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Study: Bilinguals See the World in a Different Way

Posted By InCultureParent Staff On March 15, 2011 @ 8:57 am In Blogs | No Comments

The intimate link between culture, language and cognition is once again demonstrated in a new study, using color perception, to test how bilinguals see the world.

One way to test how bilinguals see the world is through color perception. The way languages differentiate color (for ex. Japanese has words for light and dark blue which English does not have) and how bilinguals then differentiate those same colors, gives researchers insight into how differently bilinguals perceive the world than their monolingual counterparts.

Dr Athanasopoulos, whose research is published in the current edition of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, went on to say, “As well as learning vocabulary and grammar you’re also unconsciously learning a whole new way of seeing the world. There’s an inextricable link between language, culture and cognition. If you’re learning language in a classroom you are trying to achieve something specific, but when you’re immersed in the culture and speaking it, you’re thinking in a completely different way.”

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