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Solving problems. In two languages.

People can intuitively recognize small numbers up to four; however, when calculating they depend on the assistance of language. In this respect, the fascinating research question ensues: how do multilingual people solve arithmetical tasks presented to them in different languages of which they have a very good command? The question will gain in importance in the future, as an increasingly globalized job market, where ever more people seek work and study outside of the linguistic area of their home countries.

This question was investigated by a research team led by Dr Amandine Van Rinsveld and Professor Dr Christine Schiltz from the Cognitive Science and Assessment Institute (COSA) at the University of Luxembourg. For the purpose of the study, the researchers recruited subjects who mastered both the German and French languages perfectly.

In two separate test situations, the study participants had to solve simple and complex addition tasks, both in German and French. In the tests, it became evident that the subjects were able to solve simple addition tasks equally well in both languages. However, for complex addition in French, they required more time than with an identical task in German. Moreover, they made more errors when attempting to solve tasks in French.

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During the tests, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to measure the brain activity of the subjects. This demonstrated that, depending on the language used, different brain regions were activated. The experiments do not provide any evidence that the subjects translated the tasks they were confronted with from French into German, in order to solve the problem. (1)

The language in which we think affects the way we think.

Because Logos permeates the universe. It defines it.

What we say are not just words, insignificant ripples of waves in the air.

What we speak is magic. Dictating the very existence of worlds.

Magic performed every day.

With a simple “Good morning!” you can create a new universe.

With a sweet “Goodnight…” you can send the world to sleep…

Sweet dreams my child…

I will always be there for you.

No matter what…

Σε αγαπάω…

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