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Lera Boroditsky (UC San Diego)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 4:00 P.M.
Computer Science and Engineering Building (CSE) 1202 on the UCSD campus

Talk was not filmed at speaker’s request.

Abstract:

How Languages Change the Way We Think and How to Think About Changing Language

Languages are vastly complex, structured, human-made cultural objects that we use for communication and thinking. There are about 7000 languages spoken around the world, each different from the next in innumerable ways. And languages are living things, they are constantly changing. Many changes are gradual and go largely unnoticed, while others are controversial and meet with a lot of resistance. Does changing the way people talk change the way they think? If we want to create or spread particular patterns of thought, what are the ways we might go about changing the way we talk? I’ll discuss the complexity of the relationship between language and thinking and why many first-pass approaches to shifting language might not work.

Biography:

Lera Boroditsky is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego and Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology. She previously served on the faculty at MIT and at Stanford. Her research is on the relationships between mind, world, and language (or how humans get so smart).

She has been named one of 25 Visionaries changing the world by the Utne Reader, and is also a Searle Scholar, a McDonnell scholar, recipient of an NSF Career award, and an APA Distinguished Scientist lecturer. She once used the Indonesian exclusive “we” correctly before breakfast, and was proud of herself about it all day.

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