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13 - Anthro Franz Boas The Boasian Legacy The formal...

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Anthro 10/13/09 Franz Boas* The Boasian Legacy The formal properties of language reflect the collective mental life of its speakers because language and culture group things together in a similar manner. Benjamin Lee Whorf* Thinking is intrinsically related to linguistic meaning Language has overt (Phenotype) and covert (Cryptotype) aspects Cryptotypes conceal metaphysics (branch of philosophy that seeks to explain the nature of reality) “We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages” (Whorf 1940) Thought-World Hypothesis Language = a tool kit that builds a “thought world Language sets the conditions for how its speakers construct reality Examples of a Thought World: SAE (Standard Average European) Time = Matter Units of time = objects Passage of time = endless line of identical objects Examples of a Thought World: Hopi Time = a process Units of time = cycles Passage of time = endless repetition of same cycle Hopi Thought-World – Temporal Duration
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