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Conservapedia talk:Linguistic determinism

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If this is just Andy's theory, move to CP space? wp:Linguistic determinism is quite interesting, but how different is schlafly's spin? and has he been reading Wittgenstein? Totnesmartin 14:45, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Should be in CP space. Also has Andy used the phrase "linguistic determinism"? & Please back these points up with difflinks. "For all claims, see the World History Lectures at Conservapedia" fails as a citation. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:01, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Yes, as it is at the moment it should be in CP space. With regard of the "triumph of superior languages", I'm sure that I read a meme-based idea once which looked at the idea of languages as competing memeplexes. So it is possible that if Andy's going down that route, then he's moving every so slowly towards an evolutionary viewpoint.--Bobbing up 15:07, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Andy's loony ideas on this remind me oh-so-much of the old scientific racism approach. Given how much ethnic identities are tied to languages, and indeed language groups, this scares me a bit; there's but a small slip between "Slavic languages are inferior" and "Slavs are inferior" (insert Celtic/Semitic/Bantu/whatever as necessary). Pseudomonas 15:56, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

The criticism section right now has nothing more than a claim to him being wrong and an ad hom.. Surely we can do better than that? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:11, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Also, the "footnote" is a bit lame, it references "the world history lectures", which is one hell of a lot of reading. Can't we difflink each claim? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:12, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Does anybody know[edit]

if Andy even speaks any foreign languages? Anybody who speaks more than one language can tell this theory is rubbish. M the T (talk) 00:04, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

He claimed to have "studied" Greek. See: Andrew_Schlafly/Colmes_Interview. I suspect that his studies were short and pretty basic. Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 00:11, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis[edit]

In point of fact of fact, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis - if accepted - does suggest something of this sort. --BobSpring is sprung! 20:09, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

But I don't think anyone takes such a sweeping version of it very seriously these days. There's evidence that things like color perception depend on your language (and what color words you have), or how you think about direction (some Australian language is the usual example, I forget what it's called). The NYT had a recent article about this not so long ago. That "the path of world history is in some ways the triumph of superior languages over inferior ones" is not (at least as far as I know) a very common view.
An interesting recent case for a strong form of Sapir-Whorf (i.e. "language restricts thought") is Everett on the Piraha language. He claims that the language has no words for numbers, and so its users are routinely ripped off when trading. But a lot of his other claims about the language seem to be highly questionable .
I agree that Sapir-Whorf should be mentioned in the article though. Andy's views are (as usual) much more extreme than most but it's certainly an avenue that's been considered by capable linguists. --MarkGall (talk) 20:30, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I am by no means convinced by Sapir-Whorf. I only wanted to point out that Andy's musings might (rather surprisingly) have more academic background than our present article suggests.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:07, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
That the Piraha are routinely ripped off can simply be explained with education. Since they have never learned to handle numbers, much less calculate precisely, it is unsurprising that they have trouble with the concept. Which is almost a tautology. Using Everett's logic, one can posit that the reason why the Bongo-Bongo are illiterate is that they have no words for concepts surrounding literacy, instead of their illiteracy being the reason for the lack of words for concepts surrounding literacy in their language.
The basic mistake here is pretending that language was somehow separate from culture/ethnicity, while it is a part of culture/ethnicity. It's not that the Piraha language lacks numbers, it's the Piraha themselves who lack the concept, and their language simply reflects that by lacking a lexical expression of the concept. If you never talk about a subject, why have words for it? Nothing stops the Piraha from borrowing concepts which they lack from other groups, or even inventing them independently anew, along with words for them (or borrowing concepts but inventing their own neologisms for them, or inventing new concepts and borrow words which they then creatively apply to those new concepts). It has happened before.
What language actually does is reflecting frequent thought processes and frequently used concepts and providing shorthands for them (very frequent concepts can even be integrated into the grammar/morphosyntax). Conversely, it reinforces those concepts, by allowing you to use them more often, creating a feedback loop where the concepts become more and more prominent in your mind. (Just think of the handy phrases provided by TV Tropes for patterns that many people recognise but rarely crystallise into concepts like that, but once they have a conventionalised expression for it, it becomes a lot clearer to them. Or "The Meaning of Liff". Or some obscure neologisms you may have found on some wiki which you immediately understand but are surprised to find "there's a word for it!", such as "pantheism", or even more idiosyncratic jargon expressions specific to RW ...) One possibility for language to actually influence thought very clearly is reification and related concepts such as personification, when you take abstractions (that happen to be described by words) overly literal. In fact, deification of celestial objects, natural forces and abstract qualities (depending on the language, the gender of the word can then be the basis for the sex of the deity) would seem to me an example for just that occurring: "The storm has knocked the tree over" becoming "Storm has knocked the tree over", where Storm is a deity (in German, "Sturm" is masculine so a deity "Sturm" would likely be thought of as male, but in English this doesn't work due to the lack of grammatical gender). Personification of animals and gender assignment tends to be guided by grammatical gender, as well. Both the personification itself and specifically the gender assignment are then consequences of the influence of language on thought. -- (talk) 09:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


Does Andy honestly believe there was, in WWII, a holocaust (Term coined by Roger of Howden and Richard of Devizes in the 1190s), but no genocide (Raphael Lemkin in 1944). The CBP asserts that it is acceptable to use powerful, new terms, for older concepts. But if a term for an event didn't exist at the time, then the event could not of occurred. Andy, Oh wise teacher, please help clear my confusion. CS Miller (talk) 19:40, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

He also seems to have some very strange ideas about world history, especially as it concerns written language. He can't even seem to get the bullshit right according to his own position. It's almost like he did a search of CMI and AIG, pinned on some of the loonier "archaeology" sites, and then spewed it into a word processor. DixieFlatline (talk)

Under Analysis[edit]

I removed Korean from the Chinese-derived writing group as hanja has been deprecated in public use for nearly six hundred years. Frostbyte (talk) 09:42, 27 May 2014 (UTC)