Psycholinguistic Implications for Linguistic Relativity: A Case Study of Chinese

Psycholinguistic Implications for Linguistic Relativity: A Case Study of Chinese

Psycholinguistic Implications for Linguistic Relativity: A Case Study of Chinese

Psycholinguistic Implications for Linguistic Relativity: A Case Study of Chinese

Synopsis

Rather than offering variations in "world view" as evidence for linguistic relativity, this book views language related differences in terms of the facility with which information is processed. Distinctive perceptual, memory, and neurolinguistic aspects of the Chinese language are discussed, as is the cognitive style of the Chinese people. Chinese orthography and other features of morphology and syntax are examined in relation to both bottom-up and top-down cognitive processes. While providing an extensive review of the experimental literature published in English on the Chinese language, this volume also offers a significant sample of the literature originally published in Chinese.

Excerpt

In the last dozen years, there have been five conferences on the psychological aspects of the Chinese language; the first was held in Taiwan and the subsequent ones in Hong Kong. I helped organize three of those conferences and eventually recognized that some systematic review of the topic was appropriate. the result is this book, the drift of which reveals a new aspect of the linguistic relativity hypothesis. I have to thank all the participants of the earlier conferences for much of the substance of this book.

I gratefully acknowledge a few people more specifically. My teacher Charles E. Osgood showed me the vista of psycholinguistics. He had planned to write a Method and Theory in Psycholinguistics as a sequel to his Method and Theory in Experimental Psychology. Alas, his health does not make this possible. I have intended this book to be a kind of Method and Theory in Chinese Psycholinguistics, as a small token of my indebtedness. It will be apparent to the reader that the work of Dr. Ovid Tzeng and Dr. Daisy Hung has been important for the development of some of the ideas here, although our conclusions may not always be the same. I owe to them the idea of linguistic relativity in terms of facility of information processing rather than in terms of world view. An anonymous reviewer made valuable suggestions. Finally, I wish to thank my wife, Dr. Farideh Salili, for her encouragement.

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