The Language Hoax Book Reviews

John H. McWhorter

The Language Hoax by John H. McWhorter Book Summary

Japanese has a term that covers both green and blue. Russian has separate terms for dark and light blue. Does this mean that Russians perceive these colors differently from Japanese people? Does language control and limit the way we think? This short, opinionated book addresses the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which argues that the language we speak shapes the way we perceive the world. Linguist John McWhorter argues that while this idea is mesmerizing, it is plainly wrong. It is language that reflects culture and worldview, not the other way around. The fact that a language has only one word for eat, drink, and smoke doesn't mean its speakers don't process the difference between food and beverage, and those who use the same word for blue and green perceive those two colors just as vividly as others do. McWhorter shows not only how the idea of language as a lens fails but also why we want so badly to believe it: we're eager to celebrate diversity by acknowledging the intelligence of peoples who may not think like we do. Though well-intentioned, our belief in this idea poses an obstacle to a better understanding of human nature and even trivializes the people we seek to celebrate. The reality -- that all humans think alike -- provides another, better way for us to acknowledge the intelligence of all peoples.

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Book Name The Language Hoax
Genre Language Arts & Disciplines
Language English
E-Book Size 6.54 MB

The Language Hoax (John H. McWhorter) Book Reviews 2023

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Summary of The Language Hoax by John H. McWhorter

The The Language Hoax book written by John H. McWhorter was published on 01 April 2014, Tuesday in the Language Arts & Disciplines category. A total of 111 readers of the book gave the book 4.5 points out of 5.

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