The Influence of Language on Perception of the World

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The influence of language is on how we subdivide realities into categories and label them further. People who speak different languages are bound to think differently of different situations. Small aspects of grammar are very likely to have an impact on how we view the world. Languages are gifts that are unique and are central to human experiences (Blyth, 2012, p. 71). Language is extremely important to for human experiences that it's extremely hard to think about how life would be without languages. This paper is a summary of a past essay written as a contribution to the debate on whether the language one speaks influences their perception of the world.

The paper by House (2014), states that there are three types of translation in existence. These include transmutation, rewording, and proper translation. Transmutation involves interpretation of signs made verbally using nonverbal sign systems, signs. Rewording involves interpretation of signs made verbally by putting into use different signs. These signs must, however, be of the same language. Proper translation involves, interpretation of signs made verbally using some other different languages.

In the intralingua translation of words, other words that are either less or more synonymous with nature are used. Synonymy is however not complete equals. Many at times, translation of one language to another different language, tends to change entire messages. For example, when translating reported speech, translators record and pass through messages gotten from other sources. This, therefore, means that translation involves similar messages in codes that are different.

It's impossible for linguists to interpret linguistic specimen before the first translation of signs into different signs of the same system. When comparing different languages, the languages need to be keenly looked into regarding how translatable they are and the practices of multilingual communication that are common between the two languages. Different grammars distinct to different languages help in differentiating and bringing together different languages. This is through removing of limits and picking of concepts of grammar.

Translation theories and practices from time to time try to destroy the Gordian knot by recognizing the beliefs of how different untranslatable languages are (Munday, 2016). Faculties in charge of speaking different languages are in charge of talking about the different languages. There are faculties in charge of specific languages. These faculties redefine and revise the languages used in different languages. At times when deficiencies exist, terminologies may be amplified and qualified through semantic shifts or loan translations by use of circumlocutions.

During translation, when the language which a translation is being done into lacks devices of grammar, translations of the original language literally, are made impossible. When some categories of drama aren’t present in one given language that is due for translation, translations here can be done by applying lexical means  (JAKOBSON, n.d.). For example during translation of a sentence in English like, "he has sisters"to a different language which doesn't put into consideration pluralism and duality, translators are forced to make their own decisions on different statements or better still let the listeners make their conclusions. Also, when trying to translate languages that lack grammatical numbers into English, the translators will be required to pick from the two possibilities that are "sister"or "sisters"or to provide the listeners with choices.

Grammatical patterns of languages determine the aspects of different experiences that have to be brought out in the language provided. When translating an English sentence, a Russian translator would be required to dig deeper and look for extra information for accurate translation. Languages are bound to be different in terms of what they are meant to convey and not in what they may bring about. Different verbs in different languages bring about certain no or yes questions. The attention of native listeners and speakers will naturally be focused on those items that are compulsory for different verbal codes.

Different syntaxes of different languages treat objects differently.  In the English language, there are some nouns like bean which are countable and can be pluralized into beans. Other nouns are mass, and can’t be pluralized. For example, there can`t be two rices, but rice can be quantified in terms of cups. There are other languages like the Japan language which can’t make this distinction. In place of the above, all nouns use classifiers like cupof. People may at times easily create sensations in their minds and mental pictures that otherwise would be impossible to describe by use of words.

Different languages have different requirements for their native speakers. As a result of these, it`s necessary for native speakers of different languages encode different aspects of the world. This is essential if they have to use their languages properly. The scholars who believe in multilingual differences agree on that different people pay attention to different things. If different people paid attention to the same things learning of new languages would be much easier.

There are numerous different arguments on whether languages shape thoughts across the world. Some arguments are for languages shaping thoughts globally and others for languages not being able to shape thoughts. Native speakers of different languages rely on their spatial knowledge to build representations that are more complex. Representations of things like kinship relations, musical pitch, emotions, and morality have been shown to be dependent on our thoughts about space.

People have different ideas of time across different languages. Taking an example of speakers of the English language, they talk about time with the use of spatial metaphors that are horizontal for example, "The best is ahead of us, the worst is behind us". In contrast to these those who speak Mandarin have a metaphor for the time that is vertical. For example, the coming month is referred to as the "down month", while, the past month is referred to as "up month". Basic aspects of how time is perceived are also affected by languages. For example speakers of the English language talk about durations in terms of length, while speakers of the Spanish language will talk about durations in terms of amount.

It is possible to think of things that lack specific words for them. For example colors. Across the world, there are numerous colors many of which lack names. For instance, when blue paint is added mixed with red paint bit by bit there are gradual color changes with time. Our languages aren't however as continuous as the color spectrums. Our languages will only allow us to break these color spectrums into purple and red. Hence, our languages affect how we put different things into groups.

Languages depend in a small way on patterns of grammar. This is because definitions of our experiences complement operations that are metalinguistic. When assumptions are made of cognitive data that is not translatable, contradictions of terms arise. However, in magic dreams and in what could be referred to as daily verbal mythology categories in grammar carry semantic imports that are big. Grammar categories like grammatical gender which many at times are said to be formal play big roles in the mythological attitudes of a speech community. For example like in Russia masculinity can't specify feminism nor can feminism specify masculinity. The metaphorical interpretation of nouns is normally pushed by the different genders.

Tests conducted in the Moscow Institute of psychology indicated that the Russians could easily personify weekdays. The Russians recognize weekdays like Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are feminine. This is in ignorance of the fact that this distribution had initially been done based on the first three weekdays being masculine. Translators face big challenges in the preservation of symbolism for the two genders. In poetry, verbal quotations are important parts of texts. Morphological and syntactic categories, affixes and roots and all other parts that form verbal codes are juxtaposed, confronted and brought into contiguous relation in line with the principles of contrast and similarity and carry their autonomous signification.


Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M., Frith, L. and Jones, C., 2012. Donor-conceived people's views and experiences of their genetic origins: a critical analysis of the research evidence. Journal of law and medicine, 19(4), p.769.

House, J., 2014. Translation quality assessment: Past and present. In Translation: A Multidisciplinary Approach (pp. 241-264). Palgrave Macmillan UK.


             Munday, J., 2016. Introducing translation studies: Theories and applications, s.l.: Routledege.

December 12, 2023

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