Language Reflection (Section B)

20 Jan

Part One:
Read the following articles:  and Summarize, criticize, and explain your own opinion about the article. What questions do you have about language + thought? Respond to both articles in 2-paragraphs. Leave your response in the c omment section of this post.

Part Two:
Is it possible to understand a culture whose language you do not speak? Do words allow us to have new thoughts, or do they inhibit new thoughts? Respond to both of these questions in 1-paragraph based on the class discussion and your understanding of the readings.


3 Responses to “Language Reflection (Section B)”

  1. sdf2651 January 20, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    I think that it is possible to understand a culture whose language you do not speak, but only to an extent. I feel that words allow us to have new thoughts, allowing us to think in a very unique way. If a culture has specific words for specific things, that allows us to see things in a very specific manner about certain things. In contrast, looking at the culture talked about in the second article, the Pirahã, they have general words for counting, which means they have general thoughts about certain topics.

  2. mollysigner January 20, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    The article that I read was the one called “Does Language Shape What We Think?” In the article it begins to describe Whorfianism. Whorfianism is the study of language and the way we perceive things. It then goes into more concrete examples such as the Eskimos and the Piraha. I feel that this article, though spreading its point, also it is asking an essential question. “Do more words mean more thoughts?” In the end the writer gave her opinion answering the question, however I feel it should be something that is left not answered at all. To come to your own conclusions without any side of a point, just the facts. Like a court case, the jurors (and the judge) must only listen to the facts. However, even though the article has an opinion to the answer to the question, I at least still have questions. Some of them being; “Can someone still learn to ‘perceive’ another way if immersed in the world or is he or she ‘stuck’ seeing in that way?” I feel that if language is a huge impact on the way people are able to perceive the world it should be closely looked at. It makes me wonder if there is way, when we are still babies to be widely cultured in that respect and to see in multiple ways.
    I feel in answering some of my own questions, to fully understand a culture and language you would have to be born there. Things like culture you have to learn from when you are very young. When your brain is developing and growing. When you yourself are more open to the world and it’s possibilities. I feel that things like understanding something you learn as you start to grow up. The way the people treat you and what you hear and associate certain things with, the way you are being taught and what your being taught. As for words, I think you always need some basic thing, or communicating will be impossible. Eventually actions will start to take to you, but you still will never know completely. Take Helen Keller for example. For years she could not talk, hear or see. The only way she learned how to communicate is through actions, but even then it was limited. The family had to pay attention to her actions and reactions to certain things. They learned that mom meant her hand brushing against her cheek and father was putting on glasses. Even so, you weren’t able to understand what she wanted to say at all. Actions yes, but actions can only go so far as to getting a very simple message across, without any other knowledge though. Who is going to teach her any of these words written within this paragraph, there isn’t an action for them. You need words to help begin to form thoughts, words and ideas.
    You don’t need a wide variety of words however to get a message across all the time but learning new words every once in awhile is needed. As the world evolves and our lives become more complicated. However, in that case words become more of a way to express certain things in a different way. You need a basic set of words (or however they speak) learning more words isn’t always needed. Especially now that we are limiting our words more and more by writing more in short hand and electronically. In addition, you can always “dumb” the vocabulary down. We know certain words have definitions. We use words to make those up! But you need to be around new basic words to help express what you want to say. I don’t think you necessarily need to learn new words to come up with new thoughts, just more words that are already created. You need more options to use to help get your message across. But that doesn’t mean giant vocabulary words, just more basic ones.

  3. Bryan February 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

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