Unit 2: Language and Communication

There is no doubt that language is a huge part of culture but language was primarily seen as a tool for communication by the world up until Worf’s theory of Language. His theory in very simple terms was that language constrained thought. This very simple idea made a very large claim as Guy Deutcher from the New York times puts it “Whorf let loose an alluring idea about language’s power over the mind, and his stirring prose seduced a whole generation into believing that our mother tongue restricts what we are able to think.” I choose to put this article in my blog because Deutcher mentions the flaws in Worph’s theory and begins to explore the idea of a new theory linguistic relativism. To get a better understanding of Worfs ideas take a look at the video “Does Language Shape the Way We Think? Linguistic Relativism & Linguistic Determinism” (NativLang).
I also included other material on the blog like the article by Celeste Biever who talks about recent studies that suggest language may shape human thought. It was important to include this because it shows that even though linguistic determinism is no longer widely accepted there are still those that continue to argue for it. The other article I added was by William J Cromie who talks about an interesting question, which came first language or thought? The argument that thought is what created language is used against linguistic determinism, but can we really know if thought came before language? Cromie makes some interesting comments on this topic.
Language is a means to communication and while some believe it can limit our thought I would have to disagree this is not a linear relationship but more a triangular relationship like seen in picture 3 on the blog. The idea of my posts was to show a little insight into the different ways of seeing Language and I hope to have achieved that with the combination of videos and articles as well as pictures.