Over the years, linguists have observed that some languages have a differing vocabulary for colors, numbers, directions, and more, not to mention variations in structure. Researchers wonder whether or not these differences affect how speakers of these languages view the world.
Yes, language influences worldview
The structure and lexicon of a person's language affects their worldview.
Language dictates worldview
The language a person speaks directly determines their cognition and perception of the world. This can be seen by people not being able to count or learn math because their language lacks words for numbers. This view is also known as linguistic determinism.
The language a person speaks has some effect on their perception of the world such as their ability to identify scents, but it is not wholly responsible. This concept is known as linguistic relativity.
Research on Pirahã and comparisons of the evolutionary trees of several hundred languages have shown worldview shapes languages. Theories such as linguistic relativity have also shown that languages influence our worldview. Therefore, worldview and language reciprocally influence each other.
Worldview shaped languages
Research of the Pirahã people and comparisons of the evolutionary trees of several hundred languages have shown that languages are shaped in culture-specific instead of universal ways.
To distinguish which influenced the other first is a chicken and egg question. Worldview helped shape languages and languages influence our perceptions. Therefore, worldview and language are reciprocally influencing each other.
Language has a minimal effect on worldview. People can think without words and those that all speak the same language do not all share a worldview. Our language can’t control our perceptions or what we think about.
Language has a minimal effect on worldview
Languages have much in common; they share a universal grammar. Additionally, people do think in a specific language. Therefore, language can’t control our perceptions or what we think about.