Comment On Steve Sailer’s “Does Your Language Shape How You Think” Post

I posted this response at Steve Sailer’s:

I have long thought this was the main reason metaphysics, particularly ontology, arises in cultures that speak Indo-Aryan languages and NOT in Judaism. A combination of Hebrew being a “me tarzan, you jane” language + the ban placed on the use of the verb “to be” in the present tense by making the future perfect of the word the unspeakable name of god “YHVH” means “state of being that exists out of time” basically–beingness that always was, is and always will be. It is obvious they were a literate people with a significantly well developed sense of verbal reasoning as evinced by their holy books being in large part legal code–later on in the Talmudic period you get very sophisticated legal reasoning that would be right at home on any modern law school campus–but no great ruminations on existence.

Many Indo Aryan languages convey the primacy of the EXISTENCE of the speaker in every sentence. Look at a simple English sentence “I am going home”. Basically you are saying “I exist, and go to my house”. In Hebrew this would be rendered “I go the Home” (ani holech ha bayitta). Is this the case with ancient Greek or the languages of Hinduism and Buddhism?

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9 Responses to Comment On Steve Sailer’s “Does Your Language Shape How You Think” Post

  1. maurice says:

    Language shapes cognition, absolutely. Chomsky was wrong- and not only about that. heh.

  2. David Foster says:

    I read somewhere about a Chinese-American physicist who found it useful to think about some types of problems in English, others in Chinese.

  3. Tupac Chopra says:

    I still want to do that…um, thing…involving your mouth.

    [ed–comments disrespectful to my marriage will be deleted in future even if made in jest]

  4. LVD says:

    “Many Indo Aryan languages convey the primacy of the EXISTENCE of the speaker in every sentence. ”

    Which Indo Aryan languages are you specifically thinking of here?

  5. LVD says:

    “Is this the case with ancient Greek or the languages of Hinduism and Buddhism?”

    The “languages of Hinduism and Buddhism” are the original Indo-Aryan languages, because they are the languages of South Asia (indo-arya region of world).

    Sanskrit, which is the orginal Indo Aryan language (“arya” means “noble” in Sanskrit) as several ways to express self-hood. You would expect this from that region of the world because the ancient South Asian cultures gave birth to philosophy and existentialism.

    The first question showing up is “who am I”?

    All South Asian philosophical schools of thought seek to answer that – all in slightly different ways.

    These South Asian, what you call “Indo-Aryan” philosophical schools are much deeper than any Abrahamic system or European school of thought – indeed. Those later systems may have borrowed some key concepts from South Asian philosophies, but they don’t run as deep and complex

    Some European languages qualify as “indo-aryan” languages because they get some of their vocabulary from Sanskrit root words.

    • LVD says:

      Oh, excuse me, the term “Indo-Aryan” does not refer to a group of languages – that is “Indo-European”. The reason being, like I said, is some European languages have some vocabulary from Sanskrit root words.

      “Indo Aryan” refers to the people of South Asia and her aryan (noble) cultures.

      Arya means “noble” in Sanskrti. Aryan means “noble one”.

    • Doug1 says:

      The proto Indo-Europeans probably originated on the Western Eurasian steppe in the area between the Black and Caspian seas, in what’s now Eastern Ukraine and southern Russia, around 5K years ago. They were an animal herding people, particularly cattle most likely. Root words in e.g. the European Indo-European languages aren’t now thought to come from Sanskrit but rather from a proto Indo European language spoken by these Indo-Europeans.

      The Aryans who invaded S. Asia made it to Iran (=Aryan) first and then in probably a number of waves moved into what’s now Pakistan and the Indus river valley and Gangetic India. These were some of the first steppe warriors to invade and conquor as an upper class settled agricultural civilizations in other words. They probably did the same thing in Europe, mostly from linguistic evidence. Which had been going agricultural from peoples migrating from what’s now Turkey beginning about 8k years ago.

      Wikipedia’s not dispositive or anything but this isn’t a highly political area:

  6. Doug1 says:


    Oh rubbish. Some of Gimbutas’d stuff e.g. her matriarchy stuff has been debunked, but not basic origin of Indo-European peoples. That seems solid.

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