Language and thought ppt


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Language and thought ppt

  1. 1. Language and Thought Prashant Patil Manoj Kumar
  2. 2. Introducing the topic • If think we can‟t think clearly without using language? then how about.. - deaf and mute people? - children two-three years old? Their language is certainly not adequate enough.
  3. 3. Views of some theorists • Classical theorists like Plato and Aristotle argued that the categories of thoughts determine the categories of language. • Plato: Thought and language were identical. • Aristotle: Mankind could not have the same languages (because all don‟t think the same).
  4. 4. • J. B. Watson: Thought is language; sub-vocal speech. “think aloud” = speech; “speak covertly”= thinking.
  5. 5. Two opinions for the prior discussion The notion of language and thought and their relation subsequently got divided into two groups mainly: 1. Whether thoughts are formed in advance of the words that we utter. 2. Or whether ideas are formed in terms of the words themselves.
  6. 6. Language determines thought • The Eskimo language for snow: apun= “snow on the ground”, qanikca= “hard snow on the ground”, utak= “block of snow” etc. • An Eskimo child -> more cognitive categories. • English - camel, Chinese - luòtuo, Arabic - more than 400 words for the animal.
  7. 7. The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis The hypothesis in linguistics has two versions: • The first is called linguistic determinism (the strong version) • The second part is called linguistic relativity (the weak version)
  8. 8. Linguistic determinism: • It is the idea that language and its structures limit and determine human knowledge or thought. • Whorf states that language does not only voice ideas but also shapes them. • [The child‟s knowledge is socially constructed in interaction with adults, so child logic develops only with the growth of child‟s social speech.]
  9. 9. Linguistic relativity: • Speakers of different languages - perceive the world differently. - resulting cognitive systems are different. • Accordingly the mental universe of an English speaker may be different from that of a Chinese speaker because they happen to speak different languages.
  10. 10. • Take „rainbow‟ as an example: perception of colors come from color-naming influence of the language. All languages do not divide the colors into the same number of basic categories. Hence a speaker of a language will not describe the rainbow in the same way as English speakers do.
  11. 11. B. Berlin and P. Kay’s experiment in 1969 • Concerned with how speakers of different languages divide up the color spectrum. • They used an array of 329 colors, presented to speakers of 20 diverse languages. • First, Berlin and Kay found basic color terms in each language. They then presented to the speaker of a language and asked to name the colors and draw lines around distinguishable ones. • After that, all 20 were asked to mark with an “X” the most typical example of each color in their basic color vocabulary. This was called the focal color.
  12. 12. Observations • The basic color terms were restricted to a small set of numbers. • The focal colors are the same across all 20 languages. Like if A had 4 and B six, these 4 closely corresponded to 4 out of the 6 colors chosen by B.
  13. 13. • Swedish -many different names for colours (for example: blue, red, white, light grey, purple, and cyan). • Tiv (language of New Guinea) -there are only two words for colour: light and dark. • Yet both language speakers could distinguish colours in similar manner.
  14. 14. Contrary to Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis • If there are no constraints on the variation in the way people think, speakers of different languages will never see the world in the same way. • If language determines thought, people speaking diverse languages would never understand each other. • Control the language that people learn, control their thoughts.
  15. 15. • We cant conclude strictly but little dependency and similarities.
  16. 16. Another question to think • Does the fact that a language does not have separate terms for certain phenomena means that the users of this language are unable to distinguish these phenomena from others?
  17. 17. Counterclaims: • There are bilinguals among the general population who can express their ideas freely in two or more languages. • Languages borrow words from each other fairly frequently. • Also used in sentence thing, compare with the two speakers.
  18. 18. Other ways for thinking.. • Pictures and feelings though hard sometimes to express thoughts. • Deaf people probably "see" more images in their thoughts. Symbols have a more important role. • The hypothesis has been largely abandoned due to limited support all through at its best.
  19. 19. Thought determines language • Those who believe this would say that cognitive development comes earlier in the life of children. • Cognitive categories they develop determine the linguistic categories that they will acquire.
  20. 20. • An instance that shows that thoughts and language are closely connected and thought processes have influence on our language is the course of a conversation.
  21. 21. Language of thought - Mentalese • Thinking is done in the form of a silent monologue. • According to LOTH, thought and thinking are done in a mental language a kind of 'language' (not a verbal language) that Pinker calls 'Mentalese', On this model, the mind functions like a computer, manipulating simple symbols to produce complex results. • Mental computations in a symbolic system physically realized in the brain.
  22. 22. THANK YOU!