- Subject index
There are between 4,000 and 6,000 languages remaining in the world and the characteristics of these languages vary widely. How could an infant born today master any language in the world, regardless of the language's characteristics?
Chapter 8: Language and Thought
Language and Thought
The relationship between language and thought has intrigued scholars for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Many have wondered to what extent the language that one speaks determines what one can think and/or how one thinks. We know that the question was recognized by the ancient Greeks. The Greek historian Herodotus attributed the difference in the thinking [Page 206]of Greeks and Egyptians to the fact that the languages were written in different directions. Greek is written left to right, and Egyptian is written from right to left (Fishman, 1980; see also Hunt & Agnoli, 1991). More than a millennium later, in the 19th century, the German philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835) suggested that a nation's language and spirit are ...