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Weblog:   Technology and Language
Subject:   Metaphors and Categorization
Date:   2003-08-07 07:07:06
From:   anonymous2
The study of categorization and the effect of our physical surroundings on the metaphors of language is well-established, and it is fascinating stuff.


You might start with the writings of George Lakoff, in particular, his early book, "Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind"

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  • Metaphors and Categorization
    2003-08-07 22:25:52  dm1 [View]

    Interesting point, and I don't see too much influence of technology in this respect. My initial hypothesis is that technology has a temporary effect on fashions in vocabulary. If you look at Lakoff and Johnson's "Metaphors We Live By", you'll find that almost everything they bring out has been in human language for millenia. Finally, this is fairly normal: each human language has two opposite tendencies. Each is constantly changing in reaction to changes in the external environment, and each has a conservative tendency at the level of structure to allow its users to continue to communicate. Compare IT: assembler code hasn't changed over the technological change of the last 15 years; and in telecoms, where change has been superficially most radical, developers are still programming in C.

    Don't forget either that there might be a Whorfian effect of language structures having an effect on perception and as a result, preventing people from finding new solutions.
  • Mitch Tulloch photo Metaphors and Categorization
    2003-08-07 09:34:59  Mitch Tulloch | O'Reilly Author [View]

    That sounds interesting thanks, I'll see if I can get a copy at the university library. Obviously there's nothing new under the sun :)

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