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[IJAL, vol. 83, no. 1, January 2017, pp. 173–201]© 2017 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.0020–7071/2017/8301–0006$10.00173FROM PATTERNS IN LANGUAGE TO PATTERNS IN THOUGHT: RELATIVITY REALIZED ACROSS THE AMERICAS1CALEBEVERETTUNIVERSITYOFMIAMIAmong the many results Boas envisioned for the documentation of American indig-enous languages was a clearer delineation of some fundamental facets of human psychol-ogy. This paper examines the subsequent realization of that particular vision, outlining some of the ways in which research with speakers of American languages has helped illuminate human cognition. The focus is on key findings that offer support for linguistic relativity, the influence of linguistic disparities on thought evident in non-linguistic be-havior. These findings relate to spatial, temporal, and numerical cognition. The relevant data surveyed offer compelling evidence that some cross-linguistic differences impact cognitive habits. A pivotal point is underscored throughout the paper: Despite the cross-field nature of the findings on this topic, those findings are ultimately contingent on the research of linguistic fieldworkers who have meticulously described typologically distinct languages. Through their research, the Boasian vision for psychological insights via the description of American languages has been realized.[KEYWORDS:linguistic relativity, cognition, time, space, number]1. Introduction. The Boasian vision of the documentation of languages indigenous to the Americas was motivated, at least partially, by the hopes of shedding light on human psychology (Boas 1917:5). Boas, like Sapir, Whorf, and others in his intellectual lineage, believed that these languages offered potentials for deep insights into human cognition. Such insights could serve, inter alia, as a source of further evidence against the social and linguistic Darwinism that had taken hold in many circles, including academic ones, in the late nineteenth century. After all, a commonplace view when Boas founded this Journal was that the languages of those peoples autochthonous to the Americas were primitive, representing some earlier stage in a distorted conception of the evolution of grammars. This view is reflected in Boas’s own references to the “primitive” languages of North America, surely an anodyne label at the time. Boas’s seemingly sanguine view of linguistic documentation has actually proved prescient—grammatical descriptions of American languages have subsequently played a prominent role in dispelling 1 This work was made possible in part by a generous award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely my own, of course. The work has benefited from the detailed and insightful remarks of an anonymous IJALreviewer.
international journal of american linguistics174the notion of more or less evolved contemporary languages and have con-comitantly helped to dispel the notion that indigenous American cultures are less advanced on some evolutionary scale.

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