Psychologist Lera Boroditsky says she’s “interested in how the languages we speak shape the way we think” .
This statement seems so innocent, and yet it implies that language definitely does shape thought1. It also leads us to use a metaphor with “shape.”
Causes and Dependencies
Does language cause thought? Or at least in part? Or is it the other direction—thought causes language?
Is language even capable of being a cause of thought, even if it isn’t in practice?
Or in an architectural sense, is one dependent on the other? Is thought built on top of language?
Or is language built on top of thought?
Does language influence thought at all, even if one is not dependent on the other?
When people talk about language causing thought or vice versa, are they talking about language as a mental module (or distributed functionality) or the interactive act of using language?