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Language and Multilingual Cognition

Erasmus Student: Batrin Cezar Emanuel

University: Instituto Superior Miguel Torga, Coimbra, Portugal.
Subject: Cognição e Linguagem

Part A – Cognition and Language
(language and thought; thinking tools;…)
Part B – Multilingual Cognition
Part C - References
Part A
1.0 Language and thought

The statement that a person's language influences what you are experiencing or thinking
about the world is known as linguistics relative hypothesis or linguistic relativism. People could
agree that two languages differ in a way, or that two groups are involved in a fairly diverse form
of reasoning but disagree on whether the difference is large enough to matter. Take concepts, for
example. Some concepts are more important to our thinking than others. For example, our
concepts of causality, physical object, person, space, and color are more important to our
thinking than our concepts of tree, car and a table. More interesting variants of relativity involve
more than the past. Such debates meet with those who see a glass half full of those who see the
same glass as empty.
There are about four people today in thousands of languages, each quote from many others.
Differences are particularly pronounced among the languages of different families. Many
thinkers have suggested that great differences in language lead to great dimensions of experience
or thought. They may even consider that each language embodies a vision of the world, with
quite different languages incorporating many different visions, so that different language
speakers think about the world of language and the multilingual knowledge of the world in quite
different ways. Interesting variants of the linguistic relativity hypothesis incorporate experiences:
I Linguistic diversity: Languages can be substantially different from the other.
II Linguistic Influence on Thought: The characteristics of a person's language influence the
way they think and they influence it systematically.
As a first approximation, we can think of language as an independent variable and cognition as a
dependent variable. We need to replace these general notions with more detailed features of
language and thinking.
Let’s talk about the Variables in Language. We have the dependent ones and we have the
Languages can be in grammar or syntax. Many previous discussions of the linguistic relativity
hypothesis focused on independent grammatical and lexicon variables.
To make a simple example, the typical word order may vary between languages. In English,
common order is subject, verb, object. In Japanese is subject, object, verb. In Welsh is verb,
subject, object. And there are many subtle grammar differences between languages. It should be
noted that grammar does not mean prescriptive grammar learned in foreign language school, but
the syntactic structure of a language.

Different languages have different languages (vocabulary, approximate), and different language
lexicons can classify things in different ways. For example, the language lexicons of some pairs
of languages segment the color spectrum in different locations.

Different languages might have different semantic features (over and above differences in lexical
And, what I think to be one of the most important INDEPENDENT VARIABLE – is Metaphor,
which can be described as figure of speech that refers, for rhetorical effect, to one thing by
mentioning another thing. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two


Language could influence many different aspects of thinking. Most empirical works have
appropriately focused on those aspects of knowledge that are easier to evaluate without relying
on language. Frequently studied cognitive frequencies include perceptual discrimination,
memory availability and classification. We also need to ask whether the elements of mother
tongue influence judgment and decision-making, problem solving, inductive inference, or
various aspects of social knowledge, for exemple classifying people in terms of different traits or
explaining behavior more by quoting traits or situations.
Differences in language could also be more general thinking styles. Again, some recently
recognized theoreticians of bilingual language and cognition have proposed knowledge accounts
in two processes. The master develops this distinction in a different way, but the basic idea is
that human beings have two quite different cognitive subsystems (or two types of subsystems).
There is an "explicit" subsystem that is largely conscious, symbolic, verbal, regular, serial,
flexible and capable of reflection. But there is also a "default" subsystem that is largely
unconscious, associative, impulsive, an effect, and that automatically responds to stimuli.
For example, some features of the syntax or lexicon might exert a causal influence on certain
aspects of visual perception (for example, the colors we can distinguish), classification (for
example, how we sort things in color) or memory in the long term (for example, which color
differences were most accurate), clearly.

1.1.Thinking Tools
For some reason the idea that the language one speaks affects the way one thinks. For example,
speakers of Dutch, a laguage that uses egocentric relations as well as cardinal directions to locate
things in space and do the same—they point randomly. Ask native German speakers to describe
objects like a bridge in English. Some use terms like elegant , fragile , or slender . Ask the same
of native Spanish speakers. Some use terms like strong , sturdy , or towering.
They tend to group by stuff; They slice the piece of cardboard as often as the plastic box. On the
contrary, speakers of languages, like English, who individualize objects, tend to mix well; they
chose the plastic box. Efects of language have been shown for time as well as space, for color
and shape as well as for substance or and object.
Words select among the many features that act as pointers or filters. Associating words with
object names is more stereotyped and more focused than word association with object images,
perhaps because they are less developed than visual properties inevitably appearing in images of
objects or objects.
Language can do more than selecting functions. Language can favor some features relative to
other types of features. Significantly, the use of language can focus on features such as a function
that is not easily accessible in perception; that is, from the static objects' current views. For
example, when people compared two body images with a highlighted side to see if the same side
was highlighted in both, the reaction time was the fastest for the parts that were perceptually
important; specifically, with a high contur distinctivity. However, when people compared the
name of a body part with the image of a body with a highlighted part, the reaction times were the
fastest that were functional in significance.
If language can select certain features to the detriment of others, it can also be detrimental to it. It
can focus on the mistakes of the task. Things, the most notable examples to be described, provide
an example. Describing the interfaces while you see them can make it more difficult to recognize
Language can go beyond selecting certain features of things and ignoring others. Language can
indicate that something belongs to a category. In one category there are consequences for
relations with other things in the category, as well as for the working relations in the category
with things from other categories. This is obvious in terms of children's performance in matching
groups. Children display an image of a target object and are asked to select two of the two
images of other objects that fit better with, or are, for example, or are identical to the target
object. When children are shown a picture of a bee, for example, and asked to find out what goes
better ant or flower, they choose the flower. They choose the flowerr even when they asked me
to find the same thing as this one. "However, when they showed the image of the bees and asked
to find another sud, they are more likely to choose their ant and less likely to - and choose the
similar theme, flower.
Equally important, language appears to have long-lasting effects in the long run, encouraging
people to participate in certain things, aspects, distinctions and relationships in the world, and to
instill associations, things, aspects, dissensions and relationships that are not directly perceived .
The ability to orientate space in space by speakers of a language that locates in space using an
absolute system (cardinal directions) is an example.
Language is not unitary; has many components of comunication, delicately tangled. However,
other aspects of the language of thinking. The gesture is one of them. Own gestures help
thinking; sitting on his hands interferes with enduring words.
The reading and writing direction refers to a random and arbitrary convention in that many
languages are written from left to right and many others are written from right to left. However,
the writing direction has dramatic effects on thinking. Time is thought to go from left to right by
the speakers of languages that are written and read from right to right and going from right to left
by right-to-left speakers.
Language is a cognitive tool, one of many designed to expand linguistic and bilingual
knowledge, and to promote communication and coordination on which human society is based.
Like other cognitive tools - crayons and paper, computers, abacus, maps, charts, design sketches,
and even the environment around us - language can help thinking. Language encodes,
encapsulates, accentuates, synthesizes, meanings and relationships, and not others. Language can
communicate, perhaps we can direct our own thoughts and actions, guide the thoughts and
actions of others. Frequently, which language codes and stresses is useful, but occasionally what
they ignore might also be useful, true about any adapted or adapted filtering or processing
mechanism. Focusing, filtering, reducing and transforming information has benefits and costs,
depending on the task.
The general statement should be clear so far. Language is one of the multiple tools of thinking, a
set of tools that also includes gestures, diagrams, training in a multitude of skills, such as
counting and arithmetic, and more. Each of them can think in different ways, but not necessarily.
Cognitive means, and specifically language, are not always a good idea. For example, languages
differ a lot in the predominant order of subjects, verbs and objects. However, when asked to
explain how to perform a variety of actions on objects that use only gestures, language speakers
with many different syntactic orders have nevertheless ordered their identities, object-verb-
1.0 Multilingual Cognition

If differences in linguistic representation lead to differences in the knowledge of different

language speakers, what happens to people who know more than one language? Knowing two
languages that conveys two ways to look at the world can cause bilinguals to look at the world
from monolingvi and help them see beyond what is the first language. Bilingualism or
Multilingualism has two possible cognitive outcomes. One is that knowing and using two
languages is an independent knowledge, regardless of the languages involved - the macro level.
An example of this may be to increase metalinguistic awareness.
Another result is the learning of two languages and the cognition due to the characteristics of the
languages involved, and how languages code the given worldview. We can refer to this as the
micro level. For example, suppose a monolingual user of Russian linguistically encodes two
diffrent shades of blue, where a monolingual user of English has one: In this case, a bilingual
who speaks both English and Russian may distinguish twocolors that monolingual speakers
speak to be one. An English-Dutch bilingual, however, would not be a monolingual English-
language, because these two languages do not have a distinctive clasification of blue.
We talked about outcomes, but at the base, what is multilingual? Well, multilingual is
intuitively, it is the knowledge of several languages, unlike monolingvism, but a scientific
definition seems hard to establish.
So, back to multilingual, not only the researchers of linguistic relativity, but also laity (including
policymakers) seem to think that knowing more languages has positive effects on thinking. The
question then is - how and why is it happening? This section focuses mostly on sequential
bilinguals, those who have learned an additional language once they have already established one
(or more) linguistic systems and related conceptual systems, although the same problems apply
to simultaneous bilingualism. Among non-specialists, there is a widespread opinion that learning
new worldly representations of the world changes the way people think about them. For a long
time it has been a popular opinion that learning another language "open mind" or "widening the
horizon". Traditionally, this has been considered as an effect of Latin and Greek learning.
The first possibility is that learning another language has no conception and effect. New
language elements - whether lexical labels or grammar rules - are learners, and communication
with users of another language is done without any conceptual change. You may learn to
communicate in another language without changing your concepts. In the case of the
monolingual Bible, then only in the way they think of reality encodes it for speech, that is,
thinking-for-speech not the way they think.
What about a second language? Research shows that very young children who are taught a new
label develop a new concept that does not exist in their linguistic community, some scientists
talked to 18-month-old English-speaking children, a toke, which is a rigid form, like in Korean
Kkita, showing action videos ending with two objects that are in contact. This tag is the new
concept of "close contact" that is not represented in English and which reduces the interruptions
of English speakers because it is used regardless of whether the objects are "in" or "on" each
other. After seeing only a few events, the children could, when they asked, put two objects,
showing that they had the toke concept or that they were in close contact.
Some experimental evidence comes from research that used artificial language learning tasks:
The results show that adults can learn new concepts by exposing themselves to another language.
These findings are quickly learned, a factual performance on non-linguistic cognitivetas, and can
be learned both from the new words and from the new grammatical morphological and syntactic
rules, as well as from other elements of language, such as metaphors.
In another experiment, some English adults learnt a micro-artificial language that divides nouns
between classes, one for nouns for men and certain objects, the other fornouns for females and
other objects. Later, the participants rated the goals more similar to men or men and described
some objects with several male adjectives and other objects with several femi-nine adjectives,
depending on the fact that their nouns were "oozative" or "speakers native languages have such
classes of nouns. Why is another language affects cognition? A problem is the "coding" of
concepts. Some concepts are "lexicalised" (expressed in a vocabulary element) or "grammatical"
(expressed in a syntax or morphology element) in one language but not in another language. This
does not mean that people can not know about these concepts in all languages, but in one
language, conceptlabel is immediately available as a single lexical element.

Languages can segment a continuum into different categories to indicate the labeling of
different categories within the color spectrum or salty degrees; speakers of two languages could
therefore classify the same experiences (such as two shades of color or two savory tastes) as
being identical in one language or belonging to two different categories in the other. For
example, since the Italian has a label for "blue sky" (azzurro) and English not, English students
of the Italian language are exposed to a new idea in a new word. Languages can also create
categories that are purely linguistic, for example, a category that includes fire, dangerous things.


1. Perhaps the most widely studied areas in multilingual cognition are motion events, for
example in relation to verbs and adjuncts. Temporal representations have also been
studied, in relation to time metaphors and to verb morphology.
2. Taste concepts have also been investigated. As there are primary colors, so there are basic
tastes, but while in western languages these are ‘sweet’,‘salty’,‘bitter’, and ‘sour’, the
Chinese and Japanese languages also label another taste concept called umami in
Japanese . This combines attributes of savoriness and meaty taste, as found for instance in
soy sauce, parmesan cheese, and Marmite. Cross-linguistic studies found differences in
the perception of umami . One study showed that English speakers can learn the Japanese
concept of umami by exposure to linguistic definition and actual food samples, and that
learning this new lexical item affects their food categorization

Multilingualism can affect concepts and categorization of entities such as artifacts,

animals, natural kinds, and abstract entities.

4. Reasoning, and we have here mathematical reasoning, causal reasoning and so on.

Let’s talk about color perception in multilingual cases. Color and multilingual cognition suggest
that different speakers of different languages evaluate perceptual contrasts, in particular, share
the specific partitions of reality. Initial empirical studies have shown that Zuni's speakers, a
language that does not lexically separate the "yellow" and "yellow" colors, but instead uses only
one term to describe them, does not distinguish the two colors as precisely or as often as the
English in tasks. Berlin and Kay found that participants from various linguistic and cultural
environments presented color names like English and prototype identification. They have taken
this proof of universality, despite the fact that previous research has already shown that acquiring
another language can lead to a change in identification and identification of the prototype.

Theory of Mind in Multilingual USERS or more about the possession of ToM permits us to
reason about the mental states of others—their beliefs, desires, and intentions—and to
understand and anticipate how these can differ from our own and from reality. A lack of ToM
would be a formidable obstacle to all sophisticated forms of human social interaction. Without
the recognition that our beliefs and those of others can be true or false, it would very often be
impossible to avoid misunderstandings and to overcome conflict. There have been a number of
studies that indicate that children's answers to ToM test questions on issues of location change
and changed content are influenced by linguistic and cultural factors that can accelerate or delay
their performance in confidence, although perhaps not the competence their base. Moreover,
research has begun to emerge suggesting that bilingual children exposed to two languages in the
early years exhibit advanced performances of ToM's false faith tasks compared to their
monolingual counterparts.
Other research from the area of cognitive neuroscience has used fMRI to explore neural
systems involved in bilinguals’ performance on ToM tasks with the finding that individual
patterns of brain activation on ToM reasoning tasks are associated with language/culture.
Multilinugalism and Emotions
There is an increasing interdependence and connectivity between the people and nations of the
world which has led to a greater amount of communication across cultures and languages.
Multilingualism, the use of two languages on a regular basis, has become increasingly common
in today world. But what effect, if any, does bilingualism have on the memory and emotions of
individuals? How does knowledge of multiple languages in fluence the perception of language?
Is there an inter-action between personality factors and language?
The way of using language over a lifetime is what determines language domination in bilingual.
Some bilinguals separate their languages and prefer language depending on the environment they
are in or the ones they speak with. This pattern of use will most likely lead to a clear preference
for a language and the development of a dominant language. Limiting dominance can have a
great impact on studies using emotionally-charged words, because bilinguals can activate
emotional associations of words in their dominant language more strongly than words in their
non-dominant language.
A few scientist used the Emotional Stroop Task to investigate bilingual participants for
dfferences in processing emotion words. The Emotional Stroop Task is similar to the traditional
Stroop Task in which participants report the color of a word while ignoring the meaning of the
word, which labels a color (e.g., the word red appears in blue ink, and the correct response is to
say ‘blue’ aloud). A Stroop efect is exhibited when participants take longer to report the color of
a word when there is a mismatch between the color the word appears in and the color the word
labels, in comparison to when these two factors are matched (Stroop, 1935). While the task is the
same, the words in the Emotional Stroop Task do not label colors, but instead have emotional
definitions and associations. Again, Bilingualism and the impact of emotion 455 participants are
to report the color of emotional and neutral words instead of the actual words (e.g., reporting that
the words grief or seat appear in the color red). Emotional associations tend to have an
interference effect and result in an increase in the time required for the color-naming task similar
to the interference found in a traditional Stroop Task.
Sutton sampled Spanish–English bilinguals. Participants were proficient in English and Spanish
and used English more often in daily speaking. The Affective Norms for English Words
(ANEW) database was used to select negative emotion words with low valence and high arousal
ratings (e.g., nervous ,fear , and angry ). As defined by Bradley and Lang (1999), valence is a
measure of the strength hand direction of the emotional charge of words (low ratings indicate
negative emotional associations, moderate ratings indicate few emotional associations, and high
ratings indicate positive emotional associations).Arousal is a rating of the amount of excitement
and energy associated with words (low ratings indicating lower levels of associated excitement
and high ratings indicating higher associated excitement). Neutral words were selected from a
list of boat parts (e.g., engine , boom , and propeller ).Emotion and neutral words were matched
on frequency and length. The participants viewed emotion and neutral words in both English and
Spanish. The words were presented in either blue or green, and participants made a key press to
indicate word color. The authors found evidence of interference for emotion words on the
Emotional Stroop Task in bilinguals. Emotion words captured attention regardless of the
language in which they appeared. Furthermore, participants were able to respond significantly
faster when the words were presented in English.

In conclusion, the research on Multilingual Cognition is still on the way, and there are many new
thing to find out and many studies to be done. But we can say that multilingual persons can view
the world much – much better and clearly then the single language speakers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_order //
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