Linguistic determinism and relativity

In philosophy determinism is a theory of causation where what precedes a situation determines the outcome. While this is a secular theory is related to its religious cousin, predestination. Linguistic determinism is the theory that a language determines the way you think of the world. There is a weak version termed linguistic relativity where it…More

Is “language isolate” a misnomer?

If you really think about it languages cannot be an isolate, that is, unless at the creation of the language it developed out of a population that had no language. It is now accepted that about 70,000 years ago our species spread from Africa into Europe and Asia. As these populations migrated they some settled.…More

Language Acquisition Device or shared common reality?

There are three claims that Chomsky makes about the existence of Language Acquisition Device (LAD). The first claim is that children can understand all kinds of sentences without having to have heard or learn them before. To this we can say the same thing about adults as well. In fact, every time I open a…More

How to pronounce “Reiwa”?

The first recorded instance of “Reiwa” used was at the announcement of the new era name on April 1st (no joke). Cabinet minister Suga Yoshihide pronounced it as REI-wa. People working in the television industry have said they also pronounce it as REI-wa because that was the way it was announced, but the pronunciation will…More

Using Leio app for research

There re many a times when I know I read something somewhere but forget where I had read it. Searching through all the books or articles that I think it might be consumes a lot of time and energy, that is, until I found the app, Leio. While Leio is not designed for research but…More

Motivation for learning a language

Did you know that in Japan English is a compulsory subject from Junior high school, from around the age of twelve. And soon this will be lowered to from ten years of age, starting at elementary fifth grade. And they continue until high school. Plus they do two years at university, giving students a total…More

Clipboard hack for R in MAC

When I first started using the statistical software R for statistics I had started on a Windows computer. For here the copying and pasting function is read.table(“clipboard”, header=T) The exact same function on a MAC computer is read.table(pipe(“pbpaste”), header=T) Simple as that. I’d someone had told me this much earlier.More

Let it be – words are meant to be “lost”

Charles Darwin would have made a great linguist. In his thinking of life and evolution it is not someone who decides on what survives and what dies. It the larger mechanism of existence that “decides” so. Similarly, words should survive if there is a need for it to do so, not to be forced so…More

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1. There is something to be said about linguistic determinism, and in particular relativity. Linguistic relativity says that the form or structure of a language influences the way people think, or world-view. The often quoted example is the Inuit people and the words for “snow”. Whereas in English we have snow (and perhaps sleet and slush) the…More