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Linguistic relativism

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Linguistic relativism is often contrasted with theories of [[universal grammar]] (UG), notably as elaborated by [[Noam Chomsky]]. UG emphasizes the role of evolution in developing a universal "mental grammar" as a capacity of the human species, which is said to serve as a foundation for all natural languages. The concept of universal grammar does not preclude the notion that language has a role in the formation of thought, but suggests that the common biological basis for the human capacity of language provides a "deep structure" (or "logical form") that is a much stronger determinant than differences in the "surface structure" (or "phonetic form") between languages.
 
[[John A. Lucy]] has proposed a three-level analysis:
 
1. '''Semiotic relativity of thought''': "Whether having a code with a symbolic component (versus one confined to iconic-indexical elements) transforms thinking. This would distinguish species that use such a code from those that do not.
2. '''Structural relativity of thought''': Whether "different morphosyntactic configurations of meaning affect thinking about reality." This is the level of analysis that is generally described as '''linguistic relativism''', and distinguishes speakers of different languages.
2. '''Functional relativity of thought''': "Whether using language in a particular way (e.g. schooled) may influence thinking … whether discursive practices influence thinking." This level distinguishes speakers of different backgrounds or in different contexts.
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