Sat, Jan 12 at noon | 90 minutes
Does the language we speak shape the way we think? We'll spend the weekend reading short stories, watching movies, analyzing (fun) data, and making truffles to examine this question from several directions
Does the language we speak shape the way we think? The answer has so much complexity that it's best explored over a weekend at OlioHouse where theory meets pop culture meets hands-on data analysis, and I promise you that somehow even learning how to make chocolate truffles will help you think about the ways in which small English words and phrases reveal the ways we think in a language.
The Olio will examine the question of language and thought from several directions.
We will delve into the work of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf, who, in their work, offer linguistic relativism and linguistic determinism as concepts that they believed explain the relationship between thought and language.
We will examine the novella 'The Story of Your Life' by Ted Chiang (popularized by the movie "Arrival" with Amy Adams), which uses what has become known as the "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis" as the conceit of the narrative. We will discuss critiques of the hypothesis, looking at evidence from around the world. And finally, we will examine small ways in which the English language shapes thought by examining the conceptual metaphors nested in the simplest English words that communicate something about how English speakers think.
A sketch of the weekend:
11:00am: Metaphors we Live by: How the small words we use show the ways we think about the world
Maureen T. Matarese is a professor at BMCC. She has a doctorate from Columbia University and is a linguist with a specialization in discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics. She is the U.S. expert on social work interaction (particularly in homeless settings) and the discourse of street-level bureaucrats.