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Through the Language Glass
Why the World Looks Different in Other LanguagesGuy Deutscher
I read this in the International Herald Tribune this morning! Cool article, but not very type related.
"Cool article, but not very type related."
Well language (/culture) and type are quite closely related.
It was the purpose of Newspeak to make thoughtcrime impossible.
-- George Orwell, in 1984.
I grew up in a world where things were just things. I never thought of definite or indefinite articles, because the context of a thing was always clear. And then I started to learn English.
Today, me, and thousands of other younger Poles, speak "this water is too cold" or "take any pen" which are subconscious cliches of English use of "the" and "a". We have adapted a different point of view.
There was a link to the New York Times article from the original page noted, and I found that quite interesting. Old ideas about Italian being musical and German rough had much less to do with the book than the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.
As I find it easier to keep compass points straight than left and right, which just seem so identical, I could relate to the exotic linguistic example they used for much of the article.
I have observed, when looking at various translations of instructions included with some gizmo, that Italian seems to be the briefest and Spanish and German seem to ne vying for the longest. Perhaps this has to do with what is expected to be implicit or explicit; or, maybe not.