CHAPTERThe relation of language and thought has occupied the center stage in
many theoretical discussions on the psychological foundation of culture.
One of the most controversial views is embodied in the Whorfian hypothesis, which holds that the grammatical structures of markedly different languages cause their speakers to develop markedly different cultural representations of the reality. Reviews of the Whorfian hypothesis (e.g., Brown,
1976; Glucksberg, 1988; Pinker, 1994; Rosch, 1987) find little support for linguistic determinism. However, recent advances in cognitive psychology
and cultural studies reveal that the use of language in human interaction
may play an important role in the evolution and maintenance of cultural
representations. In this chapter, we propose a model to describe the relationships between culture, language, communication, and shared cognitions. Fig. 4.1 illustrates the cyclical relation among the four variables in
the model. It assumes that:
Language, Cognition, and Reality:
Constructing Shared Meanings
Ivy Y.-M. Lau
University of Hong Kong
|• ||Language is a carrier of cultural meanings.|
|• ||Cultural meanings are evoked when language is used in interpersonal
|• ||The use of language in communication will increase the accessibility of
existing shared representations in the culture. In addition, through communication, private, idiosyncratic representations will be transformed|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Psychological Foundations of Culture.
Contributors: Mark Schaller - Editor, Christian S. Crandall - Editor.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ.
Publication year: 2004.
Page number: 77.
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