[DWJ] losing words (was Tropes and other such)

Roger Burton West roger at firedrake.org
Thu Dec 7 08:46:20 EST 2006


On Thu, Dec 07, 2006 at 01:36:24PM +0000, Charles Butler wrote:
>This is the so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, isn't it?

I think the strong form (that language absolutely constrains thought) is
considered to be discredited these days; on the other hand it seems
immediately obvious that language _guides_ thought, and that many people
find it easier to fall into existing patterns of thought (constrained in
part, but not only, by language) than to come up with something new.
There is thus, I think, some worth in trying to maintain in circulation
concepts and words which might otherwise fall into desuetude.

On the "billion" question, I haven't yet had to get the idea across to
anyone who didn't understand "ten to the ninth".

Roger



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