Posts tagged Linguistics
I want to touch on three specific topics from Radiolab’s “Words” and how they interplay with Guy Deutscher’s “Language & Thought” essay (no link, but you can find it on the NY Times website). From “Words” specifically we hear of three basic stories – a man with no language, the transition from isolated “Islands” of word-groups to interconnected cognitive structures, and the impact these words have on our internal thought structure.
These concepts seem to run against the premise of the “Language & Thought” essay, which was of particular interest to me. For the longest time I’ve held the notion that, without the linguistic concepts to contain a given thought or idea, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to actually have that thought. The “Language & Thought” essay focuses on a similar theory, posited by Benjamin Whorf circa 1940, but spends substantial time repudiating that theory on the grounds that it has no basis, and has been scientifically proven inaccurate, before investigating several explicit counterpoints to Whorf’s treatise.