37 votes
Accepted

Are language and thought the same?

The idea that language and thought are one and the same, that thoughts cannot exist without language, is sometimes called strong linguistic determinism or the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (*). It's ...
  • 55.6k
17 votes

Are language and thought the same?

These examples show that in some way thought continues even if you temporarily lose language: [neuroanatomist .. was struck with a left hemisphere haemorrage.] Over the course of 3-4 hours, she ...
  • 171
13 votes
Accepted

How do illiterate French people learn which pronunciation to use in different sentences?

I don't think the question of "are these two words, or one word with two forms" is particularly interesting linguistically, at least, not if you're basing the answer on the intuitions of illiterate ...
  • 16.9k
12 votes

Teaching my son Arabic

I understand you to be saying that you are a native Arabic speaker living in America. Is that correct? In that case I think this teacher has given you extremely bad advice. All professional linguists ...
  • 22.8k
12 votes
Accepted

Why is the English phoneme /θ/ pronounced like /t/ in Indian accents but /s/ in Chinese accents?

Here's a paper that's addressed a similar phenomenon of the different realizations of /θ/ between Cantonese and Sichuanese speakers, both of which are dialects of Chinese and share similar phonetic ...
10 votes

What is the difference between native language, first language, mother tongue and L1?

This is a very good question because it highlights the multiple terms used to describe what appears to be similar if not the same phenomena; However, as it has been pointed out above, there are ...
  • 101
10 votes
Accepted

Do children's mispronunciations influence the development of a language?

Yes, there are such studies. Notably, Jakobson's Child language, aphasia and phonological universals, and David Stampe's The acquisition of phonetic representation in Chicago Linguistic Society, vol ...
  • 12.3k
10 votes
Accepted

Does your brain make a distinction between vocal and non-vocal language?

Spoken and signed languages are distinguished in the brain in different ways. From the perspective of perception, spoken language is processed in the cochlear nucleus of the brainstem and then the ...
  • 71.5k
9 votes

Why is the English phoneme /θ/ pronounced like /t/ in Indian accents but /s/ in Chinese accents?

This is a great question without a clear answer. People have struggled to find the answer since the 1970s: Here is my 2002 paper with many references listed in Appendix A. See also my dissertation ...
  • 161
7 votes

How many languages can a person reasonably know?

The limiting factor for the average person is really the society, the environment. We humans are lazy or, from another perspective, efficient - most of us try to learn only the minimum needed to ...
7 votes

Are language and thought the same?

I only have anecdotal evidence that they are not the same, but I hope it might give an explanation or at least a starting point where to research it deeper. I know someone who had a car accident and ...
  • 299
7 votes
Accepted

Are there any audio recordings of the speech of the feral child Genie?

Most of the material is not in the public domain or online, and access must be requested from the UCLA Library (click "Request Items" in the top right-hand corner): https://oac.cdlib.org/...
6 votes

How similar are Spanish and French?

French and Spanish are indeed members of the Romance branch, but French is an oddity within it. If you speak only English, the phonetics of Spanish are probably much easier than French sounds, so you'...
6 votes

If someone grows up bilingually, with what accent will they speak a third language they learn as an adult?

As the other poster indicated, accent is the application of native phonology to another language. However, if someone grows up speaking two languages, they will necessarily have less of an accent than ...
  • 870
6 votes

Language acquisition by 100% immersion -- any cases you know of?

Do linguistic field workers count? In this case I offer the case of Daniel Everett who learned the Pirahã language from scratch by contact with the native people without having any common language. Of ...
5 votes

Simultaneous bilingualism vs Sequential bilingualism

Simultaneous and sequential bilinguals differ in regards to the time a second language was introduced, but it does not necessarily determine which language will become dominant. Assuming both ...
5 votes
Accepted

How do Chomsky and Pinker's monolingualism explain their flaws about language acquisition?

Monolingualism is a common criticism of many Chomskean linguists. The issue is not so much the fact that the individuals don't speak other languages. Chomsky studied and knows many languages, taught ...
5 votes
Accepted

What do we know about primary language loss?

Let me play the devil's advocate a bit. Sorry if it looks too informal. You have not lost your English. Instead, you have acquired a new language (well, a dialect). And its name is Simple English. ...
5 votes

How and when do French children learn to select between masculine and feminine forms of words when referring to themselves?

Learning the correct gender (and number) for referring to oneself is a very minute and relatively easy part of learning genders or noun classes (and number) generally. As such, it follows the same ...
5 votes

At what age do children lose the ability to hear phomene differences that their native language doesn't make?

Infants can reliability perceive contrasts between sounds in various languages. However, by the age of 10-12 months, babies' ability to distinguish between contrasts important for their native ...
5 votes

Is Wikipedia's argument for Universal Grammar completely fallacious?

Beginning with your very last parenthesized question, does "this" refer to the argument you quote from Wikipedia or the argument you yourself make that begins with "however"? And why does that ...
  • 12.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Does a polyglot think in every language he speaks or only in the mother-tongue?

Being bilingual yourself, you should be able to answer this question yourself. But here's my answer: people don't usually think in a language. At least I don't. I think in a language when I am ...
  • 4,368
5 votes

How do we know that abstract words mean the same thing to all of us?

We know that words have roughly the same meanings to most members of a language community because we're able to have conversations using them and not become totally confused. You can also flip it ...
  • 211
4 votes

Simultaneous bilingualism vs Sequential bilingualism

Assuming the existence of a critical period in life to learn a language that extends from early childhood to puberty and affects both the acquisition of the first language and the acquisition of the ...
4 votes

What makes a non-native English speaker sound foreign?

I work with a large number of non-native English speakers, and probably the biggest indicator of fluency for me is the use of articles (a, an, the), which is what Hippie Trail's answer covers. This ...
  • 223
4 votes

How similar are Spanish and French?

The question "how similar are these two languages" can't be easily answer. There are many levels at which you could make a comparison, and it's not obvious how you want to quantify that. If we're ...
  • 1,033
4 votes

Is there a word-list for child English?

I found the following link regarding the CHILDES database that might be helpful to you in extracting the list of words you want. The description reads "ChildFreq is a tool that lets you extract word ...
4 votes

Are language and thought the same?

It certainly does seem like thought and language are the same; that's been the presumption in human society for as long as we know about. But it's not really true, any more than it's true that your ...
  • 9,690
4 votes
Accepted

Does the study of linguistics help one to be a good speaker and good writer of languages?

There is no evidence that studying linguistics has a particularly positive effect on writing and speech, either in L1 or L2. Let us just take the question of effect on L1 writing: and first, you have ...
  • 71.5k

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