22 Jan 2022

Tom Pepinsky: what language do we think in?

From The Weekend , 9:09 am on 22 January 2022

Does the language we speak affect the way we think? The way we act, the way we behave? Can it explain variations in subsets of people? This might seem like an odd question, but it's one with long-standing roots in something called Linguistic Relativity: the extent to which the structure of a language affects its speakers' worldview or cognition.

It's a controversial hypothesis, and one about which Tom Pepinsky has just written an article for Language, a journal of the Linguistic Society of America. Tom is a professor of political science at Cornell University in New York, as well as the director of the University's Southeast Asia programme. 

Student writing Spanish words on blackboard (stock photo).

Photo: 123RF