Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: english

Lost in Translation

The question of whether languages shape the way we think goes back centuries; Charlemagne proclaimed that “to have a second language is to have a second soul.” But the idea went out of favor with scientists when Noam Chomsky’s theories of language gained popularity in the 1960s and ’70s. Dr. Chomsky proposed that there is a universal grammar for all human languages—essentially, that languages don’t really differ from one another in significant ways. And because languages didn’t differ from one another, the theory went, it made no sense to ask whether linguistic differences led to differences in thinking. Today, new cognitive research suggests that language profoundly influences the way people see the world; this gets evident, for instance, when we think of the different sense of blame in Japanese and Spanish. Read the article on the Wall Street Journal.

Thanks, in five words

Studying in Italian you learn to prepare long and complicated speeches, which are indeed very musical and beautiful and full of rhetoric, but often fall short of brevity.

Since the moment I seriously started studying in English I began appreciating synthesis as a precious gift. No wonder synthesis is one of the key talents of contemporary world, and many successful ideas are built on it – that TED speeches and twitter, for instance. Of course, extreme synthesis has its own pitfalls, as it may lead to schizophrenia and superficiality. If used well, however, it makes better, more efficient, clearer speeches.After all, you do not need plenty of space to say something and we do, in fact, remember more clearly simple and short messages rather than long and complicated communications.

Take the Webby Awards, which honor the best of the Internet and introduced as its most satisfying tradition the brevity of its acceptance speeches, which are strictly limited to five words.