Grammatical Categories and Cognition: A Case Study of the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis
John Lucy uses original, empirical data to examine the Sapir-Whorf linguistic relativity hypothesis: the proposal that the grammar of the particular language that we speak affects the way we think about reality. The author compares the grammar of American English with that of the Yucatec Maya, an indigenous language spoken in Southeastern Mexico, focusing on differences in the number marking patterns of the two languages. He then identifies distinctive patterns of thought relating to these differences by means of a systematic assessment of memory and classification preferences among speakers of both languages.
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Background of the comparative research in Yucatan Mexico
Information on fieldwork and task administration
Comparison of grammatical categories nominal number in English and Yucatec
Description of English
Description of Yucatec
Comparison of Yucatec and English
Picture task series
alternate pictures analysis anaphoric animacy array assessment basis binomial test changes in number characterization cognitive comparison complementary distribution context contrast cross-linguistic cultural description task developed differences discrete English and Yucatec English speakers example formal forms given grammatical number groups imply Index indicate number indication of number individual inflection interpretation involved lexical items lexical noun phrases linguistic relativity hypothesis markedness mass nouns Mayan meaning morphosyntactic multiplicity neutral nominal number nonplural nonverbal noun phrase types number marking patterns numeral classifiers object type obligatory pluralization one-tailed Fisher original picture overt pattern of mention Picture set plural marking possible prediction procedures pronoun quantitative modifiers recall task reference referential features relevant reliable response scores selections semantic sign test similarity judgment task Singular specific standard objects syntactic Tarascan target objects task series triads typical unit various verb verbal village Yucatec and English Yucatec lexical Yucatec Maya Yucatec speakers Yucatecan
Page 2 - the languages of the communities being studied must be contrasted as to how they differently construe a common reality. This will involve a formal analysis of the morphosyntactic categories of the language with special attention to their referential values, that is, their relationship to the contextual surround.