Week2.HO.Intro.LIN200 - LIN200F 2012 LIN200 S Introduction...

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12/01/2012 1 LIN200 S Introduction to Language Week 2: Language & Culture; Lexical Categories Lecture: January 19, 2002 Corresponding Reading: Textbook Chapter 7 0. Introduction In today’s lecture I will introduce the notion of LEXICAL CATEGORIES. We will discuss these from two points of view: o Sapir-Whorf hypothesis o Syntactic (distributional) properties At some point in the first hour I will also discuss your first in- tutorial writing activity (Jan. 26) which relates to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis 1. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Basic property of language is that it serves to partition the world (pick out referents and events). Speakers of a language have tacit knowledge of how to map language onto the world. But an empirical question that has fascinated many thinkers: do speakers of different languages do this in different ways? o Cf. Quine’s gavagai problem To what extent are these partitions universal and to what extent can they vary? To what extent do linguistic categories reflect or relate to more general cognitive categories? Do cross-linguistic differences reflect larger cultural cognitive differences? Can cross- linguistic differences actually create cross-cultural cognitive differences? The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: a highly influential view in the earlier
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Week2.HO.Intro.LIN200 - LIN200F 2012 LIN200 S Introduction...

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