An application fee is required, and applicants must submit official transcripts of previous college work, and an essay addressing professional and career goals. A screening process is required for all certification programs. Advisors for certification programs provide this screening. Refer to the College of Graduate Studies section of the catalog for a more complete description of application and admission procedures.
Much of what has been written on this subject by professional linguists focuses rather narrowly on the question of whether the of a language will influence the thinking of its speakers, without any attention being given to how vocabulary might influence thought. But obviously language is more than grammar, and so conclusions about language in general cannot be drawn from studies which deal only with questions of grammar. This essay does not equate language with grammar. The word “language” will be used in reference to the full reality of language, including all the messy details of lexical semantics. I will not enter into all the technicalities of the subject. That would require an introductory course in linguistics. I only aim to give an overview of how the idea that language influences thinking has been expressed in the writings of celebrated philosophers, scientists, literary critics, philologists and linguists. Many of these did not deal with the question in a modern scientific fashion, but I do not think that any of them can be dismissed as linguistically naive. For lack of a better plan I will present this material in historical order.
This essay has already exceeded its appropriate length. In I intend to show some practical implications of linguistic relativity for Bible translation and exegesis, which is my main interest in this subject. What I wish to be seen and acknowledged right now, however, is the complete legitimacy of the idea that various features of language influence our thinking. In this essay I have pointed to leading scholars from England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and America. They include philosophers, theologians, literary critics, poets, and scientists. Among the scientists are major figures from the fields of chemistry, physics, anthropology, psychology, and linguistics. Some of them are respected scholars of the present day. On the other side of the question are the Chomskyan linguists who have lately flourished in America, who tend to minimize the effects of language upon thought.
During this period, scholarly interest in the differences between languages was stimulated by the world-wide missionary efforts undertaken by Christians in Europe and America. A number of missionary societies were formed between 1790 and 1810, and by 1815 they were spreading Christianity in remote areas of the world, which few white men had ever visited before. Christian missionaries were in many cases the first Europeans to learn languages wholly unrelated to the Indo-European languages. A common complaint in their reports was the difficulties they encountered in trying to communicate even the basic concepts of the Christian faith in these exotic languages. In 1817 the English essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, “The extreme difficulty, and often the , of finding words for the simplest moral and intellectual processes in the languages of uncivilized tribes has proved perhaps the weightiest obstacle to the progress of our most zealous and adroit missionaries.”
At about the same time, the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher published an essay “On the Different Methods of Translating” (1813), in which he expressed the concept thus:
The writings of Locke were very influential in the first half of the eighteenth century, and soon philosophers throughout Europe were building upon his ideas. In 1746 the French philosopher Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (1715-1780) published an (Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge), which he conceived as a development of Locke’s epistemology. We quote some paragraphs from Part 2, Section 1, Chapter 15, in an English translation that was published ten years after Condillac’s original French work.
The jury, composed by Stephen Levinson, Paula Fikkert, James McQueen, Antje Meyer, Simon Fisher, and Els den Os, selected the essay '' by , , and as the best contribution. According to Levinson, it "directly tackled the leading issues in the interconnection of Nature and Nurture arguing for a continued interplay not only in development but also in evolutionary time". Fisher judged it as "the most accessible and engaging of the pieces on offer, tackling the issues at a level that is understandable by a general audience, and avoiding jargon and technical terms, but still retaining a scholarly core".
The overall theme of the IMPRS for Language Sciences course on “Current issues in the language sciences” was nature vs. nurture, inspired by the talk by Matt Ridley at the Cognomics event on September 2012 and his book Nature via Nurture. Students had to write an essay (max. 4000 words) as part of the IMPRS core curriculum, working together in small groups of three or four students. Their essays should aim at the interested, non-specialist public, such as high school teachers of language or biology, or people working in a clinical environment.
Sections B and C then focus on more specific aspects of the topic. They do so by asking you to analyse data, to engage in discovery tasks, to reflect on the findings of researchers and to evaluate ideas. Very importantly, you are also asked to reflect upon your own experience; after all, you yourself regularly employ most of the processes which are featured. Section C extends the learning experience by proposing a number of experimental tasks which you can carry out for yourself, thus putting to the test some of the effects which have been described. There are suggestions for essay topics, one based on reading which enables you to an explore a particular aspect on your own.
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