Make us homepage
Add to Favorites
FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).

Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Linguistics » Linguistic relativism: Logic, grammar, and arithmetic in cultural comparison


Linguistic relativism: Logic, grammar, and arithmetic in cultural comparison

 
47

Linguistic relativism: Logic, grammar, and arithmetic in cultural comparison

Christian Greiffenhagen and Wes Sharrock


Linguistic relativism is the thesis that the grammatical structures of different languages imply different conceptions of reality. In this paper we critically discuss one form of linguistic relativism, which argues that grammatical differences between the English and Yoruba language exhibit differences in how English and Yoruba speakers 'see' reality (namely in terms of 'spatiotemporal particulars' and 'sortal particulars', respectively). We challenge the idea that linguistic relativism is an empirical thesis, i.e., a thesis that is substantiated through anthropological examples. We show that linguistic relativism is based on two assumptions: firstly, that the purpose of language is to describe the world; secondly, that being able to speak presupposes an ontological theory of the ultimate constituents of the world. We argue that the attempt to extract the outline of that theory from the language inevitably distorts the portrayal of language-using practice itself.
Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Simplifying in order to create stark binaries
3. The ontological theory encoded in language
4. Talking about and in the world
5. From numbers to number names
6. From number names to theories of number
7. Different ontologies: spatiotemporal and sortal particulars
8. How is the comparison done?

8.1. Neutral/independent standard
8.2. Translation from one language to another

9. Describing the world correctly
10. The indiscernibility of ontologies
11. Conclusion
Acknowledgements
References




Purchase Linguistic relativism: Logic, grammar, and arithmetic in cultural comparison from Amazon.com
Dear user! You need to be registered and logged in to fully enjoy Englishtips.org. We recommend registering or logging in.
Tags: relativism, language, thesis, linguistic, differences