Language and Mind

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    Understandings of the relationship between “language” and “mind” depend on how we understand those terms. Linguistic-anthropological understandings tend to stress their sociocultural dimensions. That emphasis has run in two different directions. The first approach was pioneered by Franz Boas, Edward Sapir, and Benjamin Lee Whorf. It focuses on differences among languages, and associates them with presumed differences in ways of thinking about the world. The second broad range of approaches treats both language and mind more from the viewpoint of their embedding within a world of social action and interaction. I review the foundational work along those lines by G.H. Mead, Lev Vygotsky, and Mikhail Bakhtin, and how it has been drawn upon by linguistic anthropologists. I then review the related philosophical notion of intersubjectivity developed by Edmund Husserl, and how it has been empirically confirmed and extended by recent work in developmental psychology. I discuss the related work by psychologists on the development of children's capacity for understanding of other minds (“theory of mind”). I show how linguistic anthropologists have provided a critical cross-cultural dimension to that work, and point to the need for more interdisciplinary dialogue along those lines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology
    Editors James Stanlow
    Place of PublicationUnited States
    PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc
    ISBN (Print)9781118924396
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    Dive into the research topics of 'Language and Mind'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this