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There I was on a July morning,
I was looking for love.
With the strength
Of a new day dawning
And the beautiful sun.
And at the sound
Of the first bird singing
I was leaving for home.
With the storm
And the night behind me
Yeah, and a road of my own.

Uriah Heep - July Morning
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
Learn English in July

Do we think differently in different languages?

mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
Do we think differently in different languages?

What do you think? This short (four minute) video is very interesting.

https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/do-we-think-differently-in-different-languages/p07ry35k
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Comments

  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    Oh, I wonder no-one wants to discuss this topic. Although we are all confronted by foreign languages.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    I think there must be a considerable difference in the way of thinking @Hermine. Some languages are much more complicated than others, while others are more specific to the culture and environment. Take the example of Eskimos for example, with their various words for snow.
  • RomulRomul Posts: 14 ✭✭
    > @Hermine said:
    > Oh, I wonder no-one wants to discuss this topic. Although we are all confronted by foreign languages.

    No I've got here to discuss it!
    When I started to learn the language I take only English resources without any word in my native tongue, so after some time I wondered that sometimes when I tried to think in English I thought just with images instead of the language.

    And in my native tongue I can think while I'm speaking, it's harder a lot to do it in English, so sometimes I do think before speaking (but rarely).
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    Thinking before you speak can be a problem regardless of whether you are a native speaker or not @Hermine!
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge, I've no idea what you're talking about. Could you explain it please?
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    ‘Do you like girls with a sense of humour?’
    ‘I do, but they always laugh at me for some reason.’
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    A wife comes home from work and sees a lipstick writing on the bathroom mirror: ‘’Best regards to the wife! Tiffany.’
    ‘Kevin, who is Tiffany?’
    Kevin comes over: ‘She’s a bitch. A damned bitch!’
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    I can't understand the last joke @Practical_Severard .
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 15
    Hermine said:

    I can't understand the last joke @Practical_Severard .

    Well, the wife comes home and sees a message to her "Best regards for the wife" undoubtfully from a woman: it's written with a lipstick, signed with the female name Tiffany. The writing implies that Tiffany has had sex with her husband (a message from a strange woman in the bathroom) and is bragging about that 'Look, I have shagged your husband'.
    So she asks him (Kevin) who that Tiffany has been.
    Kevin comes over and seeing that Tiffany has deliberately exposed him before his wife brands Tiffany a bitch for that. A damned one. One may guess that's something on what his wife'd agree with him, though that's not the most important part of the story to her. The story leaves out all the implied conclusions, but remains natural and intelligible (a question, an answer), that's the humour of it.
    I used names associated with the Essex people, because I think that sort of people are capable of playing tricks like this one.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    Okay, I see. So Kevin thinks the same about Tiffany as his wife does.


    He takes the wind off the sails. As we would say.

    I think I got it.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    I think Kevin only thinks Tiffany is a bitch because she's let the cat out of the bag. I'm sure the wife thinks Tiffany is a bitch for being with her husband @Hermine.
  • lisalisa Posts: 2,353 ✭✭✭
    @Hermine Well as a woman and a wife, I have to say this joke is abstracted from the real life. Maybe most people will say that couples should trust each other, however, almost all of couples can not obey this principle. In a word, we human beings are weird.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 17
    A small thing on the topic. I think that a person's language does affect his thinking, especially about abstract things, which can't be directly perceived. All the parts of a language, the vocabulary, the syntax, etc. are in the game. Though, I'm not sure I can express my thoughts clearly.

    Something about vocabulary. There are no words for 'green' and 'blue' in Korean. So they must think that a forest, a river and the sky are of the same colour. These things might be of different shades, but still of the same colour. Isn't it strange? I can continue this theme with English vs Russian, such as in English a river and the sky are of the same colour too, while in Russian there are two different words with two different roots. Of course, everybody knows that the colour of the sky is a light shade of blue, but having two different words make them distinct. Or in Russian the word 'girl' is used both to refer to a however small (including newborn) female child and to a say, an 20 years old unmarried female, and probably to a 30 years old, what is rather strange for a Russian who uses two words, and for a teenager Russian girl a choice of the words means if she's percepted as a child or a grown-up.


    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • VokVok Posts: 2,061 ✭✭✭✭
    Although Koreans may not have words for 'green' or 'blue' but surely they can manage without them somehow @Practical_Severard . I think it's more about the way of how effectively and efficiently diffirent nations use their language but it's not clear how it may affect the way they think. Does it make any difference if you see a traffic light turn green, but you don't use any specific word for the colour? If you are not colour blind you'll surely recognise the colour and, most importantly, the notion of it.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 17
    Vok said:

    Does it make any difference if you see a traffic light turn green, but you don't use any specific word for the colour? If you are not colour blind you'll surely recognise the colour and, most importantly, the notion of it.

    Well, in the case of traffic lights they have different words for the colours: "red", "yellow", and, let's assume "greenblue". But I think that a greenblue meadow, the greenblue sea and the greenblue sky differ between themselves in the minds of Koreans less than in the mind of other people whose languages have different words for the colours. Though, I must admit, I'm not 100% sure of this.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • VokVok Posts: 2,061 ✭✭✭✭



    There's a situation in the "Gone With the Wind" when Scarlett is told to put on a blue dress instead of a green one she liked. I think that translating this place into Korean poses a difficulty.

    Yes, it's very interesting indeed. Is there a Korean on this forum who can enlighten us on this?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    It does seem very strange that Koreans don't have a different word for two different colours. I wonder if they have a word for turquoise.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    There is a lengthy Wikipedia article on the colour issue.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 20
    A small example from the grammar area. Russian as well as many other Slavic languages doesn't have a part of speech widely used in English, which is the article. This means that a native English speaker is 100% clear about every countable noun whether it's an instance of a class, a certain object being pointed at or an enitity which is unique in the universe. And vice versa, this person classifies all the nouns he's being said to into these three classes. A Russian, however, can get a meaning typically deliverd by an article only from the context or from a clarifying clause which the speaker needs to use to be understood precisely. I think this makes English-language thinking more precise, and, of course, laconic. The article concept is difficult to grasp for Slavic learners, something that many English ESL teachers can witness, as well this issue can be used as a shibboleth even for every advanced in English individuals.

    On the other hand, Russian uses the category of gender rather widely, such as not only nouns and pronouns can be either male or female or neuter, but also attributes and even past time verbs. In the result, in Russian you always know who you're dealing with even if it's texting. I have always felt strange about the contrary situation in English. (But since the dimunitives are always feminine and some male names look like female, it may pause a problem for a learner.)
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    The German language loves articles and suffixes. And each 'case', we have four in fact, end differently.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    Most nouns are without a gender, but it's interesting to not that ships or boats are generally seen to be female.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    Most nouns are without a gender, but it's interesting to not that ships or boats are generally seen to be female.

    Those are vestiges of the gender system English used to have.
    Hermine said:

    And each 'case', we have four in fact, end differently.

    That is like the old English which also had four (and remnants of the fifth) declensions. This is the declension for the adjective 'glad' (in brackets)
    A [glaed] man does smth [singular, nominative, masculine]
    I accuse a [glaedne] man [singular, accusative, masculine]
    There are no a [glades] man [singular, genitive, masculine]
    I give it to a [gladum] man [singular, dative, masculine]
    I get this with a [glade] man [singular, instumental, masculine]


  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't dream in English, Although I've been learning for so long.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 24
    Hermine said:

    I don't dream in English, Although I've been learning for so long.

    Is it a complaint? If it is there is a quick and easy way to fix it: apply for sitting a Cambridge exam. Especially if the time for the next session is running out.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    I've reverted back to dreaming in English after two months away from France.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,882 ✭✭✭✭
    @Practical_Severard, no it isn't a complain. I just thought to write it because lots of people say how fast they embarked into a foreign language.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    Hermine said:

    @Practical_Severard, no it isn't a complain. I just thought to write it because lots of people say how fast they embarked into a foreign language.

    @Hermine, dreaming in a second language isn't necessarily a sign of success in learining it, it's an overstrain. A physics student once told me that he had dreamed of a sphere with pluses hovering around it. It was in a short time before his exam.
  • VokVok Posts: 2,061 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 29
    @Hermine I was dreaming in Japanese last night. Although I know at best just few Japanese words, I had no difficulties in understanding it. What a smart alec I am)
    Post edited by Vok on
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 29
    @Vok, as someone with French as the mother tongue, can you imagine seasons as of something of female gender? In the "Ten Years Later" by Dumas père king Louis XIV dances a personification of spring in a court ballet. That required a translator's note in the Russian translation, because seasons are of female gender in Russian, so a queen would have been the right choice for this role.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,369 ✭✭✭✭
    I recall being astonished at dreaming in French after a few months when I worked in France many years ago. However I don't believe that it had anything to do with language proficiency, but more to do with the situation.
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