After reading “How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?” by Lena Boroditsky, I fell in love with it and the research it focused on. The idea of language, this unique cultural tool, governing our thought processes resonated with what I had been reflecting on. In fact, one of my college application essays was centered around a related topic – the influence of culture on our model of thinking. Let me quote myself here: “People of certain cultural backgrounds possess certain cognitive skills and certain model of thinking… their innovations are rooted in their unique creative insight.”

“Death by Monoculture” by Stephen Pax Leonard spoke to me, too. If the essay showed how English replaced other languages, in the region I grew up, this vicious role belonged to Russian. So similar, yet so different people in post-Soviet republics share the language, history and even some customs and traditions. Discriminatory language and cultural policies of communist times have had especially fatal consequences in Kazakhstan. In a country, where over 120 nationalities coexist in harmony, Russian has an official status of a language of intercultural communication, threatening the spread and development of Kazakh.

Both essays touched me deeply, so I had no hesitation choosing them for my comparative analysis.

TOMIRIS KAUMENOVA is an international undergraduate student from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Admitted into chemistry department, she realized that her true passion is languages and the science behind them, when she joined a linguistic lab. She currently speaks 4 languages, and in the future plans to learn more and devote herself to studying them. Her areas of interest include translation studies and the evolution of languages.  An avid reader, Tomiris never saw herself as a writer, so she is extremely thankful to Professor Malavika Shetty for her precious lessons, kind guidance, and suggestion to enter the contest. One of the things Tomiris loves the  most about studying abroad at Boston University is making friends from all around the world, which, in her words, often becomes possible thanks to people like Professor Shetty, who create the welcoming atmosphere.