Tag Archives: speech

“The Tibetan Code of Happiness” – [Recommended Event]

2 Apr

This Thursday (April 4th), Khenpo Sodargye of the Laung Gar Buddhist academy in China will give a talk titled “The Tibetan Code of Happiness.” The talk will take place at GWU’s Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre, Marvin Center (800 21st Street NW), 6:30pm. Khenpo Sodargye is one of the leading Tibetan Buddhist teachers in China. He is a published scholar and popular speaker in leading universities on the mainland. This is his lecture series in North America and Europe. Check out the poster below: Continue reading

Does Language Shape How You Think? [Good Article]

3 Sep

Via the NYT

This fantastic article at the NYT covers something I’ve heard of before: that our language can change how we actually perceive the world, not just describe it. You might be familiar with the story of the bridge description experiment (speakers of languages that apply gender to inanimate objects tend to describe the object with adjectives that “fit” the gender,) but this article goes so much deeper.

Via the New York Times:

When your language routinely obliges you to specify certain types of information, it forces you to be attentive to certain details in the world and to certain aspects of experience that speakers of other languages may not be required to think about all the time. And since such habits of speech are cultivated from the earliest age, it is only natural that they can settle into habits of mind that go beyond language itself, affecting your experiences, perceptions, associations, feelings, memories and orientation in the world.

The article points out that language doesn’t tell us what to think, but what to think about. We have a word for that type of action in the language of Political Communication (Framing) and in Public Policy studies (Political Imaging).  I’m sure there are words for it in philosophy, anthropology, and other fields as well (feel free to chime in and let me know.)

There are more insights to be found, and I can guarantee that if you read this article you’ll discover some pretty surprising things about yourself as well.

Signing, Singing, Speaking: How Language Evolved [Good Article]

20 Aug
From NPR


I’ve often wondered why it is that humans are the only ones that can dance to a beat (though I found out in this article that it turns out we’re not!), and why we’re drawn to music in the first place.  Does it remind us of heartbeats in the womb?  Does it sound like the rhythm of walking from our hunter-gatherer past?

Whatever it is about music that draws us, this great NPR piece suggests that our musical inclinations may actually have been an important ingredient in developing human speech. From the article:

When a parent speaks to a baby, “it’s this kind of lilting intonation,” he says. “There is a lot of rhythm, a lot of exaggerated pitch contours, and people have speculated that this way of communicating with infants may have been one of the important roots to language in our species.”

Click through to check it out (you can listen to it or read it) and don’t miss the really awesome video that’s embedded. It’s hard to describe exactly what it is, but you’ll probably want to watch it twice.