By John H. McWhorter, John McWhorter, Audible Studios
Jap has a time period that covers either eco-friendly and blue. Russian has separate phrases for darkish and lightweight blue. Does this suggest that Russians understand those shades in a different way from eastern humans? Does language keep an eye on and restrict the best way we predict?
This brief, opinionated ebook addresses the Sapir-Whorf speculation, which argues that the language we converse shapes the way in which we understand the realm. Linguist John McWhorter argues that whereas this concept is enchanting, it really is it appears that evidently flawed. it's language that displays tradition and worldview, no longer the opposite direction round. the truth that a language has just one notice for devour, drink, and smoke does not imply its audio system do not technique the variation among nutrition and beverage, and people who use an identical be aware for blue and eco-friendly understand these shades simply as vividly as others do.
McWhorter exhibits not just how the assumption of language as a lens fails but additionally why we need so badly to think it: we are wanting to have fun range via acknowledging the intelligence of peoples who would possibly not imagine like we do. although well-intentioned, our trust during this proposal poses a disadvantage to a greater realizing of human nature or even trivializes the folk we search to have a good time. the truth -- that each one people imagine alike -- presents one other, larger manner for us to recognize the intelligence of all peoples.
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Extra resources for The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language
Languages viewed in a worldwide sense show this much more clearly than they reveal six thousand distinct “worldviews” and point us to the larger and ultimately more useful truth. Language is a lens indeed—but upon humanity much more than upon humanities. Here’s why. The Language Hoax CHAPTER 1 Studies Have Shown MY GOAL IN THIS manifesto is straightforward. I wish to show the flaws in, and even dangers of, the more sensational implications bandied about in our intellectual culture over whether and how language shapes thought.
However, to just as many English speakers, or, I highly suspect, more, the reaction is a certain bemusement that a language would make such a distinction. ” we might ask. ” That’s certainly how I felt when I first encountered Russian. In that light, there are plenty of languages that do not make color distinctions an English speaker considers fundamental, in which case, to them, English looks as needlessly obsessive as Russian does to us. The Herero people of Namibia in Africa speak a language in which one term refers to both green and blue.
English obsesses with placing events in the present, past, or future, Whorf argued, in contrast to a language like Hopi with no present, past, and future. In Whorf’s sense of Hopi, present, past, and future are in essence the same, corresponding to the cyclical sense of time in Hopi cosmology. Thus it’s not by chance that Hopi has no equivalent to English’s between walk, walked, and will walk: it’s about thought patterns. Culture. In Hopi, whether it’s about yesterday, tomorrow, or right now, you just walk.
The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language by John H. McWhorter, John McWhorter, Audible Studios