Linguistic relativity and second language acquisition: can languages affect how we think?

Falsanisi, Giulia (2021) Linguistic relativity and second language acquisition: can languages affect how we think? [Laurea], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Mediazione linguistica interculturale [L-DM270] - Forli', Documento ad accesso riservato.
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The purpose of this thesis is to provide a global overview on the studies that have been carried out on the relationship between language, culture and thought. Specifically, the first part will focus on the belief at the core of this subject, Linguistic Relativity, while the second part will analyse the field of second language acquisition, which appears to often intertwine with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. After a short introduction, a brief overview of previous research is provided. In particular, the claims of Aristotle, von Humboldt and Boas are illustrated more in detail. Then, the focus is shifted towards the figures and claims of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf. The hypothesis of Linguistic Relativity is further explained, pointing to the two principles which stem from it (the weak and the strong version, i.e., linguistic determinism). The belief that each language deeply affects its speaker’s cognition (resulting in differences in patterns of thought and cognitive structures) is consequently illustrated. A review of some of the objections that have been moved against this hypothesis follow. After that, a general overview on subsequent studies is provided, drawing the attention towards some of the main domains around which research has revolved: colour perception and grammatical gender and number. Lastly, the field of second language acquisition is outlined. The main focus concerns the implications of Linguistic Relativity for this field and a summary of the research that has been carried out on this topic, again offering a deeper insight on some of the most well-researched areas: colour terms and perception, grammatical gender and number and the interpretation of motion events.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea)
Autore della tesi
Falsanisi, Giulia
Relatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Parole chiave
Linguistic relativity,Second Language Acquisition,Sapir-Whorf hypothesis,Language and thought
Data di discussione della Tesi
1 Ottobre 2021

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