Language, Culture, Cognition – How Do They Intersect?

This chapter approaches the question of how languages shape cognition in terms of language use and examines differences in the accessibility of specific linguistic categories across different languages. Here we take a position espoused by Kay. He points out that it is possible to conceptualize and examine linguistic relativity (with more experimental control) in terms of a single language that provides its speakers with different ways of talking and/or representing and, as we shall argue later, perceiving the same thing. This conceptualization of the interface between language and cognition may furnish a novel perspective on the crossroads between language, culture, and cognition. Thus, the central body of the research presented in this chapter is obtained within a single linguistic community and is concerned with how different generic linguistic categories influence perception. This research has a variety of advantages, as we shall detail in the next section. For one thing, the work is experimental and not correlational. Furthermore, the fact that it is conducted within the same linguistic community allows tighter control over data collection than comparative research. We then extrapolate from these within-culture differences in how generic linguistic categories shape perception to between-culture differences on the basis of systematic cultural differences in language use.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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