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Academic Enquiry
The Nature of Wisdom
Science and Wisdom
Eco/Sustainable Literacy
Linguistic Relativity
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Linguistic Relativity

Just how profoundly does the language that we use actually effect the way that we receive and process information? There are over 5000 languages in use today and each conveys a slightly different worldview. There are also languages understood only by those with particular knowledge and understanding such as mathematical formulae or musical notations. Language helps us to share our innermost processes in a symbolic way with others.

Language also demonstrates cultural and enviornmental priorities. Thus an eskimo might have 14 words for different types of snow, whereas western society has numerous names for different types of financial transaction. We dissect, categorise, and accord significance to the outside world according to the rules and expectations of our cultural environments.

Linguistic relativity suggests that people with similar linguistic backgrounds tend to interpret physical evidence in one way, whereas the same evidence can be interpreted in radically different ways by those using different forms of language.

For example, most indigenous American languages are 'verb, rather than 'noun' oriented and this fundamentally changes the way that they understand the world. Using nouns we compartmentalise the world into separate 'things', whereas using verbs we see the world as a process of dynamic movement.

In other words language doesn't just help us describe our worlds, but assists us to create and construct our worlds.

'The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously
built up on the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same worlds with different labels attached'

Edward Sapir

Is Whorf's Relativity Einsteins' Relativity? Dan Moonhawk Alford

Reality, Mind and Language as Field, Wave and Particle Dan Moonhawk Alford