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About

Travelinguist is a website/blog for language and culture enthusiasts. Language and culture are undeniably intertwined: humans learn language through their culture, meanwhile culture is transmitted through language. 

Language is more than just a means of communication. It influences our culture and even our thought processes. Because language influences culture as a way of thinking, language also profoundly influences the way people see the world. If people learn another language, they inadvertently also learn a new way of looking at the world. When bilingual people switch from one language to another, they start thinking differently, too.
In studies conducted by Caitlin Fausey at Stanford, speakers of English, Spanish and Japanese watched videos of two people popping balloons, breaking eggs and spilling drinks either intentionally or accidentally. Later everyone got a surprise memory test: For each event, can you remember who did it? She discovered a striking cross-linguistic difference in eyewitness memory. Spanish and Japanese speakers did not remember the agents of accidental events as well as did English speakers. Mind you, they remembered the agents of intentional events (for which their language would mention the agent) just fine. But for accidental events, when one wouldn't normally mention the agent in Spanish or Japanese, they didn't encode or remember the agent as well. (You may want to read this too: What happens to the brain when you learn a language?)

When I was a child I wondered why we had so many languages in this world. I thought, "Wouldn't it be easier, cost-efficient, simpler, and more unifying if human beings have only one language spoken worldwide?" However, after reading many articles about the benefits of language learning, I came to realize that our world is a much better place to live in with so many languages around.

I was inspired to document my thoughts on language (and cultural) phenomena after a long scholarly discussion in my Sociolinguistics class. There are language phenomena happening around us every day which can help us understand they way our brain works, unfortunately many of us are not aware of their importance. Those phenomena come and go fast and.....unnoticed. Now imagine how advanced our civilization would be if we made time to capture each phenomenon, ask ourselves Why and How, and then attempt to find the answers. Every answer will lead us to the next question, hypotheses and, ultimately, branches of answers--opening up more doors to what was unimaginable and revealing more facts that we have been oblivious to. 


Like our ancestors who helped advance the ancient civilization, we write to transfer information to the next generation, so that they can improve, expand or perfect the technology and theories we have today. I have so many thoughts yet so little time to write. And if I did not write them down, I would feel like a photographer traveling to an exotic country without a camera......




 

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