Patrick over at Popehat links to a NYT article I noted late last week, but didn’t have time to read until yesterday.
Guy Deutscher’s article is basically (as I see it) a call for reconsideration of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, that our language determines how we think. I encountered Sapir-Whorf for the first time many, many years ago, in the pages of the late lamented Dr. Dobb’s Journal, and it blew me away at the time. I figured, “Well, if language influences how we think, then I need to learn FORTH. And C. And LISP. And…” Later on, of course, I read the various arguments against Sapir-Whorf, and don’t completely buy into the strong version of it any more, but I still retain some affection for Sapir-Whorf.
The Deutscher article is an excerpt from his (forthcoming? It looks like it comes out today) book Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages, which I’ve already added to my Amazon wish list.
In other notes, sorry about the blogging slowdown; I spent the weekend at ArmadilloCon, and am now somewhat tanned, rested, and relaxed. I spent some time yesterday bumming around various Half-Price Books in a futile search for A Short History of the French Revolution, but I did run across a handful of other interesting books:
- Jennifer 8. Lee’s The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, which looks like a lot of fun. I read her chapter on The Great Kosher Duck Scandal last night.
- Tom Standage’s An Edible History of Humanity. I haven’t been disappointed in a Standage book yet.
- Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. I blame Calvin Trillin for this.
- Not a Half-Price Books find, but a find at Armadillocon, and one I paid half-price for: Willie & Joe: The WWII Years. I admired Bill Mauldin greatly (the HouChron used to run his editorial cartoons, and they were among the few I agreed with in that paper) but I wasn’t even aware this book existed until I saw it on the Austin Books sale table. By the way, for those of you in Austin, Austin Books has a big sale coming up this weekend.