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Lecture 10

LING 115gw Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Determinism, Color Basic, Linguistic Determinism

Course Code
LING 115gw
Simpson Andrew

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Unit 10: The Language Relativity Hypothesis
Q: Does language influence the ways that we think and make speakers of dierent
languages see the world in dierent ways?
Language in it's relation to culture (way of life) and perception/thought
Thought --> Language 1.
Our way of life, culture and environment help us create specialized language/A.
Language Relativity Hypothesis (Language --> Thought)!2.
Language which we learn and use aects the way we perceive our environment!A.
(1) Eskimos/Innuit / snow!
Higher # of words to say "snow" than in other languages!
(2) Aborigines (Australia) / holes!
Higher # of words for "holes" than in other languages (maybe 10-12 to describe holes with
dierent functions; i.e. holes where lizards live)!
(3) Bedouin tribes (Middle East) / camels!
Higher # of words for "camels" than other languages; they recognize the dierent types of
Did these words occur because people became aware of their surroundings or did their
surroundings become more prominent because of the words? !
Edward Sapir (Yale, Anthropology + Linguistics) and Benjamin Lee Whorf (Amateur Linguist)!
The Language Relativity Hypothesis is also called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
Language we speaks imposes a filter on the way we see outside reality !
Language is suggested to be functioning as a filter that highlights certain aspects of reality
and obscure other sections of reality !
Words ––$Sapir!
Grammar –– Whorf!
Q2: Does language aect thought/perception and how can we actually see this?!
The eects of language on non-linguistic behavior!
Name/Words - Trigger an establishment of a concept!
Comparing languages!
English v. German --> car - wagen/auto + house - haus!
Word only in German: !
Gemütlichkeit: An emotional state that is unique to Germany !
Concept in their mind that we do not have an equivalent of here!
Words on in American English (and on college campuses!)!
Rush week!
These words and concepts only exist in America!!
Words and Concepts!
Concepts: Ideas in our minds!
Semantic Relativity: Ideas that can be addressed dier from language to language - words/
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