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Well, here's a perfect example! I don't read french and my post seems to look funny. I can't figure out how to fix it! Could someone help me or explain why the TypePad software is inserting line breaks I didn't ask for?

Thanks and sorry! This is my first post.


Dave, you might perhaps use Ecto or Blogjet to help you keep control on your posts format... ;o) Anyway, fixed now. Cheers.

Hello dgray,

I read your above post with much interest. I have been thinking about that question for some time. I think, or my thought was, that e.g. Chinese people would have another consciousness than me because of them having another language. I seem to know that they, for example, do not have a word for simple 'no'. Anyway; I had that thought.
Than I ran into this article on the web – and I had to look it up for you – about a report by cognitive psychologist Peter Gordon about the Piraha tribe from the Amazon area. This was a dutch article but here for example you can find some English articles etc. So in this Dutch article I believe I read that somewhere around 1930 the theory was abandoned that language and consciousness were related. But with the findings of Peter Gordon this theory might win ground again.
To put it short, about Peter Gordon’s work: "A study appearing today in the journal Science reports that the hunter-gatherers seem to be the only group of humans known to have no concept of numbering and counting. Not only that, but adult Piraha apparently can't learn to count or understand the concept of numbers or numerals, even when they asked anthropologists to teach them and have been given basic math lessons for months at a time."
Now it's my turn to ask you what _you_ think, after thinking about the Piraha?

Kind regards,

And since I'm from the Netherlands, I should understand more than two points of view. Therefore: stop dualistic thinking. :-/

It is true that the US can be considered one country; however I would argue that the diversity within the US also lends itself to a certain amount of cultural demands. We do not live within a vanilla world.


Quite interesting. I do believe that our cultural language -- both visual and verbal -- are building blocks of consciousness. We create words and symbols to represent the things that matter to us, and we use those to construct our thoughts and conversations.

This is one of the reasons I have been drawn to visual communication in my professional work: pictures seem to be one of the most universal languages. Although they often contain cultural bias, they are more easily shared between cultures.

In my work as a consultant I have often seen people become overly focused on the language or words used to describe things, to the point where they lose touch with the meaning or overarching concept. Thinking can become "trapped" by linguisting or cultural conventions.


I'm not sure what you mean by vanilla -- nobody lives in a vanilla world and everyone has cultural demands.

Everything is relative: in the US we speak the same language, share the same constitution and political leaders, follow the same road sign and map conventions, etc.

For example, I myself speak only one language: English. Even if I spoke several I would not find much occasion to use them when travelling in the US. This is not a handicap here, but when I travel in other countries I am certainly aware of the gap.

Agree: geographical isolation
Disagree: cultural isolation

If you try to compare the states with Europe, it might be right that we have a lot of different cultures. But you have to consider that Europe is not one single country, as the states are. We certainly have a lot of different cultures within our boundaries that firm under the name "Europeans", but if we meet, we speak English - so we have on common language again. And it is a matter of fact that the states have a lot of different cultures within them. And amongst these cultures there is a common language again. And you must not forget, that american culture is based on a lot of different cultures from all over the world. So, your roots should make it easier for you, shouldn't they?

There is a different way of thinking, but that is valid for every single nation on this planet.

Clearly the fact that we are able to communicate on this blog shows that we have more similarities than differences. And certainly the US and Europe have a lot in common culturally. It's all relative as I said.

On this blog we speak English and therefore can communicate; but still, when I go to your website I can't read it! The very fact that all cultures in Europe can share English as a common language would seem to speak to my point: how many people in Europe speak only one language, the language of their home country? A large percentage of Americans have never left their home country at all. How common is that in Europe?

As more people and communication goes digital I think the isolation will begin to decrease: things like blogging are opening up more conversations such as this one. I am excited about this opportunity to "open the borders" of global communication.

I am not by any means advocating isolation. H,owever as I go through a typical day here in the central US (St. Louis), I see it. It's not that people seem physically isolated, but their perspectives and worldview can often seem US-centric and somewhat disinterested. The don't tend to think or talk about the rest of the world and the US's place as a citizen in a global society.

The is not something I am happy about, but it is rather something I have observed.

I agree. I have spent a lot of time in various countries and in my opinion, people outside of the US seem to have a more accurate world veiw. I think that some of this could be fixed by teaching more foreign languages & foreign culture in school.

Interesting subject!

No doubt the sheer size of the US has to make a difference to the way its people think, and even with the European Union it's probably fair to say that most people in Europe think of themselves as citizens of their own countries first, and citizens of Europe later, if at all.

That may well change in time, but I don't think it has yet.

However, on the subject of language in the USA, a nursing friend in LA tells me that it's a requirement for nursing staff in California to be fluent in Spanish, because so many patients who have come from Latin America have insufficient English to explain their symptoms and understand the medical advice they're given.

Perhaps things are changing on both continents.

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