The Wall Street Journal had an article by the US psychologist Lera Boroditsky on language and whether it shapes the way people think (thank you, Macha, for sending me the article). The idea that language shapes thought has been hotly disputed for decades, and generally discredited, but recent research, says Boroditsky, appears to show that our language does affect how we see the world.
To illustrate this Boroditsky describes in the article a piece of research she carried out with speakers of Australian indigenous languages. Speakers of these languages don't describe position in terms of left or right, but refer to compass points instead. Boroditsky asked the Aborigines to order a series of pictures showing a chronological sequence (eg a person at different ages). If I were doing that task I would have the first picture on the left, as English is read left to right. An Arabic or Hebrew speaker would arrange the pictures right to left. The Australians varied the order of the pictures depending on the direction they faced as they did the task because they ordered them from east to west.
In another study Spanish and Japanese speakers were less likely to remember who caused an accident or mishap than English speakers. This is because the usual way of talking about an incident like this in English is to say 'So-and-so broke the vase' whereas the Spanish and Japanese construction is 'the vase broke itself'.
The full article is here.