Does Language Shape Thought? : Mandarin and English Speakers ‘ Concepts of Time. Classical theories of the relation between linguistic communication and idea in human development were largely accounted by Piaget and Vygotsky in the early 1900s ( Weiskrantz, 1988 ) . They both agreed that idea does non arise in linguistic communication even though their positions were frequently presented as reciprocally contradictory. Piaget ( 1926 ) argued that idea has its beginnings in a ‘logic of action ‘ which forms behavioral foundation for the mental operations in babyhood that will emerge in ulterior life. He defined believing as ‘the ability to reflect upon stored experience ‘ and that precursors of idea can be observed in the babe ‘s sensori-motor activities long before she utters her first words. Vygotsky ( 1962 ) nevertheless had societal attack to rational development. He considered the societal foundations of linguistic communication and idea, every bit good as sensori-motor precursors to be discernible in babyhood. Whorf, on the other manus had a strong position that idea and action are wholly determined by linguistic communication. He proposed that if linguistic communications differ, their talkers should besides differ in comprehending the universe. Boroditsky ( 2001 ) in her paper discussed Whorfian position, every bit good as surveies conducted by Heider ( 1972 ) , Rosch ( 1975, 1978 ) , Slobin ( 1987, 1996 ) , and Hunt and Agnoli ( 1991 ) .
The surveies briefly mentioned in the paper were back uping the thought that linguistic communication forms thought. Slobin ( 1987, 1996 ) in his surveies proposed that linguistic communication may act upon idea during ‘thinking for talking ‘ , and Agnoli ( 1991 ) showed the grounds that linguistic communication may act upon the idea by doing accustomed differentiations more fluid. Boroditsky ‘s article reviewed a history of surveies about linguistic communications, how linguistic communication we speak shapes the manner we understand the universe, how people who speak different linguistic communications think about the universe otherwise and how larning a new linguistic communication changes the manner we think. Research workers conducted three surveies to show the function of linguistic communication in determining accustomed idea. They hypothesized that utilizing spacial linguistic communication to speak about clip have short-run deductions for online processing, and that utilizing spacial linguistic communication to speak about clip have long-run deductions and they examined whether different ways of speaking about clip lead to different ways of believing about it. In English front/back footings are used to speak about clip, but in Mandarin talkers besides use perpendicular metaphors, like up/down. Three experiments were designed to prove whether utilizing spacial metaphors to speak about clip can hold both immediate and long-run deductions for how people think about clip.
Alumnus and undergraduate pupils from Stanford University participated in the surveies, in a first experiment ; 26 native English talkers and 20 native Mandarin talkers. The undertaking was to reply spacial premier inquiries followed by inquiries about clip. Spatial scenarios accompanied by a sentence description were primes, either horizontal or perpendicular and marks were statements about clip: either before/after or earlier/later ( e.g. , ‘March comes before April ‘ ; ‘March comes earlier than April ‘ ) . All participants were tested in English. For each inquiry presented on a computing machine screen, participants had to response TRUE or FALSE every bit rapidly as possible. As predicted, English and Mandarin talkers answered spatiotemporal before/after inquiries faster after horizontal primes than after perpendicular primes, nevertheless when replying inquiries phrased in strictly temporal earlier/later footings, Mandarin talkers were faster after perpendicular primes than after horizontal primes. It appeared that wonts in linguistic communication encourage wonts in idea and that they can run regardless of the linguistic communication that one is presently believing for.
Twenty five Mandarin-English bilinguals ( with changing grades of experience with Mandarin and English ) participated in a 2nd experiment. Participants had to once more reply spacial priming inquiries followed by inquiries about clip, nevertheless in this experiment all marks were earlier/later statements about clip, because the critical step was the sum of perpendicular prejudice in response to the earlier/later marks. Consequences showed that the prejudice to believe about clip vertically was greater for Mandarin talkers who started larning English subsequently in life. The inclination to believe about clip vertically was related to the length of pure Mandarin acquisition, before any English was learnt, but non the length of English experience.
In the 3rd experiment 70 all native English talkers participated in a survey. They were told they would larn a new manner to believe about clip. The system used applied statements like above/below and higher than/lower than. Participants had to calculate out how the system worked and were so trained on inquiries about certain events, where events closer to the yesteryear were said to be ‘above ‘ or ‘higher than ‘ and events closer to the hereafter were said to be ‘below ‘ or ‘lower than ‘ . After that they went on to finish the experiment figure one. Trained English talkers answered marks faster than native Mandarin talkers. It confirmed the hypotheses that differences in speaking lead to differences in thought.
Boroditsky seems to be truly fascinated about how people perceive clip. She calls it a phenomenon ( Boroditsky, 2001 ) in which we observe the visual aspect and disappearing of objects and events, and is interested in spacial footings imported to speak. Across civilizations people use unidimensional, directional footings to speak about clip ( Clark, 1973 ; Traugott, 1978 ) , Boroditsky nevertheless is concerned about facets of our construct of clip that are non discernible in the universe, e.g. , if clip moves horizontally or vertically, frontward or back, left or right, or up and down. Gentner et Al. ( 2002 ) in his paper on clip metaphors investigates the psychological position of these metaphors by inquiring topics to transport out temporal illations stated in footings of spacial metaphors. They found that topics were slowed in their processing when the averments shifted from one spacial metaphoric system to the other. The consequences suggest that our representation of clip is structured in portion by online structural analogies with the more concrete and experiential sphere of infinite. Harmonizing to Birth ( 2004 ) ‘time is a cardinal dimension of human experience, but its survey nowadayss particular challenges, including the methodological jobs of how to acquire people to speak about clip and how to acknowledge discourse and actions that reveal cultural constructs of clip ‘ . The ethnographic literature on clip is unluckily rather modest, despite the importance of clip in societal and cultural theory ( Munn, 1992 ) .
Contrary to literature on clip, research on linguistic communication is one of the chief subjects in a field of psychological science, linguistics, cognitive scientific discipline, educational enquiry, neuroscience, descriptive anthropology, sociolinguistics, sociology and semiologies ( Ellis, 2009 ) . There are different versions of the thesis that natural linguistic communication is involved in human thought. There is a position that linguistic communication is conceptually necessary for idea ( endorsed by many philosophers ) and the position that linguistic communication is the medium of all human conceptual thought ( endorsed by many philosophers and societal scientists ) ( Carruthers, 2002 ) . Carruthers argues that linguistic communication is required for certain sorts of idea ; non that linguistic communication is involved in or is the representational vehicle of those ideas. He besides proposes, that idea is conceptually independent of natural linguistic communication, and that ideas of many types can really happen in the absence of linguistic communication. This leaves open the possibility that some types of idea might affect linguistic communication, given the manner in which human knowledge is structured. The past decennary has seen a host of clever presentations corroborating that linguistic communication so plays a causal function in determining knowledge. Surveies have shown that altering how people talk changes how they think ( Boroditsky, 2011 ) .
A good manner to happen out if it ‘s true is to analyze bilinguals, what Boroditsky did in this paper. Surveies have shown that bilinguals change how they see the universe depending on which linguistic communication they are talking ( Boroditsky, 2011 ) . It besides changes their personality. In a survey by Chen and Bond ( 2010 ) bilinguals exhibited different forms of personality, each associated with one of their two linguistic communications and the ethnicity of their middlemans. They suggested that usage of a 2nd linguistic communication accesses the sensed cultural norms of the group most associated with that linguistic communication. The findings demonstrated that crosslanguage differences do truly be on some personality dimensions.
Boroditsky ( 2009 ) is confident that people who speak different linguistic communications do so believe otherwise and that even turn of grammar can deeply impact how we see the universe and how we describe events. Bilingualism exerts its consequence on literacy acquisition through a assortment of factors and fortunes that must be accounted for separately in understanding how people become literate in their two linguistic communications and how geting abstract constructs requires experience with linguistic communication.