3.Lingustic Relativity

3.Lingustic Relativity - Linguis'c rela'vity Ben Bergen...

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Unformatted text preview: Linguis'c rela'vity Ben Bergen Associate Professor UCSD Cogni've Science COGS 1 Languages are really different Spanish la mujer el hombre la llave el puente la niña German die Frau der Mann der Schlüssel die Brücke das Mädchen English the woman the man the key the bridge the girl The big ques'on Does it maMer? The big ques'on Edward Sapir: No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as represen'ng the same social reality. The worlds in which different socie'es live are dis'nct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels aMached. The big ques'on Benjamin Lee Whorf: We dissect nature along lines laid down by our na've language. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscope flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguis'c systems of our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are par'es to an agreement to organize it in this way—an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the paMerns of our language [...] all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguis'c backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated. A key ques'on in cogni've science •  Some aspects of how the mind works may be innate and therefore universal. •  Others may be the product of our experiences in the world, and therefore different across cultures and languages. •  Of course, not everything about our mind is innate and universal, and not everything is learned. The meaty ques'ons are: how much of each, and how does this work? And another •  Our different cogni've systems affect each other. •  But in order to func'on efficiently and consistently, they have to be encapsulated, or modular to some extent. •  How much do different cogni've systems affect one another? Space •  Where is the man, rela've to the woman? Space east –  Absolute frame of reference Space uphill –  Absolute frame of reference Space to her le- –  Intrinsic frame of reference Space to the right –  Rela've frame of reference Space The pineapple is to the right of the telephone  ­  rela've The pineapple is to the telephone’s lec  ­  intrinsic Space Guugu Yimithirr uses only absolute frame of reference, even for tabletop space. Space •  Do your language’s preferred frames of reference influence your non ­linguis'c cogni'on? •  E.g., do speakers of absolute frame ­of ­ reference languages think about space in absolute terms more than speakers of languages that prefer rela've and intrinsic reference? Space •  Tzeltal Mayan: prefers absolute frame of reference –  uphill –  downhill –  lateral Space •  Dutch: uses absolute only for large distances Spa'al configura'on of objects Spa'al configura'on of objects Paths of mo'on Paths of mo'on Space •  The language you speak appears to affect the way you recall spa'al rela'ons and paths of mo'on Learning about spa'al rela'ons Preferen'al looking Preferen'al looking Learning about spa'al rela'ons Time and space Time and space Time and space •  Primes ver'cal •  Targets horizontal –  August comes later than June –  June comes earlier than August Time and space Time and space Time and space Color goluboy siniy Color Color Russian English Color Russian English Color Russian English Different wri'ng systems Different wri'ng systems X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Different wri'ng systems X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Different wri'ng systems 5 4 3 2 1 0 5 4 3 2 1 0 5 4 3 5 2 4.5 1 4 0 3.5 3 2.5 5 2 4 1.5 1 3 0.5 2 0 1 0 English Chinese Taiwanese Different wri'ng systems Different wri'ng systems Different wri'ng systems 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% English Chinese Taiwanese Gramma'cal gender Spanish la mujer el hombre la llave el puente la niña German die Frau der Mann der Schlüssel die Brücke das Mädchen English the woman the man the key the bridge the girl Gramma'cal gender Gramma'cal gender descrip1ons “elegant” ra1ngs (+fem) +2 “shiny” +1 “'ny” +3 “strong”  ­2 “hard”  ­2 “jagged”  ­1 Spanish Germans How might rela'vism work? •  •  •  •  Perceptual tuning and aMen'on Re ­representa'on Structure mapping Costs of computa'on References Boroditsky, L. (2001). Does language shape thought? English and Mandarin speakers' concep'ons of 'me. Cogni1ve Psychology, 43(1), 1 ­22. Boroditsky, L. (2003). Linguis'c Rela'vity. In Nadel, L. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Cogni1ve Science. MacMillan Press: London, UK, pages 917 ­921. Boroditsky, L., Schmidt, L., & Phillips, W. (2003). Sex, Syntax, and Seman'cs. To appear in Gentner & Goldin ­Meadow (Eds.,) Language in Mind: Advances in the study of Language and Cogni1on. Chan, T. and B. Bergen. (2005). Wri'ng Direc'on Influences Spa'al Cogni'on. In Proceedings of the Twenty ­Seventh Annual Conference of the Cogni1ve Science Society. McDonough, L., Choi, S., Mandler, J. (2003) Understanding spa'al rela'ons: Flexible infants, lexical adults. Cogni1ve Psychology, 46, 229 ­259. Sapir, E. (1929). The status of linguis'cs as a science. Language 5. Whorf, B. L. (1956). Language, Thought and Reality: selected wri1ngs of Benjamin Lee Whorf. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Winawer, J., WiMhoc, N., Frank, M., Wu, L., Wade, A., and Boroditsky, L. (2007). Russian blues reveal effects of language on color discrimina'on. PNAS. ...
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