Indo-germanic everywhere (again)?
by Raphael Haase
For quite some time, I have had this feeling now that language does not just shape how we think, instead language is what we think. Thus, learning something new is learning a new language. E.g., maths is just a (group of) language(s).
Right now, with everyone (*) learning English, the world seems to morph into an Indo-Germanic world again. So my hypothesis here is that all Indo-European languages have (approximately) the same power of expression. Further, with English consisting of so many foreign words from mostly Indo-European languages, it seems like English is the best of all those refined into one.
Having started to learn a few languages at the same time, I have noticed something truly interesting: It’s hard for me to separate languages. I am nowhere near to being fluent in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese, but the more that I learn, the more the way I think becomes a mix of German, English, French, Spanish and Mandarin. It’s like as if the union of all these was turning into a new language… similiar to what English already is, but in a more grammatical way.
Whereas English does use a lot of words from other languages, it hasn’t started to adopt so many grammatical features of other languages. There is still (limited) inflection in English like in irregular past tenses and grammatical tenses are still an important concept. Mandarin has neither, but that hasn’t jumped over to English. I think it would be an advancement of the English language though.
I am really wondering: Many people in Germany say they “dream” in German. When exposed to English for a sufficient amount of time (expats, exchange semester) they are surprise when they start to “dream in English”. I am beginning to think and dream in all the languages that I started learning at the same time. But they don’t really feel separate. It feels more like they are a perfect match. Like fragments of the same puzzle, coming all together now. And now I am thinking: Why is that? Shouldn’t there be lots of people having the same experience? Or have I just not met them yet?
(*) except the Vulgar Latin speakers (French, Spanish, Italian)