Recently I came upon this TED talk which describes the brain activity in humans while we communicate with each other. As I watched the TED talk, my eyes widened with astonishment. Turns out that my speculations in the babel fish article are no longer completely unfounded. This talk confirms my speculations! (If you haven’t read the babel fish article yet, now is a good time to go and read it. Click here.
Before I let you go and watch the talk, I will reiterate the key points of the article. In the article I suggested that humans, while communicating, try and convert a sentence into a bunch of concepts that represent the true meaning of the sentence. And while translating, they convert language-1 into a group of concepts and the group of concepts into a language-2. It is because the human brain represent sentences as language-independent concepts we are able to translate languages quite well.
Now, if my hypothesis was indeed true, a multilingual person listening to the same sentence, i.e., same group of concepts, in two different languages would have the same pattern of activity in their brains. The below TED-speaker talks about exactly this experiment. Guess what? [Spoiler alert - skip the next few sentences and come back to it later if you want] It turns out that the brain activity of a person listening to the same sentence in either English or Russian are very similar. This indeed indicates that brain activity represents concepts which are language invariant! :D
Okay enough of my ramblings. Here is the talk. Have fun!