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January 08, 2004

Variation on Universal Grammar?

This article in The Economist highlights research that indicates that language affects the way we look at the world. Much of the same territory is tread by The Geography of Thought, and I suspect that the linguists will find that this is only an overlay over the "Universal Grammar," just like the author of The Geography of Thought pretty much admitted by the end of the book that individuals could easily be re-trained to "think differently" (more Western or Eastern). Of course, language acquisition capacity drops a great deal after adolescence, so there are differences. The researcher mentioned above is an evolutionary psycholinguist, so I am skeptical that he will give much comfort to the tabula rasa crowd who are prone to assert that ideas precede the reality of the world around us.

Posted by razib at 03:55 PM