Language and Linguistic Relativity: The Power of WordsC. D. Schallhorn
LanguageThe limits of your language mean the limits of your world.Ludwig Wittgenstein
How Do Language and Thinking Interact?GrammarVocabularyOxymoronsEuphemismsLanguage as a Cognitive Map
GrammarRomance LanguagesFormal/Informal (tu/usted) (tu/vous)Masculine and Feminine Forms of NounsIn French, victim is feminineProfessions are masculine
More GrammarSpanishSingle is el and laPlural is los regardless of male-female ratio e.g. one male and 1000 females=losSame with French
VocabularyThe Inuit (aka Eskimos)20+ words for snowFiji IslandersNo words for snowMany words for coconuts
More VocabularyArabic (not using adjectives, but different words)700 words to describe camelsheight, weight, age, color, smell, etc.Side notein German, but not English schadenfreude
More VocabularyHawaiians25-30 different words for tides and wavesSurfers-glassy, macking, etc.Wauroni (S. American tribal people)No word for workNew Guinea tribal groupsNo words for war
More VocabularyHopi IndiansA single noun to refer to all flying things and beings (except for birds)Insects=planes=aviators=superman (bermeisch-in German)
More VocabularyAmericans and their love of carsTypes of non-commercial vehicles/transportatione.g. sedan, convertible, 4WD, hatchback, notchback, truck, pickup truck, SUV, mini-SUV, mini-van, Hummer, single and double-cab pickup, etc.
More VocabularyEpithetsslang terms for people/groups we do not likeNotice trends with thiswe tend to associate them with other things we do not like.e.g. epithets for males are female-based, e.g. gurly-man
Euphemistic LanguageWords that disguise the truthAttempt to alter reality by changing/cleansing the language.Associated with lies and deceit. It takes the life out of life.
Euphemism ExampleWWIwhen a soldiers body could no longer take the stresses of war and it shut down, it was calledSHELL SHOCK
In WWII, it was renamed to:BATTLE FATIGUEIn the Korean War, they called it:OPERATIONAL EXHAUSTION
By the end of the Vietnam war, it had been changed to:POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
Examples of double-speakBlind = visually impairedDeaf = hearing impairedCIA kills off a group of people = depopulate an areaA parachute = vertical decelerator
More examplesBombing = air supportA pet = animal companion or household non-human animalUnemployed = non-wagedMessy = organizationally impaired
More examplesEnergetic disassembly = an explosion at a nuclear power plantUsed car = previously owned vehicleA television with non-multicolor capability = a black/white television
Suffice to say that there are many more examples of this disturbing trend.