then we can safely ignore them.
Joe Haan 1 month ago
Incredible speech
YellSpeakUp 1 month ago
Now, the tragic thing is that [.] by some estimates, half of the world's languages will be gone in the next hundred years. And the even worse news is that right now, almost everything we know about the human mind and the human brain is based on studies of usually American-English-speaking undergraduates at universities. That excludes almost all humans. So what we know about the human mind is actually incredibly narrow and biased. Our science has to do better. ⬆️THIS.⬆️
YellSpeakUp 1 month ago
Now, the tragic thing is that [.] by some estimates, half of the world's languages will be gone in the next hundred years. And the even worse news is that right now, almost everything we know about the human mind and the human brain is based on studies of usually American-English-speaking undergraduates at universities. That excludes almost all humans. So what we know about the human mind is actually incredibly narrow and biased. Our science has to do better. ⬆️THIS.⬆️
Amira Hlht 1 month ago
I've just watched a video of her talking about the same topic. She used the exact same words and expressions.SHE EVEN REPEATED THE SAME JOKES. -_-
Ronique Breaux Jordan 1 month ago
What I most remember about taking foreign language classes.definite distinctions between masculine & feminine..
TE SA 1 month ago
She is so smart I want to be like her.
갱미몬 1 month ago
Her speech is so interesting. I love her confidence :)
Dmitry Hrunski 1 month ago
Очень информативно, благодарю. Докладчик смотрится отлично. Материал представлен захватывающе.
dimercury 1 month ago
Очень простой и дилетантский взор на лингвистику, на мой взор. Лектор чуток свысока, с позиций белоснежного человека дискуссирует туземцев, веселя тоскующую аудиторию. Скука смертная там была, и вообщем неясно что желала женщина произнести, если честно. Тема холокоста вообщем не прозвучала, что удивительно, беря во внимание её семейные происшествия.
Multimedia Event 1 month ago
Really fascinating, a very diffrent perspective of assuming things. Examples were beneficial and outstanding. Enjoyed👍👍
SorbusAucubaria 1 month ago
Could it be that some inventions are more likely to be made by speakers of certain type of language? That some languages are more equal and that makes speakers of those languages more likely to be equal in their behavior? Speakers of some languages are more likely to give harsher punishments? Speakers of some language are more likely to be generous? Very, very interesting.
Jimi Z Koniokowa 1 month ago
Interesting. Especially if you aren't native English speaker and you are thinking about all those things during listening it. xD
Mizuki2201 1 month ago
I don't care about anything out of my country until I have to learn to get the IELTS certification. Learning a language is learning about culture
Prob_io 1 month ago
Strong long and masculine! Exectly what she said!(pun intended)
AlexZ3T 1 month ago
As someone who speaks English and Spanish and is currently learning Korean and Mandarin, I found this really interesting! ^^
PaleMagnolia 1 month ago
I always wondered how the fact that, in English, people say I love you in both a romantic and affectionate way, while in my language there's two very different ways to say it, affects the mind. In Italian, we would say Ti amo only to our significant other, and ti voglio bene to our relatives, children, or friends, and it would be weird to do the opposite.
Камиль Фаткуллин 1 month ago
Thank you so much for this video!!! This information is blowing my mind))))
Thùy Phạm 2 months ago
I love your voice, and you're also pretty
Ali Aborez 2 months ago
Im a native Venezuelan who learned arabic in Syria and had to migrate to T&T where i improved my horrible english skills. When i talk in spanish i tend to be open minded or atleast thats the most noticeable thing for me? When i talk arabic i feel like im being too specific but thats actually helpfull sometimes when i want to think and concentrate at specific things. Now the english language is not that bad, it cuts corners and takes the most shortcuts of them all to get to an idea. Simple yet so many details are lost but it really does it job when you have a long and complex idea that you want to explain to someone in the least amount of time while keeping the point intact. You can actually see it on street signs if you google the ones with long messages you will find that english ones have the least amount of words. I want more people to learn multiple languages because it really makes you look at your self in a thirdperson kinda way. Now let me go back and try getting better at english because i know im still horrible at it.(sry 4 mi bad english joke 2018!!!)
Khaled Fadl 2 months ago
dislike
Anastasiia Moralez 2 months ago
Wow! This dress on lady looks very nice! Thanks for such an informative video! ;)
CrazyWorldOfHanane 2 months ago
Speaking another language is having another soul I so relate to that I speak 4 languages and I feel like another person when I speak another language !
faissal ghaleb 2 months ago
Language is a TRAP! ;D
graffiti95 2 months ago
If the aborigens were in Australia, they should used north talking about their leg, or not?
TallHotShot 2 months ago
Alguém do Brasil??
mengyu zhao 2 months ago
Fantastic speech! This lady is so smart.
Choong TuckWai 2 months ago
找打字人员: 【不收取任何任务押金】 1000字200台币/70港币/35马币,就只是照着图片打字这么简单 【手机电脑均可】 当天晚上12点结算薪水 时间随意,自己在家就可以做 适和:学生,宝妈,上班族 有兴趣了解直接加 微信:Hong_128 LINE:Hong_128 帮朋友转发,打扰!本人也有在做,真的可以赚到钱。 都不要问我上面有联系方式,咨询找她。
yuliawati madu 2 months ago
awesome for the content.! she is an awesome and briliant Lady !
ganesh julia sawitri 2 months ago
It blows my mind. thats what they meant when they talked about positive vibes❤️
Tu te Kohe 2 months ago
Smart, educated and very attractive and presenting a super interesting subject matter about something vitally integral to the way the human mind works. Whats not to like?!
Tanvir Hafiz 2 months ago
Forget dress, any dress she wears will look awesome on her. She just became my latest teacher crush
M MOK 2 months ago
Gd talk! I speak fluent Chinese and English; Chinese being my native language. I prefer using English to do essays coz I can think critically when I use English.
etf42 2 months ago
I wonder when the gender hysteria liberals attack all the nouns in Spanish and German
Mansee Sharma 2 months ago
Another favorite talk on this channel TED!!! I too have created a few language related videos and self help content. Please watch! 😀
Pham Khoa 2 months ago
I'd been thinking about this issue about 1 year till I saw this video. I thought I was lonely thinking about it myself. Languages are incredibly amazing.
Arturo Carrasco Huamán 2 months ago
CONGRATULATIONS, SISTER LERA BORODITSKY !! THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR KNOWLEDGE !! BLESSINGS AND GREETINGS FROM SAN JUAN DE LURIGANCHO, LIMA, PERÚ !!
Rupert Trengove 2 months ago
Brilliant talk!
Flianz D 2 months ago
She's so pretty!
The Vintage Hifi ambassador 2 months ago
The dress is awful, blue or green but not red, or rosé.joke, change to all the positive comments..so uninteresting, blablabla.joke, definately very geil
Hai Nguyen 2 months ago
I wonder if there is any chance in which the way we think shapes the language we use
SOVEREIGN BRAND 2 months ago
Racism white supremacy thrives on scientific discussion & discovery, good smart people’s thinking racism white supremacy is no more in control of the most awesomeness & destructiveness. Anyway they use technology like this as a full time religion government to the benefit of white peoples/ white supremacy, based on & powered by the victimization of all non-whites upon the entire earth forever. That’s their god & you good smart people are into all things non constructive as it relates to the ending or racism white supremacy. The racists white supremacist perfects & refines their racism, just like any other business, cause It’s a business & it’s a war. That’s why they don’t respect blacks the most, they see all blacks ignoring racism white supremacy while it gains so much power it destroys the world, when only us black Americans & white Americans, have the ability to be the worlds first example of a just society, BASED UPON TRUE JUSTICE FOR ALL, NO EXCEPTIONS, THE PEOPLES ON EARTH THAT NEED HELP THE MOST, GET IMMEDIATE CONSTRUCTIVE HELP, & NONE ARE ABUSED BY POWER AT HOME OR ABROAD. WE MUST STRIVE FOR A JUSTICE BY ALL FOR ALL FOR EVER TO COUNTER RACISM WHITE SUPREMACY.
长途商务舱机票5到8折 2 months ago
Also language changes people’s appearance
Alexey Antonovych 2 months ago
Cool!)
Vi ki Lin 2 months ago
Good
Camilo Nunes 2 months ago
The absurdity of so many people laughing while she explains her research and her conclusions and thoughts about it at first got me angry but actually it makes me think that there is something very wrong with us.these people laughing when she was mentioning the experience with the aborigens think they're in a Johnny Carson program or in some late show auditory, or maybe they think the lady is Tyna Fey. between I just dont know what it is but Americans just dont know when NOT to laugh anymore.Maybe too many years of the so called show bussines melted theyr brains.unfortunately.
Maria Mara 2 months ago
Language is power
Orion Conner 2 months ago
8:20 Both sun and moon are masculine in Hindi 😊 9:28 Same in Hindi. You can't say in hindi I broke my arm (मैंने अपना हाथ तोड़ लिया) unless you your self have broken it. 😅
barbara G 2 months ago
So, If I' m Spanish and for me Sun is male and for a german is female, What are the consequences when I want to learn or understand an english? Could It affect US for understand each other? Thank you so much!
Anthony C 2 months ago
This whole talk is basically outlines the concept of linguistic relativity.
Roshan Rupakheti 2 months ago
I'm not native viewer and I don't understand all words but your voice is energetic. I fall in her voice. lop uh😘😍😍😍😘😘😍😍😍😘😘😍😍
shivam thakur 2 months ago
Perfect.
Gerardo Salas' 2 months ago
My god she is so beauty ❤️😍
William Jayaraj 2 months ago
Learning a new language and then compare it with your own gives lot of new thinking because we are actually interpolating both. In short one opens up a new world for him/her. Thank you.
co o asj 2 months ago
Hi, my name is Chae. Like many of you, I have someone I dearly love. His name is Jungkook. It's his birthday today, and I just want to use his and his group's music to bless both you and them. The first song is a cover of Roy Kim's song. It showcases Jungkook's beautiful vocals and his love for his fans. You can see it in the url, 180314songforarmy. Some people celebrate Valentine's Day on the 14th of every month, and on the 14th of March, he dedicated this song cover to us. He's the sweetest.   This second song is 'Magic Shop.' It's one of the songs from their album Love Yourself '轉' Tear. Jungkook produced this song. This is a fan song, which means it's written for the fans. There is a story behind why the song is named 'Magic Shop,' if you take the time to find out why, I'm sure you would be intrigued. Besides the cool title, this is another song that shows off Jungkook's and his members' prowesses really well.   This third song is 'Euphoria,' Jungkook's solo song produced by DJ Swivel, a Grammy award winning music producer. DJ Swivel works closely with Beyoncé, which says a lot about his abilities, and about how beautiful 'Euphoria' sounds. It's a soothing song about the new, stirring feelings of falling in love. Jungkook (the birthday boy!) and his members: RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, and V, collectively known as the septet BTS, the global K-music sensation, make music to change the world to be a better place. A quick search for proof will yield many testimonies of BTS' music helping people of all ages to find beauty in life. BTS X ARMY are a beautiful family. I hope, on this special day, you can enjoy their music together with us, and perhaps join this family. Love others and love yourself :) 💜, have a beautiful day.
Alexandra Fabian 2 months ago
Thank you This is inspiring!
abdullah khedr 2 months ago
interesting
GlentoranMark 2 months ago
Is this evolution happening by language or just small scale differences in the Human Brain by language? I clicked on this by accident but thank you, most interesting.
Siddhartha Gautam 2 months ago
She is extremely sexy
HighHeelsQueen 2 months ago
A rare and fantastic combination of well presented thoughts by a beautiful woman who is elegantly dressed, great dress and shoes
Ernest Mendez 2 months ago
That's all very educational and endearing; but what about intuition? What about thinking purely in images? I'm a writer so I'm not debasing the importance of language and it's ability to evolve ideas; but there's quite a bit missing here and it almost seems irresponsible.
Vivek R 2 months ago
i don't know why., but i m attracted to her
Lana Kulik 2 months ago
Now, this will keep me up at night: Did that vase really break or there was a quick museum guard who managed to catch it?
Ass Mc Turd 2 months ago
This. Woman. Want.
alens alens 2 months ago
Голубой, лазурный, не желаю резаться с тобой
nuclear kid 2 months ago
I've seen her somewhere else. Seriously.
David barnes stuff 2 2 months ago
I learned to read Spanish after I was 50 years old. If I had grown up bilingual I'm sure things would have been different but after I was well established in English and then later learned Spanish, I remember noticing how different the way they said things was. I have been telling people for several years that if you speak a different language, you think about things in a different way.
Norman Keena 2 months ago
Now i have listened to her whole speech: I am now even more convinced, she is telling lies. I shall try to type here presentation below. with interjections, of how it would have been said here. should a danish presenter have presented this , this subject for discourse. For verbal intercourse. One does not teach in danish. The concept/percept teach/learn are not comando expressions ? So I will be speaking to you using language. ¿ ( jeg siger dig, nu teller mig ) google translation: [ Jeg vil tale til dig nu ved hjælp af sprog] . because I can, this magic all humans. we can tx. complex thinks hindandre, det jeg gøre nu, er at jeg laver lyd mit mine mund., ud samtidlige, mit at jeg toner, hiss, puff. laver luft casteller ud i det blå, og du omformer dette till tanker. No sorry, i can't do it. I wonced worked as a copy- typist and I hated the job. I can't , just can't repeat lies. The rest of the show is foolishness. Allow me to jump ahead to where she names a people living on the tip of Queensland. Normally in Australlian english these peoples are referenced as ' the indigenous people of the Torres Strait Islands. And the speaker goes on to say there are 7000 languages and they are vanishing and by implication the world is poorer. This Mary Mead way of mixing anthropology with archeology drives me to distraction. Maybe it is sort-of because of the irishness in me. but my danish son had it too. I remember working bush, over far west of there. With the son of a famous australian. damm, i've even surpressed the name used then for that type of study. For a minute there I was trying to remember either the danish or english '70s/'80s name. I made a complete idiot of myself, stripping naked at the bilabong and clapping to raise cocatoo and as i ran to dive in, a local said there are crocadile. I dived in anyway. I called that felle whom said that 'bugg bug' catch-m and eat-m he said one day, as he placed his hand in the mud and bring out a frog. 'bung-bung' was a mob of stones. When i asked the Pinjarri for 'one' 'two' 'three. he looked at me like a quisicle cat. It was our silly protocal that said, the datum post must be one meter long at each end and hight enough so as the cangaroo could read as to when the court date was and where the claim is filed.
Norman Keena 2 months ago
I grew-up in southern ireland '60s, first lesson in school, (i was 8yrs old) was the 'ave maria' in gaelic, the singsong sound, told me i already know this as the 'hail mary' I think we had two hours of gaelic, three times a week and when i finished national school six years later. I was convinced i'd never learn a foreign language. But when I was 21yrs old, I came here to denmark. and now i don't really know what people mean when they say 'bilingual' I know what you mean though. There was a popular 'phrase here, at one stage. Some local primary schools had a problem. All the teachers were native danish. and all the kids were not. Turkish immigrant parents and well, foreign language parents. 'double-half-lingual' and 'half-double-lingual'. I could never get it right. The video above, i only skimmed it. The lady is telling lies. Norde 'homme ey inteligente como pedre
KhushAzeem Official 2 months ago
I'm loven it. 💗
Dickot Rezkot 2 months ago
Jangankan orang aborigin , orang jawa juga banyak yang pakai arah mata angin :v
Ritesh Patel 2 months ago
It's very interesting and she is a great speaker. It's one of the best Ted talks.
Ritesh Patel 2 months ago
It is so interesting. She is awesome.
Marcos Marcano 2 months ago
How the Spanish speakers explain ser y estar to the English speakers
bpanther 2 months ago
Beautiful. both the talk and the person. Just too cute !!
Rafael Edwards 2 months ago
A question to Lera Boroditsky: Thank you for a very inspiring and thought-provoking chat. Nowadays, as part of the newest feminist movements, particularly in spanish (my native), there are proposals for modifying language as it relates to key feminist concepts, in other words to correct the Spanish language in this respect to ensure proper equality and respect for both genders. This opens up a question in my mind: If gender- specific nouns in a language can produce or encourage a type of thinking which is gender-biased or machista, am I to understand that languages without this specificity are significantly (in the case of gender) more equal or less machista?
assunta achok 2 months ago
in my tribe, we don’t have the word “please” because doing things for others, helping others before they beg/ask is pretty normal and carried out as an active instead of spoken.
Aleksandar Dzunic 2 months ago
Beautiful woman.
aditya sundaresan 2 months ago
Now I'm wondering what happens if someone is a bilingual. And the two languages the person speaks contradict in some of the points discussed here.🤔🤔
Dhyan Jay 2 months ago
She is one of the best speaker in therms of sound one produces. Love the tome and, of course the content is also great. I wonder how, or rather why, did so many languages evolve during civilization? What is the need of choosing different words or tones to communicate in a small group of people of ancestors?
Patricia Nguyen 2 months ago
like it
Thuy Van Nguyen 2 months ago
It's so true. My voice is high and I'm very confident,I feel so free and open when I speak English. When I speak Vietnamese I'm new close and like a soft girl, then with Chinese I'm so so so chic and ready to be loud all the time and sometime talk like I'm rapping. Hayza
Bala Murali 2 months ago
It's literally, phenomenal way to think that even language shapes our observation around us.
Jessica Olson 2 months ago
Lera, when you do studies have you begun to study persons with language learning disabilities compared to the ones without yet? Or do you leave that study for others down the scientific line? I'd love to learn more about the difference in neuro typical and those that are not typical. (I have language processing disorder, I think in idea but not in words unless I consciously translate it, and I found it interesting that some historical figures used to think that thought only happened with words. I also find that as I understand the how's of language development I do improve my own skills at it).
Science Troll 2 months ago
The way I think shapes language. I started calling pufferfish toadfish, I started calling mad people fruitloops, I started referring to left wingers doing projection as the pot calling the mirror black, I started calling snakes wrigglesticks.
redstarsrbija 2 months ago
Fascinating!
Keven Math 2 months ago
I needed to wright about this question and this really helped lay the ground work, im going to ace this essay
bleakstk 2 months ago
The examples concerning the spanish language are so wrong, bonito is the masculine version of beautiful whereas bonita is femenine, if you see a beautiful bridge you just say el puente es bonito. Why would us, spanish speakers, think of using only adjectives which are related to masculinity?. A bridge being strong or long would rarely be used to describe the asthetic qualities of a bridge. Why do they let such ignorant people with limited knowledge spew out erroneous bullshit on these talks.