How Language Shapes the Way We Think

Do you know that there are some people who are obsessed with learning new languages? Have you ever felt that how can someone waste their time in such an unproductive thing? I also once could not understand those people who love languages. What is there to love about a language? How come one language be more beautiful, while another be more elegant, and the other be more logical? Now I think I can understand these perceptions.

I came to Japan at the age of 19. I learned Japanese for one year, then completed my bachelor in Japanese. I am a university teacher now engaging with Japanese people in the Japanese language every day. Many foreign students and researchers come to Japan temporarily for study and research. Among them, some become hateful of the Japanese language. There may be many reasons for becoming hateful such as difficulty, usage of Kanji, etc. There is another reason not directly associated with language structure or grammar. The reason is that what benefit can the Japanese language give me after I leave Japan. It will be a waste of time trying to learn the Japanese language. Unsurprisingly, people with this mentality can never learn a new language. They see language as a tool for their business. Yes, languages are tools for communication. But, they miss an important perception that one’s thought process is shaped by the languages he/she knows. Knowing many languages will raise your thinking ability, give you the ability to view and analyze things in different ways, you will have the luxury of understanding in multiple ways and synthesize a new understanding on the matter.  I tried to explain this concept to some of them only ending in unfruitful results. I did not have the theory and data to support my claim.

I am happy that finally, I have found some research works on this topic. Please watch the following videos.


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