08 April 2009

How our language may affect how we think

This feature by Robert Krulwich points to an interesting study by a Stanford professor in which native German and Spanish speakers were asked to give words that describe bridges. The Germans describe used words such as "elegant" and "fragile," while Spanish speakers used words such as "strong" and "sturdy."
Why the difference? The theory of the prof, Lera Boroditsk, is that the German speakers have one image because German noun for "bridge" is feminine, while in Spanish the noun is masculine.
I don't know what to make of the argument, but it is interesting.

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