When we study the impact of our cultural language (Farsi or English, French or German, Arabic, Japanese, etc.), we clearly see the positive and the negative impact of language on the way we think and relate to self and others. My fascination and focus is primarily on this topic because of the enormity of its impact on individuals, humanity and the state of the world!
Lera Boroditsky, a stanford psychology professor and an expert in linguistic cultural connections, notes that in English, we’ll often say that someone broke a vase even if it was an accident, but Spanish and Japanese speakers tend to say that the vase broke itself. Boroditsky describes a study by her student Caitlin Fausey in which English speakers were much more likely to remember who accidentally popped balloons, broke eggs, or spilled drinks in a video than Spanish or Japanese speakers. (Guilt alert!) Not only that, but there’s a correlation between a focus on agents in English and our criminal-justice bent toward punishing transgressors rather than restituting victims, Boroditsky argues.
The impact of language and thought is much greater than we have ever imagined! Language and thought are in fact revolutionary tools of humanity. The funnest part of this is an direct experience that with guided practice we all can change our language and thought and experience a drastic positive impact on quality of day to day life.