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How Can German Affect Cognition

How Can German Affect Cognition

Moving to Germany I knew I must learn German. Must is a strong word perhaps. Most locals, in Berlin at the very least, speak English pretty well. So while it is not a must for handling daily matters, it is still crucial if one intends to fully integrate into German society and understand the cultural intricacies. Few months of German classes are far from enough to actually start speaking proper German. Yet, this time provided me with enough insight to make some plausible claims about the strong ties between the German language to the cognition of a German-speaking man or woman.

Thought and Language

Before we get to the details of German we first need to establish what is the link between thought and Language, a highly debatable discussion in Philosophy, Linguistic and certain fields of Science.

One way to approach language is to look at it as a representation of our thoughts. With this approach, our thoughts, or rather our entire cognitive array is independent and mirrors something that exists either physically, in potential, or as an idea. Language comes into play as a tool of communication, and using it we can transfer the meaning behind one’s thoughts to another. It does not, however, play a role in shaping the cognition of its speakers, it is quite plainly a tool at our disposal. Phew, alright, that is slightly condensed for this topic, but an example will do a better job explaining this.

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