Joho the Blog » Language Determinism Exampled
Everyday Chaos
Too Big to Know
Too Big to Know
Cluetrain 10th Anniversary edition
Cluetrain 10th Anniversary
Everything Is Miscellaneous
Everything Is Miscellaneous
Small Pieces cover
Small Pieces Loosely Joined
Cluetrain cover
Cluetrain Manifesto
My face
Speaker info
Who am I? (Blog Disclosure Form) Copy this link as RSS address Atom Feed

Language Determinism Exampled

Continuing the thread on language determinism, Flemming Funch writes:

I’ve noticed how Chinese or Japanese speakers often will make certain consistent mistakes in English. Like mixing up singular and plural. Some people figure it out eventually, but some people never do. For an English speaker it is obvious that noodles is plural, because there are many noodles on a plate. A Chinese person is just as likely to call it “noodle”, not because he can’t count, but because he’s seeing it differently. I suppose focusing on the substance, not on the individual pieces. A Korean person leading a Yoga class might say “Touch your left feet”. I only have one left foot, but in Korean thinking it makes sense that he’s talking to the group, and there obviously are a whole bunch of left feet there. The English speaker will be very focused on himself individually, whereas a Korean will think more as a group.

Cool examples!

Jonathan replies patiently to a post by Baldur Bjarnason that argues that culture forms language and not vice versa. Language is “a weapon” used in fights between cultures, Baldur says. It seems he’s saying that if you lose your language, you lose your culture, which implies the opposite of what he’s arguing. In any case, both sides in the argument over linguistic relativism can (and should) support preserving local languages, IMO.

Previous: « || Next: »

Leave a Reply

Comments (RSS).  RSS icon