There have been some very interesting discussions of the relationship between language and thought recently, including for example, Sean’s absolutely fascinating series of posts about the evolution of colour terms, a great post on descriptions of motion in different languages over at the lousy linguist (here), Guy Deutscher’s article “Does Your Language Shape How You Think?” (for discussions, see e.h. here and here), a slightly less recent piece by Lera Boroditsky in the Wall Street Journal, and an excellent recent discussion of her article by Mark Liberman (here). (see also James’ post, including a great/terrible joke about Whorf).
One of the things that Deutscher wrote in his article was that:
“The area where the most striking evidence for the influence of language on thought has come to light is the language of space — how we describe the orientation of the world around us.”
As I’ve written a bit about this topic on my other blog, Shared Symbolic Storage, I’ll repost a short series of posts over the next couple of days.
As Deutscher said, this is a very fascinating avenue of linguistic research that gives much insight into the nature of language and cognition as well as their relationship. In addition, it also presents us with new facts and considerations we have to take into account when we think about how language and cognition evolved.