11 September 2015

from Lawrence, SATURDAY (SEPT) PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The effect of global English on our thinking

Dear friends,

This Saturday we are discussing: The effect of global English on our
thinking. You remember that for September we meet on Saturdays at the
Centro Segoviano at 6:30pm.

Lola has kindly sent us her thoughts on the topic:


The effect of global english on our thinking

The English language is everyday more and more useful and sometimes a
primary need to be able to communicate with in almost all areas of our
present life.

However we must think that it is not without a price to focus ourselves
on learning and speaking this language for several reasons.

The other day some friend of mine who are English by birth told me
about the bad quality of this language when it´s exclusively used for
work reasons by non native speaking people.

Lack of time and need to act do not sometimes are not compatible with
the pleasure of learning Shakespeare´s rich language, as it is said.

There is a bit of confusion when you see people from almost two hundred
countries speaking English with different accents and different
mentalities, so it´s been necessary to adjust to a pattern of standard
English which we would say is one of the forms E.L. takes. So, a
different language has been born and more and more, people don´t care if
it´s not real British or U.S. or Australian and so.

However, as it happened in the past with Greek and Latin, our minds are
rapidly changing, some of the anglosaxon spirit has penetrated into our
neurons and it is partly the effect provoked in our minds turning into
more and more anglo´s thinking.

I think this civilization belongs to English trained minds, and it´s
also a leading mind of the technological wave we´re into.

We deny the evidence and trying to protect our culture of origin use
the E.L. in a degrading way, (only for practical reasons).

Despite that, today with our level of E.L., we even dream in English: I
mean, whenever we remember a dream in which a conversation has taken
place with a native speaker, in the fictional space of our brains,
subliminally, we talk English.

Lola. 10-09-2015

And a few ideas from me:

English is by far the most important language spoken as a foreign
language. Some might take a political perspective and argue that the
influence of the British Empire followed by the American empire makes it
natural that English should be a dominant international language. This
would be something very similar to Latin during the dark and middle ages.

This might explain the circumstances of why English became a dominant
language, but it does not tell us anything about how it affects our
thinking. Except that the term "affects our thinking" is a bit vague.
Indeed, "how does language affects our thinking" is a huge debate in
linguistics, psychology and philosophy, but how English affects our
thinking assumes that language affects our thinking in a causal way. One
of the leading researchers on the subject is Keith Chen who gave a brief
TED talk called: Could your language affect your ability to save money?
He's got an interesting theory about how language affects our thinking,
but I think he fails to explain a causal link.

However, it is far from certain that language, and especially English in
our case, affects our thinking causally or circumstantially. But,
surely, for a language to affect our thinking it suggests that language
has a dominant relationship to our thinking; I personally doubt it. I
doubt that, especially today when we accept that language is a public
phenomenon. In other words, I am more inclined that thinking came first
and that thinking affects our language and not the other way round.

I am therefore more inclined to believe that language leads us
circumstantially to influence our thinking. Language gives us an
efficient way to communicate with our neighbours and strangers in our
society thus we are more likely to use language that has evolved for our
surroundings. Hence English would be a very suitable language to use
amongst a large section of the world's population who happen to speak in
various degrees of accuracy, the same language.

And the way English changes our thinking is by giving us access to a
more varied base of information and knowledge. We'll have more insight
into different people and their experiences and culture. The only caveat
to this is that we can benefit from using one of the widest used
languages not because we speak this language but we want to have direct
access to many other people in the world than just our compatriots.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h

from Lawrence, SATURDAY (SEPT) PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The effect
of global English on our thinking

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