Linguistic Relativity Essay

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Language Reflects Culture Margaret Cote, Ojibway Lecturer, Saskatchewan Indian Federated College SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN SEPTEMBER 1985 p21 How does language affect the way a person views the world? In what ways does language shape a person's ideas and attitudes? What influence does language have How does language affect the way a person views the world? In what ways does language shape a person's ideas and attitudes? What influence does language have on the way a person processes information? And in what sense does language cause people's minds to work differently from culture to culture.on the way a person processes information? And in what sense does language cause people's minds to work differently from culture to culture. In this paper I will attempt to point out some facts based on my knowledge as a bilingual, bi-cultural person, and on what I have learned in my studies of linguistics. There was a time in one of my classes when I was teaching the colours when a student asked me: "How do you say purple and orange in Saulteaux (=native Canadian people of Manitoba)? I told the students that words for these colours did not exist in the Saulteaux language. People who speak different languages name colours in different ways. The English system is based on wavelengths (=colors) of light. When a beam of white light is passed through a prism, it appears on a surface as a rainbow of colours, ranging from red to blue and including all the thousands of descriminable hues. To Saulteaux people the rainbow in the sky served as a prism. Saulteaux has words for the three basic colours plus black and white: | Inanimate Intransitive | Animate Intransitive | White | Wapiska | Wapiskisi | Black | Mahkatewa | Mahkatewisi | red, orange, pink | Miskwa | Miskosi | brown, yellow | Osawa | Osawisi | blue, green, purple | Osawaskwa | Osawaskosi |
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