Where would you put tomorrow?” or “Imagine this is lunch. Where would you put breakfast?” • English speakers: left of the initial point • Mandarin speakers: top of the initial point
Language and Thought • Lera Boroditsky experiments: • Time and Space • Experiment with buttons on the keyboard. Which one is faster? Second First First Second English speakers: (1) – fast, (2) – slow Mandarin speakers: (1) – fast, (2) – slow (1) (2)
Language and Thought • Lera Boroditsky experiments: • Time and Space • Experiment with buttons on the keyboard. Which one is faster? First Second Second First English speakers: no difference between (1) and (2) Mandarin speakers: (1) – fast, (2) – slow (1) (2)
Language and Thought • Lera Boroditsky experiments: • Color terms: • Russian has two words for “blue”: • goluboj (light blue) and sinij (dark blue) • Task: “Match the square on top to the one of the squares on the bottom” • English speakers: speed (1) = speed (2) • Russian speakers: speed of (1) > speed of (2) goluboj sinij (2) (1) blue
Do the words we use influence how we think? • Does using sexist language tend to make one think in a sexist manner? • Waitress, stewardess, actress, bimbo… • Steven Pinker coined the phrase the euphemism treadmill to describe the process in which euphemistic neologisms acquire all the negative associations of the words they were coined to replace. • crippled > disabled > challenged > differently abled • retarded > mentally handicapped • fat > heavy > metabolically challenged • short > vertically challenged
Discussion • Do euphemisms like “ sanitation engineer ” or “ administrative assistant ” make us think more positively about people holding those jobs? • Does German word Schadenfreude (joy of seeing others suffer) mean that Germans have a special capacity for cruelty?
- Spring '10
- Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous languages of the Americas, Native American languages