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Does language shape the way we think Evaluate theoretical and empirical evidence - Essay Example

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DOES LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? EVALUATE THEORETICAL AND EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE Language is a mode of communication that plays a fundamental part in our everyday lives; thus making the human species unique from other living things. Language is one of the ways that humans communicate…
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Does language shape the way we think Evaluate theoretical and empirical evidence
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Download file to see previous pages Thus, there is less of human thinking in instances where language does not play a role (p.16). This essay will attempt to explain if languages shape how we think and if so, the degree to which it does. There are more than five thousand languages globally, and some from the same family that varies, for example, British English and American English, which have the some similar words but different pronunciations or meanings (Law 1993: 38). Different people in various geographical areas speak different languages each of which diverse syllables and structure have. This could mean that people who speak different languages or people who come from different cultures may think differently due to the result of their language. To further explain this point, (Cooper & Fishman, 1991:34) gives an example of how the word “really” is used differently in the British and North American English. In the British English “really” is used to encourage someone to keep elaborating, while, in the North American, it is used to questioning the validity of what is being said. This difference in thinking is brought about by the difference in culture. The principle of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is that the structure of our language outlines the structure of our thought processes. Language affects the manner we remember things and the manner in which we view the globe (Harley, 2013:90). ...
However, the drum was full of petrol vapor, which led to an explosive outcome (p. 91). Since the 1930s, American Linguistics Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf researched on how languages differ; and proposed ways that speakers of different languages may reason differently. According to the Sapir- Whorf hypothesis, language differences produce cognitive differences. This illustrates the relationship between language and thought. The Sapir-Whorf theory lays out the linguistic determinism versus linguistic relativity. Linguistic determinism is sometimes described as strong Sapir Whorf hypothesis. It goes by the notion that a language and its structures may affect how one thinks and the knowledge possessed. This does not deter much from the Linguistic relativism theory that states that a language influences how an individual can theorize his or her world. Whorf et al., 2012: 45). The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is made up of both linguistic relativism and linguistic determinism. Determinism can be divided into two; strong and weak determinism. Strong determinism directly states that what is heard is directly what is thought. For instance, language determines thought. Weak determinism agrees that language does influence the way we think and our view of the real world, but it does not fully determine or constraint it. This means that the language influences thought to some extent. When languages differ largely, thoughts also tend to be different, for example, Mandarin and English, speakers think in very different ways. In 1940’s a linguist, Benjamin Lee Whorf studied Hopi which is a Native American language spoken in northeastern Arizona. Based on his studies Hopi and other English speakers perceived the world differently because of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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