Research in English (Linguistics) A session 5: May 20th, 2011

What is language?
What is language? By dgray_xplane on Flickr, via nfp 2.0
  1. What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?
  2. What is Language? (handout: chapter 2 from “Introduction to Linguistics” by Jean Aitchison).


  1. Answer the 5 questions to the chapter “What is Language?”
  2. Your mother asks you, “What did you study today in Research in English?” What will you tell her? Explain to her in easy language (in Japanese). Then post this as a comment on the class blog or send as an email to me.
  3. Prepare a paragraph from chapter 2 of “The Mother Tongue”.

3 thoughts on “Research in English (Linguistics) A session 5: May 20th, 2011”

  1. some old people decided our words’ name. so pencil is just called pencil. possibly, pencil isn’t call pencil. it is easy to call objects so people decided names. but it is important, i guess. because if there is no name for all things, we can’t learn anything and we couldn’t have mother tongue and lost ourselves identity. and animals don’t have this one. so i think this is a kind of a characteristic of human.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree that when we fall in love, we don’t use words. But is falling in love “thinking”? I don’t think so. So this does not disprove the SW hypothesis.

  3. MY FEELING If anything, I agree with Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. But, I do not think our thought is always limited by our language. For example, people often fall in love with someone at first sight. When I come to think of SWH, however, I mostly think in words, except intuition. I agree that as we learn more languages, our view broadens out more.

Leave a Reply