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Language, Thought and Culture Slideshare

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Language, Thought and Culture Slideshare Language, Thought and Culture Slideshare Presentation Transcript

  • By: Corelle Gwyn Catane
  •  Language is more than just a means of communication.
  • Note: value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. High value is light and low value is dark.
  • Sapir and Whorf interpreted these data as indicating that colors are not objective, naturally determined segments of reality. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis can be stated in this way.  1. Structural differences between language systems will, in general, be paralleled by nonlinguistic cognitive differences, of an unspecified sort, in the native speakers of the two languages.  2. The structure of anyone's native language strongly influences or fully determines the world-view he or she will acquire while learning the language.
  • The hypothesis has two parts:  1. Linguistic determinism – language determines thought  2. Linguistic relativity – difference in language equals difference in thought Extreme version – linguistic categories determine world-view and perception Moderate version – linguistic categories influence world-view and perception
  •  Languages differ in the way they split up the range of possible colors by means of color terms. Possible effect of color vocab on perception - English and Tarahumara (Kay & Kempton 1984)  English: green and blue; Tarahumara: single term for both colors, siyóname.
  •  Experiment I: Subjects were shown three close colors in the blue-green range, and asked to choose the one that's most different from the other two. For example:  English speakers biased to group colors according to the words "green" and "blue," Tarahumara speakers were not: Even when the middle color B was objectively closer to A than to C, an English speaker often would identify BC as the closest pairing if they both could be described by the same word. This happened only when the differences were subtle.
  • Anthropologists have found that learning about how people categorize things in their environment provides important insights into the interests, concerns, and values of their culture. Field workers involved in this type of research refer to it as ethnoscience. These ethnoscientists have made a useful distinction in regards to ways of describing categories of reality.
  • Ethnoscientists define these two different approaches as being etic and emic Etic categories - This is the approach of biology in using the Linnaean classification system to define new species. It assumes that ultimately, there is an objective reality and that is more important than cultural perceptions of it.
  • Emic categories involve a classification according to the way in which members of a society classify their own world. It may tell us little about the objective reality but it is very insightful in understanding how other people perceive that reality through the filter of their language and culture.
  • Emic and etic are terms used by anthropologists and by others in the social and behavioural sciences to refer to two kinds of data concerning human behavior. In particular, they are used in cultural anthropology to refer to kinds of fieldwork done and viewpoints obtained
  • The emic approach investigates how local people think" (Kottak, 2006): How they perceive and categorize the world, their rules for behavior, what has meaning for them, and how they imagine and explain things
  • The etic (scientist-oriented) approach shifts the focus from local observations, categories, explanations, and interpretations to those of the anthropologist. The etic approach realizes that members of a culture often are too involved in what they are doing to interpret their cultures impartially. When using the etic approach, the ethnographer emphasizes what he or she considers important.
  •  Semiotics approaches meaning by studying the signs that make up language systems.  In semiotics, the meaning of a sign is its place in a sign relation, in other words, the set of roles that it occupies within a given sign relation.
  •  Defined in these global terms, the meaning of a sign is not in general analyzable with full exactness into completely localized terms, but aspects of its meaning can be given approximate analyses, and special cases of sign relations frequently admit of more local analyses.
  • Connotative Relation - The connotative relation is the relation between signs and their interpretant signs. Denotative Relation - The denotative relation is the relation between signs and objects.
  • An arbitrary association exists between the signified and the signifier.  For example, a US salesperson doing business in Japan might interpret silence following an offer as rejection, while to Japanese negotiators silence means the offer is being considered. This difference in interpretations represents a difference in: semiotics
  •  In one domain, language determines perception: phonetics (speech sounds). Learning your native language takes away the ability to perceive phonemic contrasts that are present in other languages.
  •  In the domain of cultural perceptions and world-view, it is also quite possible that language may somewhat influence thought. However, such influence is extremely difficult to test scientifically.
  • In any case, the assumption of this influence is behind the efforts of the feminist movement to change the vocabulary of job-labels and other gender-specific into gender-neutral language.
  • The effort has been largely successful in the realm on nouns  chairman -> chairperson  freshman -> first year student And largely unsuccessful in the realm of pronouns ze/zer?? - but English already has a gender-neutral pronoun! (they)
  • Liu, Y. Language, Culture and Thought from a Perspective of English Teaching. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. China. (2012) https://www.udel.edu/anthro/budani/Cult ure%20and%20Language.pdf people.brandeis.edu/~smalamud/ling100/f 08-outline-thought-culture.pdf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emic_and_etic