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  • So, I'll be speaking to you using language ...

    好的,我會運用語言對你們說話

  • because I can.

    因為我會

  • This is one of these magical abilities that we humans have.

    這是我們人類擁有的其中一項神奇能力

  • We can transmit really complicated thoughts to one another.

    我們能夠把複雜的想法傳達給他者

  • So what I'm doing right now is, I'm making sounds with my mouth

    我現在在做的,其實就是在用嘴巴發出聲音

  • as I'm exhaling.

    同時呼氣

  • I'm making tones and hisses and puffs,

    我發出聲調、嘶嘶聲和氣聲

  • and those are creating air vibrations in the air.

    這些都會在空氣中造成空氣震動

  • Those air vibrations are traveling to you,

    這些震動傳達到你

  • they're hitting your eardrums,

    他們到達你的鼓膜

  • and then your brain takes those vibrations from your eardrums

    然後你的大腦透過鼓膜接收到震動

  • and transforms them into thoughts.

    將之轉換為想法

  • I hope.

    我是這樣希望啦!

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • I hope that's happening.

    我希望情況是這樣

  • So because of this ability, we humans are able to transmit our ideas

    因著這項能力,我們人類能夠傳遞想法

  • across vast reaches of space and time.

    穿越時空的疆界

  • We're able to transmit knowledge across minds.

    我們能夠傳遞知識到別人心裡

  • I can put a bizarre new idea in your mind right now.

    我現在就能將一個詭異的新想法植入你的心裡

  • I could say,

    我可以說

  • "Imagine a jellyfish waltzing in a library

    「想像一隻水母在圖書館邊跳華爾滋,

  • while thinking about quantum mechanics."

    邊思考量子力學。」

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Now, if everything has gone relatively well in your life so far,

    嗯,如果目前為止你的人生都還正常

  • you probably haven't had that thought before.

    你應該從沒想過這個

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • But now I've just made you think it,

    但就在剛剛我讓你開始想了

  • through language.

    透過語言

  • Now of course, there isn't just one language in the world,

    當然,那並非全世界唯一一種語言

  • there are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world.

    世界上約有 7,000 個被使用的語言

  • And all the languages differ from one another in all kinds of ways.

    而這所有語言都各自不同

  • Some languages have different sounds,

    有些語言有不同的聲音

  • they have different vocabularies,

    他們有不同的詞彙

  • and they also have different structures --

    也有不同的結構

  • very importantly, different structures.

    不同的結構,這點很重要

  • That begs the question:

    這點出了這道問題:

  • Does the language we speak shape the way we think?

    我們使用的語言是否會形塑我們思考的方式?

  • Now, this is an ancient question.

    這是一個久被探討的問題

  • People have been speculating about this question forever.

    人們總是在探究這個問題

  • Charlemagne, Holy Roman emperor, said,

    神聖羅馬帝國的皇帝查理曼大帝曾說過

  • "To have a second language is to have a second soul" --

    「擁有第二語言就如同擁有第二靈魂。」

  • strong statement that language crafts reality.

    強烈聲明語言能構成現實

  • But on the other hand, Shakespeare has Juliet say,

    但另一方面,莎士比亞的茱麗葉說

  • "What's in a name?

    「名字有何意義?

  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

    玫瑰不叫玫瑰,依然芬芳如故。」

  • Well, that suggests that maybe language doesn't craft reality.

    這又或許聲明了語言不能構成現實

  • These arguments have gone back and forth for thousands of years.

    這些言論在千年之間輾轉輪迴

  • But until recently, there hasn't been any data

    但直到最近為止,還沒有任何資料

  • to help us decide either way.

    能夠幫助我們佐證任一方

  • Recently, in my lab and other labs around the world,

    最近,在我的實驗室以及其他遍佈世界各地的實驗室中

  • we've started doing research,

    我們已經開始研究

  • and now we have actual scientific data to weigh in on this question.

    而現在,我們有了確切的科學數據能夠參與解答這道問題

  • So let me tell you about some of my favorite examples.

    讓我來告訴你們一些我最喜歡的例子

  • I'll start with an example from an Aboriginal community in Australia

    我會從這個例子開始,我曾經有幸能夠

  • that I had the chance to work with.

    和澳洲一個原住民部落一起工作

  • These are the Kuuk Thaayorre people.

    這些是 Kuuk Thaayorre 族人

  • They live in Pormpuraaw at the very west edge of Cape York.

    他們居住在 Pormpuraaw ,位於約克角的最西邊

  • What's cool about Kuuk Thaayorre is,

    有關 Kuuk Thaayorre 族很酷的一點是

  • in Kuuk Thaayorre, they don't use words like "left" and "right,"

    在他們的語言裡,並沒有「左」和「右」這類詞彙

  • and instead, everything is in cardinal directions:

    取而代之地,所有東西都是用方位標明:

  • north, south, east and west.

    北、南、東、西

  • And when I say everything, I really mean everything.

    我指的所有東西真的就是所有東西

  • You would say something like,

    你可能會說這類的話

  • "Oh, there's an ant on your southwest leg."

    「噢,在你的西南腳上有一隻螞蟻。」

  • Or, "Move your cup to the north-northeast a little bit."

    或「把你的杯子往北北東移一點。」

  • In fact, the way that you say "hello" in Kuuk Thaayorre is you say,

    事實上在 Kuuk Thaayorre 語中,你說「你好」的方式是

  • "Which way are you going?"

    「你要去哪裡?」

  • And the answer should be,

    回答可能是

  • "North-northeast in the far distance.

    「遙遠的北北東方,

  • How about you?"

    你呢?」

  • So imagine as you're walking around your day,

    所以想像看看,當你走來走去時

  • every person you greet,

    每遇到一個你打招呼的人

  • you have to report your heading direction.

    你都必須回答你正前往的方向

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • But that would actually get you oriented pretty fast, right?

    但那其實可以幫助你迅速找到方向感,對吧?

  • Because you literally couldn't get past "hello,"

    因為要是你不知道你要走的方向

  • if you didn't know which way you were going.

    你根本無法回答別人的問好

  • In fact, people who speak languages like this stay oriented really well.

    事實上,這類語言的使用者擁有很好的方向感

  • They stay oriented better than we used to think humans could.

    他們擁有更好的定位能力,比我們過去以為人類所能達到的還要好

  • We used to think that humans were worse than other creatures

    我們過去因著一些生理原因

  • because of some biological excuse:

    以為人類比其他生物都要遜色

  • "Oh, we don't have magnets in our beaks or in our scales."

    「噢,我們沒有帶有磁力的喙或是鱗片呀。」

  • No; if your language and your culture trains you to do it,

    不,若是你的語言及你的文化訓練你

  • actually, you can do it.

    你實際上辦得到

  • There are humans around the world who stay oriented really well.

    世界上有很多方向感很好的人類

  • And just to get us in agreement

    為了讓大家都知道

  • about how different this is from the way we do it,

    這跟我們習慣的有多不一樣

  • I want you all to close your eyes for a second

    我想要你們全都閉上眼睛

  • and point southeast.

    然後指出東南方

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Keep your eyes closed. Point.

    閉上眼睛。指出來

  • OK, so you can open your eyes.

    好,現在睜開眼

  • I see you guys pointing there, there, there, there, there ...

    看得出你們有些人指這裡、那裡,還有好多不同方向

  • I don't know which way it is myself --

    我自己其實也不知道到底是哪裡

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • You have not been a lot of help.

    你們沒幫上什麼忙啊

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • So let's just say the accuracy in this room was not very high.

    那我們就說這間房裡的人們方位精確程度不是很高

  • This is a big difference in cognitive ability across languages, right?

    不同語言之間的感知能力還真是不一樣,是吧?

  • Where one group -- very distinguished group like you guys --

    對於一群人來說,比如你們特定一群

  • doesn't know which way is which,

    並不知道哪個方位是哪裡

  • but in another group,

    但對於另一群人

  • I could ask a five-year-old and they would know.

    一個五歲小朋友都知道答案

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • There are also really big differences in how people think about time.

    人們對時間的認知也有很多差異

  • So here I have pictures of my grandfather at different ages.

    這些是我祖父在不同年齡時的照片

  • And if I ask an English speaker to organize time,

    若是我要一個英語使用人士按時間排列

  • they might lay it out this way,

    他們或許會按這個順序排列

  • from left to right.

    由左到右

  • This has to do with writing direction.

    這是和寫字方向有關

  • If you were a speaker of Hebrew or Arabic,

    要是你是一個希伯來語或是阿拉伯語使用者

  • you might do it going in the opposite direction,

    你或許會用相反的方向排

  • from right to left.

    由右到左

  • But how would the Kuuk Thaayorre,

    但如果是 Kuuk Thaayorre 族人

  • this Aboriginal group I just told you about, do it?

    這個我剛和你們介紹的原住民族群呢?

  • They don't use words like "left" and "right."

    他們不用「左」和「右」這類的字

  • Let me give you hint.

    讓我給你點提示

  • When we sat people facing south,

    當我們讓人面向南方

  • they organized time from left to right.

    他們由左至右排列時間順序

  • When we sat them facing north,

    當他們面向北邊時

  • they organized time from right to left.

    他們由右至左排列

  • When we sat them facing east,

    當他們面向東方時

  • time came towards the body.

    時間是朝向身體

  • What's the pattern?

    模式是什麼?

  • East to west, right?

    由東至西,對吧?

  • So for them, time doesn't actually get locked on the body at all,

    所以對他們而言,時間軸並非依據身體

  • it gets locked on the landscape.

    而是依據地景

  • So for me, if I'm facing this way,

    對我來說,要是我朝這邊

  • then time goes this way,

    時間軸就是這樣

  • and if I'm facing this way, then time goes this way.

    若是我朝這邊,時間就是這樣

  • I'm facing this way, time goes this way --

    朝這邊,時間就是這樣

  • very egocentric of me to have the direction of time chase me around

    我每轉身一次,就要時間軸跟著我轉

  • every time I turn my body.

    這樣還頗自我中心主義的

  • For the Kuuk Thaayorre, time is locked on the landscape.

    對於 Kuuk Thaayorre 族來說,時間軸是依據地景

  • It's a dramatically different way of thinking about time.

    這是一個非常不一樣的時間思考方式

  • Here's another really smart human trick.

    下面是另一個非常聰明的人類技巧

  • Suppose I ask you how many penguins are there.

    假設我問你這裡有幾隻企鵝

  • Well, I bet I know how you'd solve that problem if you solved it.

    我想我知道你如何解答,要是你已經完成了

  • You went, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight."

    你數,「一、二、三、四、五、六、七、八」

  • You counted them.

    你數出他們

  • You named each one with a number,

    你用數字命名每一個

  • and the last number you said was the number of penguins.

    你最後一個講到的數字就是企鵝的數量

  • This is a little trick that you're taught to use as kids.

    這是你還是小孩時就被教導的技巧

  • You learn the number list and you learn how to apply it.

    你學習數字順序,你學習如何應用

  • A little linguistic trick.

    一個小小的語言技巧

  • Well, some languages don't do this,

    但有些語言不會那麼做

  • because some languages don't have exact number words.

    因為有些語言沒有確切的數字詞彙

  • They're languages that don't have a word like "seven"

    這些語言有些沒有「七」這個字

  • or a word like "eight."

    或是「八」

  • In fact, people who speak these languages don't count,

    事實上,這些語言的使用者不數數

  • and they have trouble keeping track of exact quantities.

    他們就沒辦法計算確切的數量

  • So, for example, if I ask you to match this number of penguins

    所以,舉例來說,要是我要你們把這些數量的企鵝

  • to the same number of ducks,

    對應到一樣多的鴨子

  • you would be able to do that by counting.

    你可以透過數數辦到

  • But folks who don't have that linguistic trick can't do that.

    但是沒有這種語言技巧的人就辦不到

  • Languages also differ in how they divide up the color spectrum --

    區別顏色光譜的方式也因語言而異

  • the visual world.

    也就是視覺世界

  • Some languages have lots of words for colors,

    有些語言有很多顏色詞彙

  • some have only a couple words, "light" and "dark."

    有些只有一些字,「亮」和「暗」

  • And languages differ in where they put boundaries between colors.

    分隔顏色的方法因語言而不同

  • So, for example, in English, there's a word for blue

    舉個例子,在英語有「藍色 (blue)」這個字

  • that covers all of the colors that you can see on the screen,

    涵蓋了你在銀幕上能看到的所有顏色

  • but in Russian, there isn't a single word.

    但在俄語中,並不只有一個字

  • Instead, Russian speakers have to differentiate

    取而代之,俄語使用者必須分別

  • between light blue, "goluboy,"

    亮藍色 (goluboy)

  • and dark blue, "siniy."

    和暗藍色 (siniy)

  • So Russians have this lifetime of experience of, in language,

    所以俄語使用者終其一生都在經歷

  • distinguishing these two colors.

    利用語言區別這兩類顏色

  • When we test people's ability to perceptually discriminate these colors,

    當我們測驗人們憑感覺區別這些顏色的能力時

  • what we find is that Russian speakers are faster

    我們發現俄語使用者

  • across this linguistic boundary.

    在這方面比較迅速

  • They're faster to be able to tell the difference

    他們判斷亮藍和暗藍

  • between a light and dark blue.

    的速度比較快

  • And when you look at people's brains as they're looking at colors --

    而要是你在他們觀察顏色時看他們的腦部活動

  • say you have colors shifting slowly from light to dark blue --

    假設你讓顏色慢慢從亮藍變到暗藍

  • the brains of people who use different words for light and dark blue

    會使用不同詞彙表示亮藍和暗藍的語言使用者的腦部

  • will give a surprised reaction as the colors shift from light to dark,

    會在顏色由亮轉暗的時候發出驚人的反應

  • as if, "Ooh, something has categorically changed,"

    比如,「噢,類別不同了」

  • whereas the brains of English speakers, for example,

    而英語使用者的腦部,舉例來說

  • that don't make this categorical distinction,

    並不會區別這種類別差異

  • don't give that surprise,

    也不會感到驚訝

  • because nothing is categorically changing.

    因為類別並沒有改變

  • Languages have all kinds of structural quirks.

    語言有許多結構雙關

  • This is one of my favorites.

    以下是我最喜歡的一種

  • Lots of languages have grammatical gender,

    許多語言有文法性別

  • so every noun gets assigned a gender, often masculine or feminine.

    每一個名詞被分配到一個性別,通常是陽性和陰性

  • And these genders differ across languages.

    而這些性別因語言而異

  • So, for example, the sun is feminine in German but masculine in Spanish,

    舉例來說,在德語中太陽是陰性,但是在西班牙語是陽性

  • and the moon, the reverse.

    月亮則相反

  • Could this actually have any consequence for how people think?

    這會不會影響人們思考的方式呢?

  • Do German speakers think of the sun as somehow more female-like,

    德語使用者會不會覺得太陽比較有女性傾向

  • and the moon somehow more male-like?

    而月亮則比較傾向男性?

  • Actually, it turns out that's the case.

    事實上結果正是如此

  • So if you ask German and Spanish speakers to, say, describe a bridge,

    舉例,若是你要一個說德語的和一個說西語的人描述一座橋

  • like the one here --

    像是這裡這座

  • "bridge" happens to be grammatically feminine in German,

    「橋」在德語的文法性別剛好是陰性

  • grammatically masculine in Spanish --

    在西語則是陽性

  • German speakers are more likely to say bridges are "beautiful," "elegant"

    德語使用者比較可能用「美麗」、「優雅」來描述橋

  • and stereotypically feminine words.

    這些刻板印象中偏女性向的字

  • Whereas Spanish speakers will be more likely to say

    然而西語使用人士比較可能說

  • they're "strong" or "long,"

    「強壯」或是「長」

  • these masculine words.

    這些男性向字眼

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Languages also differ in how they describe events, right?

    不同語言描述事件的方式也不一樣,對吧?

  • You take an event like this, an accident.

    你覺得這種事件是一場意外

  • In English, it's fine to say, "He broke the vase."

    用英語,你可以說「他打破了花瓶」(He broke the vase.)

  • In a language like Spanish,

    用西班牙語這個語言

  • you might be more likely to say, "The vase broke,"

    你比較可能說「花瓶破了。」

  • or, "The vase broke itself."

    或是,「花瓶自己破了。」

  • If it's an accident, you wouldn't say that someone did it.

    如果是意外,你就不會說是誰造成的

  • In English, quite weirdly, we can even say things like,

    在英語,很奇怪地我們甚至可以說

  • "I broke my arm."

    「我打斷了我的手。」( I broke my arm.)

  • Now, in lots of languages,

    在很多語言裡

  • you couldn't use that construction unless you are a lunatic

    你不能這樣構句,除非你是一個瘋子

  • and you went out looking to break your arm --

    試圖打斷你的手臂

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • and you succeeded.

    而且還成功了

  • If it was an accident, you would use a different construction.

    如果是一場意外,你會用不同的句構

  • Now, this has consequences.

    這其實會有影響

  • So, people who speak different languages will pay attention to different things,

    說不同語言的人會注意不同的事

  • depending on what their language usually requires them to do.

    取決於他們的語言通常要求他們什麼

  • So we show the same accident to English speakers and Spanish speakers,

    所以我們把同樣的意外拿給英語人士和西語人士

  • English speakers will remember who did it,

    英語人士會記得是誰做的

  • because English requires you to say, "He did it; he broke the vase."

    因為用英文你必須說「他做的,他打破了花瓶」( He did it; he broke the vase. )

  • Whereas Spanish speakers might be less likely to remember who did it

    而西語人士較不可能記得是誰做的

  • if it's an accident,

    若那是一場意外

  • but they're more likely to remember that it was an accident.

    但他們會比較可能記得這是一場意外

  • They're more likely to remember the intention.

    他們比較可能記得意圖

  • So, two people watch the same event,

    因此,兩組不同的人目睹一樣的事件

  • witness the same crime,

    目睹一樣的犯罪

  • but end up remembering different things about that event.

    但最後卻記得有關事件的不同事情

  • This has implications, of course, for eyewitness testimony.

    當然,這可能就目擊證人說詞另有意涵

  • It also has implications for blame and punishment.

    在歸咎和懲罰方現也是

  • So if you take English speakers

    所以,若是找來一位英語使用者

  • and I just show you someone breaking a vase,

    給他看某人打破花瓶