I LOVE this kind of stuff. It fascinates me. No, we don’t all share the same number system, nor even the ability to draw a straight line.
Posted by Deana in Language on August 22nd, 2004
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That’s the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in the stronger form, no? Language determines the way we think.
I read that the same thing is true of Australian aboriginal languages — that they don’t have words for numbers other than “one,” “two,” “few,” and “many.” It was supposedly shown, though, that their avility to do arithmetic is comparable to native English speakers when they learn English as a second language.
Here — found the article. “Language and Thought” by David Crystal. From __The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.__ Cambridge University Press, 1987.
More accepted: Language can affect the ease with which we perform certain mental tasks.
Yes, it IS Sapir-Whorf. Good call! I’ll look into that article. I’m teaching Language and Culture starting in January.
Am I the only one who pictures a Klingon when I think of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis?
Global Spin by Chris Radcliff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.