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I was talking to Lyn about how language shapes one's thought processes and worldview and remembered an article, which I thought'd be a great thing to share with y'all.

It's from the NY Times last year; Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

The most fascinating bit is at the bottom, regarding what they call geographical languages. A couple of excerpts:

Whenever we would use the egocentric system, the Guugu Yimithirr rely on cardinal directions. If they want you to move over on the car seat to make room, they’ll say “move a bit to the east.” To tell you where exactly they left something in your house, they’ll say, “I left it on the southern edge of the western table.”

So everyday communication in a geographic language provides the most intense imaginable drilling in geographic orientation (it has been estimated that as much as 1 word in 10 in a normal Guugu Yimithirr conversation is “north,” “south,” “west” or “east,” often accompanied by precise hand gestures). This habit of constant awareness to the geographic direction is inculcated almost from infancy: studies have shown that children in such societies start using geographic directions as early as age 2 and fully master the system by 7 or 8.
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