See below for discussion of the following questions related to my recent Funzing talk on language:
- How do people like the Hopi whose language does not have words for left and right keep track of the cardinal directions?
- The Hopi have a less egocentric idea of the locations of things. Does that correlate with a less egocentric kind of worldview or ethics?
- Since language has a biological basis, doesn’t that mean that linguistic relativity is a myth?
- What’s the difference between studying a language and using it?
- How does using sign language differ from using a spoken language?
- How do memes (macro images), smileys (aka emoticons or emojis), text-speak and other digital innovations relate to more traditional forms of communication?
- Why might reading something in two different languages produce two different impressions?
- Do there exist languages (like a fictitious Star Trek alien one) that are extremely difficult or impossible to translate because they rely noticeably more on metaphors and allusions?
- What are some other properties of language that might make one language appear strange compared to another?