The linguistic relativity debate (7 hours)

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Module overview

Lots of people believe there is some kind of special link between language and thought. This idea is hotly debated; the goal of this module is for you to understand this debate, so that you can make a well-informed judgment and response when you see people claiming that differences between languages are related to differences between cultures or thinking patterns. By the end of the module, you should be able to do the following things:

Module instructions

This module includes three tasks. For each task, you will need to read something and then answer some questions; some of these questions may require a long time to think about. These tasks are meant to be done in order (i.e., the intention is for you to not start one task until you have done the previous task; when this was taught via an LMS the later modules would be "locked" until the student completed the previous ones). To receive credit for completing this module, you must complete all the tasks at a satisfactory level of quality.

Next to each task I have written an estimate of how much time you might need to complete the task. This is, of course, a rough estimate, and the real time may be different for different students.

Module activities

  1. A link between language and thought? (1 hour)
  2. Critiquing linguistic relativity (4 hours)
  3. Some possible examples of linguistic relativity (2 hours)
  4. Optional: discussion topics

by Stephen Politzer-Ahles. Last modified on 2021-07-16. CC-BY-4.0.