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Chapter 4 - Language

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (88)

The assertion that language has the power to shape the way people see the world. Some call this linguistic determinism.

The grammars of different languages often described the same situation in different ways. Whorf concluded that language has the power to shape the way people see the world.

Sapir argued that language's importance lies in the way it directs our attention to some aspects of experience rather than others.

Example:
-A language that has different pronouns for men and women forces its speakers to think of men and women as radically different.

Criticized by scholars, but has been revived in recent years. Controversial because its difficult to test, and the results of testing have been ambiguous.

The strong version (linguistic determinism) is inflexible; the view of language that holds that ht patterns of our thoughts and our culture is determined by the patterns of the language we speak. If it's correct, then a change in grammar should change thought patterns. Ex: if English speakers replaced "he" or "she" with a new gender-neutral pronoun such at "te" then linguistic determinists predict that English speakers would treat men and women as equal.

The weak version rejects linguistic determinism but claims that language shapes thought and culture. Ex: Grammatical gender might not determine a male dominated social order, but it might make it easier for people to accept such a social order because the grammatical distinction between "he" and "she" might make separate and unequal gender roles seem natural.