[percy-l] Linguistic determinism exists in some form

Tim Cole tcole at adobe.com
Wed Aug 25 13:04:19 EDT 2004

Pretty provocative findings. I've always been skeptical of language
determining the thoughts we are *able* to have (because our history is
replete with humans thinking outside the box of established vocabularies and
inventing new words for newly discovered phenomena or newly formulated
ideas), but it seems entirely plausible to me that language sets the
conceptual boundaries in which the average person typically functions, and
within which cultures move and evolve. In other words, while we're able to
transcend the boundaries set by our vocabularies, it's a minority of people
who put forth the effort to do so.

Pirahã High math classes would have been a breeze, though. When in doubt,
just answer 'many' and you're probably looking good.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Wade Riddick
> Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 7:48 AM
> To: Walker Percy List
> Subject: [percy-l] Linguistic determinism exists in some form
> Language affects what thoughts we can and can't have.
> <http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996303>
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at 

Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy

More information about the Percy-L mailing list