Will a "Logical" Language Make You Think More Logically?

A show about the mysteries of English.
Dec. 10 2013 1:56 PM

Will Learning a "Logical" Language Make You Think More Logically?

Listen to Slate's show about an invented language that forces you to choose your words carefully.

Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 33: The End of Ambiguity

The Whorf Hypothesis, named after early 20th-century linguist Benjamin Whorf, postulates that the language we speak affects the way we think. In other words, speakers of different languages experience slightly different realities. The only problem is there's no way to test it. Languages, after all, are closely tied to cultures, which also influence the way we perceive the world, and it's impossible to tease out one from the other. That's where James Cooke Brown comes in. He wanted to create a "logical" language and teach it to people under laboratory conditions. If it made them more logical then Whorf would be proven right! Listen to Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss Logical Language with Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language.

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You'll find every Lexicon Valley episode at slate.com/lexiconvalley, or in the player below:

Send your thoughts about the show to slatelexiconvalley@gmail.com.

Mike Vuolo is a radio and podcast producer and the host of Lexicon Valley.

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