Re: Debate opens anew on language and its effect on cognition

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 15:35:47 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Debate opens anew on language and its effect on cognition
    Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 07:35:47 -0800
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    >(5) Any group of people working in a particular field or sharing a
    >certain set of circumstances will develop a specialized vocabulary for
    >describing their everyday experiences, and no doubt this tells us
    >something about the shared mental constructs by which they comprehend
    >the world. But you know what (and here I concur with Geoffrey Pullum)?
    I think this states the case best. Every society develops as many words as
    they need to talk about the environment in which they live. The shared
    vocabulary is in constant flux and words come and go as the activities of
    the group demand. The eskimos in north alaska now have a large number of
    words about oil and oil drilling in their vocabulary. They are also
    familiar with ecology now and global warming. Television and radio reach
    every part of the earth these days and every language has a method of
    adopting words from other languages. The whole of English was created in
    this way. Language of origin is a standard notation in all English
    dictionaries that I use. There's hardly an entry without one.


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