• January 3rd, 2017


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Instruction; In another pair of companion chapter, “Cultural Signifieds” and “Similarities and Differences,” Agar again focuses on meaning as the arena, so to speak, where we are able to see language and culture come together. He here introduces us to the two predominant versions of the widely-known—and usually misunderstood—Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which postulates the possibility that different languages may actually constitute different worlds of experience—or at least different ways of seeing the world, different modes of thought. We get a fairly good discussion comparing linguistic determinism with linguistic relativism, language as a prison which more or less completely confines and compels thinking, or as a familiar room, a rather routine place to which thinking has become comfortably accustomed. In either case, culture now becomes more a matter of mental processes, of cognitive functioning, if you will, giving this kind of inquiry a decidedly psychological bent, and with philosophical overtones to boot—given its implications for far-reaching ruminations on the connections between language, thought, and reality.

Read the instructor’s introduction to the lesson (see above).
Read (28 pages): “Cultural Signifieds” (In Language Shock, 61-72) and “Similarities and Differences” (In Language Shock, 73-88)
Review the concepts and terms mentioned in the reading assignment (see below).
Write a carefully constructed and coherent 250-500 word essay in response to the reading assignment.

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