Rethinking Linguistic Relativity

Rethinking Linguistic Relativity

Edited by John J. Gumperz , Edited by Stephen C. Levinson , Series edited by Judith T. Irvine , Series edited by Bambi B. Schieffelin , Series edited by Marjorie Harness Goodwin , Series edited by Joel C. Kuipers , Series edited by Don Kulick , Series edited by John Lucy , Series edited by Elinor Ochs , Series edited by Michael Silverstein


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Linguistic relativity is the claim that culture, through language, affects the way in which we think, and especially our classification of the experienced world. This book reexamines ideas about linguistic relativity in the light of new evidence and changes in theoretical climate. Parts I and II address the classical issues in the relation between thought and language, and the extent of linguistic and cultural universals. Parts III and IV show how changes in our understanding of meaning require that we look at how context enters into interpretation, and how context is constituted in social interaction. The editors have provided a substantial introduction which examines changes in thinking about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in the light of developments in anthropology, linguistics, and cognitive science; and also introductions to each section which will be of especial use to students.

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  • Paperback | 500 pages
  • 162.56 x 223.52 x 33.02mm | 771.1g
  • 19 Jul 1996
  • Cambridge
  • English
  • index
  • 0521448905
  • 9780521448901
  • 819,615

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"...a very substantial volume indeed, contributing as much to the issue of linguistic relativity as to pragmatics and to a meaningful sociolinguistics. It sets out to take stock, and does so with quiet confidence. Those who ignore it will do so at their own peril." Rajendra Singh, Journal of Pragmatics "For a psychologist, this book will be useful in two ways. First, it represents a wealth of interesting evidence about how language influences cognition. Second, it provides a wide-ranging discussion of how the relation between language and thought should be constructed and investigated." Contemporary Psychology "...much of the range of Whorf's interests, from semantic diversity to the nature of culture, are reflected in this important book. The editors provide substantial introductions which make this book of particular use to students, as well as to scholars in anthropology, linguistics, and cognitive science." Claude Vandeloise, Canadian Journal of Linguistics "It is a major collection, with careful, well written - and often witty - papers, which analyze the notoriously difficult underlying logic of the argument, and provide detailed linguistic and ethnographic and/or experimental information on a range of non-Indo-European languages. The book is well worth reading...One of the main merits of the book is that it contains a higher density of ideas per page than the vast majority of books...The book is beautifully printed..." Multilingua "This is a splendid volume. John Gumperz and Stephen Levinson have collected a strong set of chapters and transformed them into a model of what an edited volume should be...readers are given a ringside seat to a fascinating controversy that has gone on for centuries and promises to continue for as far as we can see in the future. For some readers, the major contribution of this volume will be its capacity to provide a coherent picture of the similarities and relationships among various research efforts concerned with linguistic relativity." Semiotica

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