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Ilanet.AbstractMeaningr1.7 - 22 Jun 2016 - 22:23 - GregorioIvanoff

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"I conclude with one case where it seems to me that language may well have a direct effect on thought but that I have never seen discussed in this context. This is in doing math. I am a native speaker of English, but I am, or have been a pretty fluent speaker of Hausa and French, both of which I started learning in the 1960’s and which I have used extensively for periods ranging from a few months to a couple of years in areas where those were the main languages. I can (or maybe “could” at one time) discuss most topics fairly easily in both languages, but I never acquired the ability to do arithmetic in either. Saying, “Seven times eight equals fifty-six,” in English directly translates, in my mind, to 7 X 8 = 56. Saying, “Bakwai sau takwas hamsin da shida ke nan,” in Hausa does not. I first have to mentally convert it into English. That is, in my native language, there is a direct connection between the language and the abstract meaning that is not there in either Hausa or French. I have not surveyed native speakers of other languages about whether they have the same experience, but informally I have observed such speakers, who were also fluent speakers of English, doing arithmetic calculations orally in their first language. I have no explanation, linguistic or otherwise for this. Given my belief in the speciousness of the Whorf hypothesis, I would like to believe that there is some other explanation than language directly affecting thought, but at this time I have no plausible evasion!" (SCHUH, 2011).


Keywords: higher education in language, society in language, mathematics in labor, society in meaning, ways of knowing, cognitive development


Palavras-chave: diferenças em cognição


Português: significado abstrato


SCHUH, Russell G. Reply to Lera Boroditsky "How Language Shapes Thought" (Scientific American, February 2011). UCLA Department of Linguistics, September 21, 2011. Available from < http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/schuh/lx001/Discussion/d01_response_to%20Boroditsky.pdf >. access on 6 January 2013.


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-- GregorioIvanoff - 18 Apr 2016
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