How does our language shape the way we think? Schöner Artikel von Lera Boroditsky. Via Arts & Letters Daily.

“In one study, we asked German and Spanish speakers to describe objects having opposite gender assignment in those two languages. The descriptions they gave differed in a way predicted by grammatical gender. For example, when asked to describe a “key” — a word that is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish — the German speakers were more likely to use words like “hard,” “heavy,” “jagged,” “metal,” “serrated,” and “useful,” whereas Spanish speakers were more likely to say “golden,” “intricate,” “little,” “lovely,” “shiny,” and “tiny.” To describe a “bridge,” which is feminine in German and masculine in Spanish, the German speakers said “beautiful,” “elegant,” “fragile,” “peaceful,” “pretty,” and “slender,” and the Spanish speakers said “big,” “dangerous,” “long,” “strong,” “sturdy,” and “towering.” This was true even though all testing was done in English, a language without grammatical gender. The same pattern of results also emerged in entirely nonlinguistic tasks (e.g., rating similarity between pictures). And we can also show that it is aspects of language per se that shape how people think: teaching English speakers new grammatical gender systems influences mental representations of objects in the same way it does with German and Spanish speakers. Apparently even small flukes of grammar, like the seemingly arbitrary assignment of gender to a noun, can have an effect on people’s ideas of concrete objects in the world.”

Und mit diesem Wissen im Hinterkopf nöle ich weiter darüber, dass die Piratenpartei das Wort „Pirat“ ernsthaft als geschlechtsneutral ansieht (§1.5). Falls ich mich dazu entschließen sollte, dieser Partei beizutreten, werde ich trotzdem eine „Piratin“ sein. (Nicht dass das meine Hauptsorge ist, die diese Partei betrifft, aber ja, ich denke durchaus über sowas nach.)