Understanding Thoughts Through Language

938 Words4 Pages
Christina Kompanijec
English 200
Argumentative essay: draft four

If asked which cognitive ability you would miss the most if it were taken away, the majority of people would respond with the obvious choices of sight or hearing, but how many people would think about our sense of language? Language affects our lives in ways that we do not often realize. In the essay “How Language Shapes Thought” Lera Boroditsky argues that many of our cognitive abilities are enhanced, or hindered depending on the fundamental structure of our system of language. I found that Boroditsky used much of her own research in order to support her claims that direction, time and gender are concepts largely affected by the structural system of our language.
…show more content…
“English speakers given this task will arrange the cards so that time proceeds from left to right. Hebrew speakers will tend to lay out the cards from right to left. This shows that writing direction in a language influences how we organize time” (Boroditsky 64). Similar to time, gender is another concept that is altered by language. Many languages use articles or some other classification to call an object either masculine or feminine. This changes the way that items are viewed or described within a culture, even though a table or pencil is the same regardless of the labels placed on it by humans, our perception of the object is changed by our own words for the object in question.
Many base concepts that we use in our everyday lives to categorize other people and objects are impacted by this idea that Boroditsky is supporting. Boroditsky’s argument for the theory that language alters our perception of the world was well made; she gave clear evidence that supported different parts of her claims. I agree that language has the ability to shape thought and actively alters the understanding that we have over other concepts and objects.

Work Cited
Boroditsky, Lera. "How Language
Get Access