I am excited to be giving a public talk on language for Funzing Singapore next month. Hope to see you there!
Does your language influence—or even control—your very thoughts? Join us for a scintillating night as we delve deep into the spookier aspects of language. You’ll never think about language the same way again…
In this talk we’ll look at how much we rely on our language to frame our understanding of the world. You’ll be surprised to see how different languages choose to express or emphasise seemingly basic aspects of experience like gender, direction and colour!
Some languages, including Classical Chinese, lack separate words for ‘blue’ and ‘green’. Meanwhile, Eskimos are said to have dozens of words for snow. What do we make of these oddities?
Do differences in our words reflect differences in thought? In other words, do speakers of Chinese view the world differently from speakers of English, Malay, Tamil, and other languages of the world—or do we all talk differently but think somewhat the same?
What would happen if people purposely changed the language we use? Would they be able to improve or impair our thinking as in the film Arrival or the novel 1984? Examining insights from research on ‘linguistic relativity’ and examples from literature and popular culture, we’ll uncover just how much our words affect our lives!
Distrii (a co-working space at 9 Raffles Place, Republic Plaza, 048619)
Date / Time
Tuesday 7th August, 7 p.m. (Talk starts at 7.30 p.m.)
After I bought a Samsung S7 from a friend, I immediately bought a rubbery (thermoplastic polyurethane) case for it at the nearest mobile phone accessory kiosk. (Throw a rock in any direction in downtown Singapore and you’ll hit ten such kiosks.)
People who sell drinks near where people work or relax outdoors in the heat have a technique for making their drinks look particularly cold: They put the bottles in the freezer for a while, which in addition to actually making the drinks a bit colder, makes the bottles look nice and frosty when they are taken out.
My Tiger beer frosted itself very thoroughly and automatically as soon as it came into contact with the steamy Singapore air.
Side note: I imagine the stall owners at Newton want to smack whoever bought the first blinking LEDs. That first stall’s obvious advantage kicked off an arms race. The result is that almost all the stalls now have very flashy signs, and none of them stand out. Except maybe the one that has a programmable LED signboard… the arms race continues!