Someone - I have no means by which to back-reference right now - did a very interesting study regarding verbs as related to culture. It was an extension of the concept that one's language, in a very real way, shapes one's thought process.
(Caveat emptor: I know little to nothing about the languages discussed here. I am merely restating my memories of the aforementioned study.)
Russians, the studier noted, appear to be obsessed with going
places - there are different words for going on foot, going by car, going right now, going later, etc. English (and IIRC other Romance-derived languages) focus a lot on doing
things. Japanese has many words regarding form, but per jhitchin
, is missing an easy way to say "I can do x
I have, many times, found English sorely inadequate - there are portions of the territory that are simply unmapped (at least by English - I have only smatterings of anything else). Despite only having taken a few weeks of Japanese, I have on at least one occasion had to stop dead in the middle of a sentence because I discovered that the concept I was attempting to verbalize mapped onto a difficult-to-translate Japanese word.
Yet another argument for teaching languages to young
children... flexibility in thought.