At the end of the course the student will be able to:|
Describe and evaluate a broad range of approaches to studying the relationship between language and thinking;
- Describe how languages differ from one another;
- Describe and critically evaluate whether the language someone speaks affects the way they think;
- Discuss and evaluate the methodological bases of research on language and thought;
- Write a research proposal on a specific research area in the domain of language and thought.
What is the relationship between the language we speak and the way we think? Humans are unique not only for having language, but for using over 6,000 distinct languages. There is pervasive diversity at every level of linguistic structure. For example, some languages only have a dozen contrastive speech sounds (phonemes), others have hundreds, and some do not even have a single speech sound (e.g., sign languages). Similar variation is also seen in semantics and syntax. English has no grammatical gender, German has three gender classes (masculine, feminine, neuter), while some African language have a dozen. Does this linguistic variation mean that people who speak different languages think differently about the world? And what kind of thinking can babies and other animals do without language? This class will examine variation between languages, and explore the consequences language variation has for how people perceive, remember, and reason when making decisions.|
Note for exchange students: There will be no possibility to take the written exam at a different time, place or country.