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Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other… (2010)

by Guy Deutscher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1273915,804 (3.78)48
A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how--and whether--culture shapes language and language, culture.
  1. 40
    The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker (petterw)
  2. 10
    What Language Is: And What It Isn't and What It Could Be! by John McWhorter (amyblue)
  3. 00
    The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes (chmod007)
    chmod007: The first few chapters of Through The Language Glass talk about color as a cultural construct, drawing upon 19th century inquiries into the works of Homer and his seeming indifference to the finer hues of the spectrum. The beginning of TOOCITBOTBM starts with a similar exploration of ancient conceptions (or lack thereof) of consciousness, supported by linguistic evidence.… (more)

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» See also 48 mentions

English (37)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Bisschen dünn, was da rumkommt. ( )
  Wolfseule23 | Aug 6, 2022 |
يحاول الكتاب الإجابة على السؤال: هل تتأثر الثقافة باللغة أم اللغة بالثقافة؟
إن العادات الكلامية المتمثلة باللغة تخلق عادات فكرية ومنهجية عقلية تجعل إدراكنا للواقع يختلف باختلاف لغاتنا، وتجعلنا نربط المفاهيم المستمدة من ثقافة البيئة المحيطة بكلمات قد لايوجد لها مقابل في لغاتٍ أخرى. كما يلعب مستوى تعقيد اللغة دوراً في الحكم على تطور الحضارات.

محفّز، ممتع، ومفاجئ. ( )
  TonyDib | Jan 28, 2022 |
Really interesting overview of some key questions in linguistics. The section about language and color perception was fascinating, and the chapter about the Guugu Yimidhirr's use of cardinal direction instead of relative direction was extremely cool. ( )
1 vote AlexThurman | Dec 26, 2021 |
Such a wonderful book. I can't count many non-fiction books that kept me awake reading at night and had me dying to find out what happens next.
It's such a fascinating topic, he has a great sense of humor there is some seriously whimsical word play.
( )
  RebeccaBooks | Sep 16, 2021 |
Interesting enough, but ultimately underwhelming. I struggled to finish it. ( )
  the_best_words | Nov 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Deutscher starts with the puzzling fact that many languages lack words for what (to English speakers) seem to be basic colors. For anyone interested in the development of ideas, Deutscher’s first four chapters make fascinating reading. Did you know that the British statesman William Gladstone was also an accomplished Greek scholar who, noting among other things the surprising absence of any term for “blue” in classical Greek texts, theorized that full-color vision had not yet developed in humans when those texts were composed? Or that a little-known 19th-century philologist named Lazarus Geiger made profound and surprising discoveries about how languages in general divide up the color spectrum, only to have his discoveries ignored and forgotten and then rediscovered a century later?
Deutscher argues that the key to differences between languages is a contained in a maxim of the linguist Roman Jakobson: “Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” As an example, he quotes the English statement, “I spent last night with a neighbour”, in which we may keep private whether the person was male or female.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Deutscherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pfeiffer, MartinÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"There are four tongues worthy of the world's use," says the Talmud:  "Greek for song, Latin for war, Syriac for lamentation, and Hebrew for ordinary speech."
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A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how--and whether--culture shapes language and language, culture.

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