To what extent does language determine reality?
I can speak Latvian (native), Deutsch (although getting rusty) and English. Russian I can understand for most of the time, but cannot really speak very well.
So one thing I noticed on empirical level is that I always think of nouns in terms of gender even in if I'm using English which, of course, is a genderless language (with few unimportant exceptions). That's because in Latvian noun gender is very strict and very important.
Following that, reality gets wrapped in this gendered aspect - "spoon" is femininie, "knife" is masculine, "tree" is masculine, "door" is feminine, "fate" is masculine", "faith" is feminine and so on and so forth.
Where gender does sometimes appear - like "she ship" - that sound off to me, because in my mind, based on Latvian, ship has to be masculine. Extra layer of confusion gets added when speaking German, which has genders - including 'neuter' which dosen't exist in Latvian - and they, obviously, differ from those in my native tongue so you end up in state of confusion and cognitive dissonance, because what used to be one gender in many cases becomes a different one.
Only thing that somewhat saves the situation is that in German the gender is attached to article (die, der, das) which is separated from the word itself while in Latvian the gender is determined by word ending since there are no articles; in that sense the gender seems to much deeper integrated in the DNA of the word itself while in German there's already a step towards abstraction so you can just accept the rules and rota memorize the articles without blowing the fuse.
Question, of course, is - how much it actally determins reality if all the 'its' become 'he' and 'she'. I suppose it gives more of an animistic view on life. But all in all I cannot see it being TOO improtant. Also it could be interesting to know from perspective of English language speakers who have learned a language where gender is central - when using that language do you actually start to indulge in anthropomorphism or are those just little annoying rules you have stick to so you can make grammatically correct sentences?
What I do believe though is that use of non-native language determins thought in a sense that it creates an emotional detachment and makes the reasoning process more dispassionate, as if your taking a step back from the workings of your own mind. If you think about writers who wrote in a non-native languages, like Beckett, Conrad, Cioran, you cannot deny that there's something cold and surgical about their efforts. But I don't think it matters one bit which non-native you know and are able to switch to, it's more the fact itself.