From the Canada Free Press, April 17, 2008
The concept of language as a kind of lens or filter, or even straitjacket, cannot be over-stated. Wittgenstein said that the limits of language are the limits of one’s world.
By that token, bilingual or multilingual people have broader vision. It is not what we look at, the poverty, the injustice, the overpopulation, the environmental degradation, that is paramount. But the linguistic construction built in to filter that reality, to bring it into sharp focus, or make us blind to it.
The question becomes then, whose lens are we wearing? What filter are we looking through? How do we remove it?
In 1984 George Orwell revealed that the purpose of Newspeak, the language of his fictional totalitarian regime, was to rid old English (Oldspeak) of all adjectives and unnecessary words so that people would be not be able to feel or think. If one could not describe sadness, one could not feel it, and if there was no word for democracy or justice one couldn’t complain about the government. By eliminating words, Newspeak would eliminate the range of thoughts..
Entire article here.