Does the language you speak influence how you think? Flashcards Preview

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What are untranslatable words?

Words than don't have a good parallel with English, nothing is ever fully translatable but can get there with success by talking

e.g. the piece of shame - the last bit that no one wants to take (American problem not a British one)


What does it mean if two languages have different features?

The speakers of these languages might think differently


Sapir-whorf hypothesis

Sapir - looked at relationship between cultural worldview and language

Whorf - proposed idea of linguistic relativity


What are the two versions of the Sapir whorf hypothesis?

Linguistic relativity - features of language influence/bias patterns of thought

Linguistic determinism - features of language determine/constrain patterns of thought


What happens if your language doesn't have a word for a particular idea concept?

You can't conceive of or understand it - untranslatable words


What does it mean to have a word for something?

Rainbow - single word for it in some countries but we have a compound made up of two words - French have a phrase


Limitation of untranslatable words

We know what people are talking about, we just don't have a particular word for it


Whorf - Hopi

Claimed that Hopi has no words, grammar or expressions that refer directly to what we call time, so they have no notion of time as a smooth flowing continuum in which everything proceeds at an equal rate out of future, through present and into the past


Who questioned Whorf?

Malotki - wrote a 600 page discourse on the grammar of time in Hopi


Do people think differently from different languages?

Yes - we know this because their languages are different


Ways of testing linguistic relativity

Colour categories - categorical perception: continuous quantities divided categories. the boundaries between colours depends on the language


Colour categories - Robertson et al

Berinmo has 5 basic colour terms vs English 11
across tasks - categorical perception of colour was aligned with colour terms, better in the categories used by their own language. perception and thought is guided by language categories


Who dunnit? Study 1

Intentional act vs an accidental act
ways of talking about acts:
agentive - she broke
non-agentive - it broke

Watched a video, what happened? who did it?
Differences in language
For intentional acts: no difference
For accidental acts: English speakers used more agentive descriptions than Spanish - say she broke even if accidental


Who dunnit? Study 2

Differences in memory
intentional acts: no difference
accidental acts: English speakers remembered the correct actor more frequently than Spanish
object orientation - no baseline language differences in memory ability


Conclusion of who Dunn it?

Differences in language influenced the encoding/memory of the event


What do agentive and non agentive descriptions refer do?

Agentive - she broke
Non-agentive - it broke