10 Questions Raised From Learning A New Language

Because I’ve been learning spoken Arabic (spoken in my area) and got back from today’s lesson quite late.

  1. Can we think of abstract concepts without putting them into words or having language for them?
  2. Can we think in a language while using concepts we do not yet have words for in that language? (I mean having our internal voice be in the learned language not simply mentioning in our internal voice the concept in a different language)
  3. Why can’t we differentiate between certain sounds unless we speak a language?
  4. When do we learn to differentiate between sounds we previously couldn’t? How much exposure is necessary?
  5. When learning a third (or fifth or sixth…) is it better to work in whatever language you are most comfortable with or with the language you know which is most similar to the language you are learning? Is it better to be switching between or is it too much mental effort?
  6. When do we retain a larger understanding of the spoken word when learning verb forms or when simply using the words in their uses?
  7. How much culture is retained in language?
  8. Do languages that contain more cultural elements belong to less technologically advanced cultures?
  9. Are honor related elements of culture more likely to be expressed in the spoken language (say for example hospitality, the relation between family elements and gender elements)?
  10. What prejudices do I have that reveal themselves in the way we speak? What opinions do we not realise we hold or agree with?

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