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Linguistic Determinism: Words And Thoughts Essay

2198 words - 9 pages

There is no human language without socio-cultural context; meanwhile language resides inside each individual’s mind and as a result, linguistic interaction did not occur without the use of the language. Individuals do not create languages; they just use that one given to them by society. For Saeed (2009), language is the mirror of culture and it is determined by the categories available in speakers’ own language. Studies about relationship between language and culture and between language and thought have a long history and have placed a much conferred proposal to modern linguistic: the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. This hypothesis points out that influence of language on thought is only a component about such a complex web among language, culture and cognition. However, in essence, it leaves out the cultural pattern. Without language, a sort level of cultural development and cultural knowledge cannot exist, and, on the other hand, a high level of linguistic development could only exist through socio-cultural interaction.
According to Flyht (2007), it is extremely evident that language reinforces cultural patterns through semantics whereas new meanings from new words are established by events which happen to people’s lives according to their cultural occurrence. The aim of this essay is to discuss the connection between linguistic determinism and the support of the semantic studies in order to understand words and sentences produced in human mind when the cultural and social pattern it is taken into account. Yet “knowledge an individual speaker of a language possesses which makes it possible for them to communicate with one another.” (Riemer, 2010: 13).
Semantics is a theory of languages, natural or artificial, and it is part of grammar from those languages. In particular, it is the part of grammar that is concerned with the relationship between language and symbols of things in the world to which they refer, or over which they have truth conditions. Therefore, the study of semantics is based on the analysis of meaning of linguistic expressions, which is used by human beings to express themselves in the form of words, phrases, symbols and the underlying relation between them. The word “semantics” itself denotes a wide range of ideas and it has a wide range of subject with the general study of language. The language used in semantics can be a natural language like English or an artificial language like programming languages and formal logics, if we consider Moore (2000).
Semantics has different views on verbal and written language. In written language, the structure of paragraphs and punctuation has semantic; while in verbal language, attributes such as human voice, facial expressions and body language have semantic content. On the other hand, the study of semantics involves the study of how meaning in language is communicated, constructed, interpreted, illustrated, simplified, negotiated, contradicted and paraphrased.
Chierchia (2003: 18)...

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