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This discussion we want to consider human perception.  Since the readings focus on a variety of linguistic structures, I am posting a number of discussion threads for you to choose from.  You will be writing three posts in total – at least one substantial discussion of one of the topics and two replies. All of your posts can be substantial, addressing the different topics.


Semantic Domain of Spatial Frames of Reference, Semantic Domain of Color, or Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

At least one post is your substantial interpretation of the topic.  Your two other posts are replies to classmates, looking for similarities, differences, patterns and/or trends.  All three posts should be at least 250-300 words in length.

First off, I want you to read Ahearn’s Chapter 4.  Chapter 4 is a bit longer, as well as a bit repetitive, but it does include some important information.  The chapter is broken down into sections pertaining to Linguistic Relativity, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, investigating the effects of language on thought, language in general, linguistic structures and language use.

Israel Espinoza
Mar 23, 2021
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
Could we function without language?
The emphasis of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis gives us so much depth in how language and relativity have in common. I believe it goes further
than just our expressions that give life to language, and that would be our uniqueness. We all might be in the same world, but we all think
differently than each other. Although it is very logical to understand that we language our actions. I really like Whorf’s approach to not accepting
western influence in cultural universals, he was for open borders when it came to language, there was no culture that is better than any other.
Perhaps, in my opinion the values of language have decreased, because language is now used to create hate and put people down. Even if it is an
expression, the relativity in language has revolutionized with the cultural stress that we are experiencing. We needed a language to ask for help,
and now some people use it to terrorize others. So, we can function without language, there is no doubt in that, however, our psychological state
of mind provokes situations that create language. Nonetheless, our social stratification has created a ception of what is civilized and
uncivilized. This perception has taken language to form different cultures within cultures, which is the future of us people and the hope that
language prevails as a way of communication to function peacefully with each other. In conclusion, we all are part of language, and we should
welcome and appreciate other views and language so we can be a happier society.
5 Reply
Sophia Palatella
Mar 26, 2021
o Topic- The Semantic Domain of Color
This section from Ahearn, chapter 4, focuses on whether the perception and terminology of color is more universal or variant among different
cultures. Although the writing emphasizes the conclusions drawn from studies on this topic to be “conflicting” amongst one another, I was
fascinated to consider the ways in which a person’s culture might impact something I previously assumed to be plainly universal. One example
provided in the text that interested me was a study from Jonathan Winawer in 2007 that focused on English and Russian color terms dividing the
color spectrum differently. Because the Russian language has clearly defining terms for more specific shades of blue than the English language,
the study found Russians to have an advantage when assigned to differentiate the shades. This was conducted more than 20 years after an
experiment from Paul Kay and Willett Kempton successfully demonstrated a Whorfian effect through comparing a language that differentiates
the colors green and blue to one that categorizes the colors into the same descriptive term. When asked to separate color chips (both green and
blue), those who categorized the colors into one term had a more difficult time separating the chips as did those who already grew accustomed to
labeling the colors separately in their language. All of this can allow us to entertain the thought, even if conclusions are still conflicting, that
language can play a large role in the ways in which we interpret what is occurring around us (even when it seems cognitive).
5 Reply

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