Through the Window of Language: Assessing the Influence of Language Diversity on Thought

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THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 2171-679X, Vol: 20, Issue: 3, Page: 299-309

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John A. LUCY
Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
article description
The way we understand language diversity, how languages differ in representing reality, affects our approach to understanding linguistic relativity, how that diversity affects thought. Historically, researchers divided over whether the diverse representations of reality across languages were natural or conventional, but all tacitly assumed an optimal fit between language and reality. Twentieth century anthropological linguists interested in linguistic relativity have questioned this assumption and sought to characterize “reality” with-out it by using domain- or structure-centered approaches. Arguments are presented favoring structure-centered approaches, along with a case illustration. A concluding discussion emphasizes the broader significance of language diversity in human development.