Alan's Reviews > Through the Language Glass

Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

really liked it

I recommend reading David Brooks’s "The Social Animal" right before this book. It makes Deutscher’s new news more momentous. It takes a while to get to the new news, but the lead-up is still fun reading. He enjoys repeating points using different words and examples, but he tells good stories and the words and examples are sufficiently entertaining that the repetition was more enjoyable than exasperating. The new news is about recent experiments showing that language affects perception. The empirical results show the importance of nurture – the language we learn – in three areas I would have considered nature’s turf. Granted, the three areas are more marginal than, say, the perception of good and evil or high-energy physics. But that’s where Brooks’s book is good preparation – because Brooks argues that our choices, analyses and decisions are more influenced than expected by the constant pre-processing of sensory information at a level over which we have no immediate control. But this is the level that Deutscher suggests may be affected by the language we speak.

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