Brave New World, part 2

“I’m thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I’ve got something important to say and the power to say it–only I don’t know what it is, and I can’t make any use of the power. If there was some different way of writing…Or else something else to write about…” (Brave New World, 69)

As linguists are wont to remind us, one’s language does not fully reflect the way people think. For instance, the fact that there is not a single world to refer to something does not mean that those native speakers cannot think in those terms or refer to that thing since, after all, they can always use a phrase or something else. Nonetheless, I think this quote is saying something important: our language often frames the way we think about things and will influence the way we think about topics. Of course, framing this thought in the proper way is important because language does not determine our thoughts and there is an interplay between language, culture, etc., but the point is still important and one that is not often recognized because we fail to see how historically-conditioned we often are.

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