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Linguistic Relativity (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics [Acl]) Paperback – June 20, 2016
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About the Author
Caleb Everett, University of Miami, Florida
- Publisher : De Gruyter Mouton; 1st edition (June 20, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 308 pages
- ISBN-10 : 3110484927
- ISBN-13 : 978-3110484922
- Item Weight : 14.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 0.77 x 9.06 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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His conclusion is that both universals and relativity exist. This seems to reflect a trend from many linguists that have traditionally labeled themselves as universalists or relativists. While there are physical, psychological, ecological, and cultural constraints to how we view our world, language also seems to constrain our thinking - at least when we are using language. In fact, depending on the type of task, language influences our thinking in different ways: either a) by increasing or decreasing existing ability in a certain area or b) by creating habits that increase one's likelihood of thinking about certain ideas or concepts. An example of the former is the way numerals enable people to make a connection between precise counting of the numbers 1-3 and analog accuracy for numbers higher than 3. Everett believes that the reason people with numbers function better at precise counting of numbers over 3 is that it provides a strategy to connect the two mathematical strategies. This may or may not be conditioned by a memorization of numbers in sequence. An example of the latter is the way color terminology biases the ability of subjects to distinguish objective wavelength differences in color. Interestingly, it has been shown in research that linguistic relativity of the latter sort can be countered by linguistic interference (when an unrelated linguistic task is given during the color matching process). Linguistic relativity of the prior type can also be affected by explicit teaching of new terminology both with relation to numbers and other similar linguistic biases. The malleability of cognition suggests that linguistic relativity influences or "induces" certain types of thought, but does not determine it. As Everett says in his conclusion, language does not change how one CAN think, but only affects how one DOES tend to think.
Overall, a great book, though I would make a caveat that it is a dense read. In addition, there are between half a dozen and a dozen typographical errors including at least one of substantive nature.