Scientists have discovered the existence of a universal "language" among people of different nationalities

Alina MilsentNews
Scientists studied the characteristics of non-verbal communication

Science does not provide an exact answer to the question of how many languages there are in the world, but rough estimates suggest there are between six and seven thousand, including dialects. Recently, Georgia State University conducted a study whose results led to the conclusion that there is a universal "language" among people of different nationalities.

The native language influences how people convey information from an early age, and the results of recent experiments have hinted at the existence of a universal communication system. The details were reported by Phys Org.

Sheida Ozcalishkan, a professor at the Faculty of Psychology, has been researching the connection between language and thinking for years. Her latest study, published in Language and Cognition, is a continuation of her previous work with adults.

In this study, the professor, in collaboration with Susan Goldin-Meadow of the University of Chicago and Che Lucero of Cornell University, focused on children aged 3 to 12 who spoke English or Turkish. They were asked to use their hands to reproduce specific actions, such as running into a house.

"English and Turkish were the main comparisons because they are different in terms of how you talk about events," said Sheyda, whose native language is Turkish.

The professor explained the linguistic differences in the languages.

"In Turkish, if you want to describe someone running into a house, you have to split the sentence into pieces. You say: 'he runs and then enters the house.' But in English, it sounds much simpler: 'he ran into the house,' all in one compact sentence. Of course, it's easier to express both running (the manner of movement) and entering the house (the way of movement) together in one English phrase," Sheida said.

The researchers wanted to find out whether gestures follow these linguistic differences and how early children learn these patterns. During the study, children were asked to describe the same action first while talking and then without talking, only using their hands (silent gesture).

The researchers found that when children speak and gesture at the same time, their gestures correspond to the characteristics of their language, with clear differences between Turkish and English speakers. However, when children used gestures without speaking, the gestures were remarkably similar.

The study also found that these patterns begin at a very young age, as children's shared language gestures first begin to follow the patterns of their spoken language at the age of 3-4 years.

Sheyda Ozcalışkan and Susan Goldin-Meadow also studied the behavior of sighted and blind adults who were native speakers of English and Turkish. Using the same methods as in the latter study, the researchers were surprised to find the same differences in shared speech gestures and similarities in "silent" gestures. This happened despite the fact that the blind participants were blind from birth, meaning they had never seen anyone sign before.

So far, all the studies have produced very similar results. This model suggests that there may be a universal system of gestures that allows us to communicate with each other regardless of speech, hearing, or vision.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told you that, according to the latest research, dogs can distinguish different languages.

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