Linguistic Relativity

{which blue is blue?}

Did you know that Russians are scientifically faster at distinguishing the color blue than Americans? The explanation for this advantage has its roots in the Russian language. Russian has two words for what english calls blue: goluboy (english: sky blue) and siniy (english: royal blue). Studies suggest this linguistic separation influences the cognitive abilities of the Russian mind. This allows them to actually perceive two different colors, where Americans perceive one.  

Tell me what you speak, and I'll tell you what you see.

Try to convince a Russian that Royal Blue and Sky Blue are both actually just blue and you'll be met with confusion. In comparison, any warm-blooded American would scoff at the notion that blue and green are actually the same color (as the ancient greeks did - they described the oceans as "wine red"). So, what other colors has your language been hiding from you? 

{is that your left or mine?}

Guugu Yimithirr has no word for left or right. This aboriginal language instead utilizes the cardinal directions: North, South, East and West. Instead of describing location based on individual references (left and right) they use the constant cardinal directions - see a comparison below. This means that they never ever in their entire life lose awareness of North, South, East and West - they have a built in compass. The structure of their language dictates how they orient themselves in the world. So, do they see the world differently?

you’ll find the cup just to the right of the red bowl but to the left of the fork.
— English Speaker
you’ll find the cup just to the south of the red bowl but to the north of the fork.
— Guuguu Yimithirr Speaker

 {to see through language}

Lingua Videre means to see through language. This concept in linguistics is known as linguistic relativity. The strong from of the theory, known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, argues that an individual's mother tongue forever colors how they perceive, categorize and understand the world. Although still debated and studied, the actual effects of learning language on our thought process remain an open field. (see video below) 

 {further reading}