How are words per minute calculated

Linguistic relativity principle is a term coined by the American engineer and linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, which describes the old theory of language that the use of a single language connects a specific view of the world, reality. In short, it is often said that language determines thinking. But Whorf was not a determinist. For Whorf, "the fact that languages ​​subdivide nature in many different ways is indisputable. The relativity of all conceptual systems, including ours, and their dependence on language become evident." (Whorf 1963: 13)
The linguist and anthropologist Edward Sapir argues more differently in his 1933 classic "Language" / "Die Sprache":
"Seen from the point of view of language, one could regard thinking as the strongest concentration that language provides if one exhausts each of the elements of a normal speech act to its full conceptual content. It follows without further ado that thinking and speaking are not In the extreme, language can be understood as the outward-facing side of thinking, on the highest abstract level, where symbolic forms of expression are at home. I am convinced that language is essentially a prerational function. It works itself, so to speak quite modestly up to the point where the thought that is present as a latent possibility in the categories and forms of language can finally be read out of these categories and forms ird, the function of language is to provide already finished thoughts with a name tag. " (Sapir 1961: 22f.)

It is less controversial that language is embedded in culture, in practice and reflects this. Languages ​​mark what is important in our practice, what occurs again and again, and that may be something different in another way of life. This happens in the process of processing knowledge, as already indicated by Sapir. In speaking we grasp what we need for categorization for specific purposes; the categories are designed so that the purposes can be realized. The German system of kinship terms is completely sufficient for us, for other cultures it may be too differentiated or much too simple: Take a look at the Japanese. Isn't it primarily a question of how the categories of knowledge are linguistically shaped for and by a social practice?
It is also undisputed that specific knowledge processing services can be provided independent of language, such as recognizing places we have already been, of people we have met before, access to color nuances and shapes. We can then use the language and its categories again, we have to if we want to pass on what we have recognized. (> Culture). Communicative participation is also possible for blind people by means of language: Forschner (2006) has shown how birth blind people can also develop genuinely visual concepts such as colors conceptually through their interaction with sighted people and use them in a communicatively meaningful way; The field-like embedding in the symbol field (syntagmatic and paradigmatic) plays a supporting role, which is updated when the forms are used, so visual knowledge is acquired as linguistic knowledge.
The basic question is with regard to the relationship between the (statically defined) language and the (statically composed) Think difficult to edit. We cannot imagine modern man without language.
Humboldt conceived the language as a common speaking-thinking, in and with the language the mind works in dialogue. The language does not exist as such, but only as a single language, he puts it:
"But thinking is not only dependent on language in general, but also, to a certain extent, on each and every one of them." (...)
Since the nations now make use of these language elements that were already present before them, by adding their nature to the representation of the objects, the expression is not indifferent, and the concept is not independent of language. The human being conditioned by language, however, acts back on it, and each special one is therefore the result of three different, coinciding effects, real nature, objects, insofar as it produces an impression on the mind, the subjective of the nation, and the peculiar language through the foreign basic material added to it, and through the force with which everything that has once passed into it, even if originally created entirely freely, only allows further training within certain limits of analogy. "(Humboldt 1963: 16, 19)

It is very difficult to conceptually separate language and thinking in such a way that connections, dependencies, etc. are to be shown, especially if they are to be accessible to empirical research. So far there are no indications of an innate area-specific conceptual knowledge or a language module. It seems to be the case that linguistic and mental development mutually advance each other during acquisition (language with its symbolic field as the central means of thinking, conceptual development as a condition and consequence of the expansion of vocabulary), while theses such as 'first cognition, then language' (Piaget) or 'first language, then cognition' (strict relativism) are probably too radical. Without the possibilities of implicit and abstract learning and a corresponding memory, without specific perceptual abilities and access to rhythm and prosody, children would not be able to use language and thus not gain access to cultural knowledge and developed thought processes. The possibility of thinking and processing knowledge beyond language should not be denied.

Werlen gives a presentation of various positions, Trabant traces the European language thinking. Seebass has shown the difficulties and depths to be encountered if one just wants to formulate the problem clearly and in a way that can be decided.

G. Deutscher (2010) In the mirror of language: Why the world looks different in other languages. Munich: Beck
N. Evans (2014) When Languages ​​Die. And what we will lose with them Munich: C.H. Beck
D.L. Everett (2005) Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Piraha. In: Current Anthropology Volume 46, Number 4, August – October 2005
D.L. Everett (2010) The Happiest People. Munich: DVA
D.L. Everett (2013) The greatest invention of mankind. What my years in the Amazon have taught me about the essence of language. Munich: DVA
S. Forschner (2006) The visual in linguistic expression. Munich: Iudicium
W. v. Humboldt (1963) writings on the philosophy of language. Darmstadt: WBG
J. Lucy (1992) Language diversity and thought: a reformulation of the relativity hypothesis. Cambridge: University Press
E. Sapir (1961) The language. Munich: Hueber
G. Seebaß (1981) The Problem of Language and Thought. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp
J. Trabant (2006) European Language Thinking. Munich: Beck
I. Werlen (2002) Linguistic Relativity. Tübingen: Francke (UTB)
B.L. Whorf (1963) Language Think Reality. Reinbek: Rowohlt























Gender classes of the noun in Teop * (Papua New Guinea)

adapted from: The Teop sketch grammar
Ulrike Mosel with Yvonne Thiesen, University of Kiel (March 4th, 2008)

* The Teop has about 6000 speakers who live by the sea, live from fishing and the fruits of the palm trees. They build their houses out of palm trees and also work in the fields.

e class
(Singular article is e)

a class
(Singular article is a)
o class
(Singular article is O)

e kakato 'male name'

e Sovavi 'female name'

e tea tea 'Father of the speaker'

e sina-naa 'Mother of the Speaker'

e beera 'the chief, leader'

e guu 'Pig'

e ta 'the piece / part of'

a otei 'the man'

a moon 'the woman'

a beikoo 'the child'

a iana 'the fish'

a overe 'the coconut'

a kepaa 'the clay pot'

a kasuana'the beach'

o demden 'the snail'

o kurita 'the octopus'

o overe 'the coconut tree'

o paka 'the leaf'

oh hoi ' the basket'

o kasuana 'the sand'

o suraa 'the fire'


task: How do the classes differ semantically?


How the vocabulary reflects the way of life is shown by the verbs of wearing:

godfather 'Carry it in front of you with outstretched forearms

vateen 'carry in a backpack'

cape 'to carry (a child) on your back'

kae 'to carry by a handle'

vadee 'to carry a heavy load between two people on a stick'



There is a current discussion about the language of the Pirahã in the Amazon, researched in particular by Daniel Everett. In the essay "Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã", in Current Anthropology Volume 46, Number 4, he writes:
"Pirahã is the only language known without number, numerals, or a concept of counting. It also lacks terms for quantification such as" all, "" each, "" every, "" most, "and" some. " It is the only language known without colorterms. It is the only language known without embedding (putting one phrase inside another of the same type or lower level, e.g., noun phrases in noun phrases, sentencesin sentences, etc.). " (Everett 2005: 622)
Everett's thesis is that the Pirahã culture does not talk about anything that does not correspond to direct experience or that is not transmitted (from generations) as a result of such experience (623). So does the culture determine the language? Or does it form a framework in which a language unfolds as a tool, but which is not exceeded? That's how Everett sees it. Language and culture are closely interwoven; language manifests, transmits, and passes on culture. Everett writes that Pirahã members do not learn other languages ​​such as Portuguese properly - despite contact - because cultural restrictions prevent them from doing so.

The kinship terms also allow cultural conclusions. Which?

Relationships of the Pirahâ: O female Δ male from:
Dan Everett (2013) The greatest invention of mankind. Munich: DVA, 334

If all of this is correct, the Chomsky position - language is culturally independent as a grammatical system, genetically created, acquired - would not be tenable. According to Everett, it is also questionable that Chomsky advocated the thesis that recursion and embedding are central features of human language ability (Australian languages ​​presented by Dixon also seem to provide counterexamples). Subordinate clauses, attributive nominal groups, coordination etc. are not present in Pirahã. The text is followed by interesting contributions to the discussion, and more can be found online, for example a log by G. Pullum, a picture, the comment by Gordon in Science.
But how is it: Don't you count if you don't have numerals?

The questions remain exciting: Is it about the connections between language and thinking, is it about the cultural foundation of languages, do you need a certain culture, certain cognitive skills in order to be able to learn a language?

See the Everett thesis and contributions to the discussion (van Valin and others) in EDGE.

An ethnographic and linguistic representation of experiences with the Pirah Pir culture is:
Daniel Everett (2010) The Happiest People. Seven years with the Pirahǎ Indians in the Amazon. Munich: DVA
The book also brings the life story of someone who went out as a missionary of the evangelical "Summer Institute of Linguistics" to bring the Christian faith to the Pirahǎ ... and what has become of it. On the thesis of language as a cultural tool:

Dan Everett (2013) The greatest invention of mankind. What my years in the Amazon have taught me about the essence of language. Munich: DVA

Homepage of Dan Everett.

Also this essay by Everett about the Pirahǎ.

Also reason 4; on languages: The World Atlas of Language Structure