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Words and the Mind – How words capture human experience - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Words and the Mind: How words capture human experience

Barbara Malt and Phillip Wolff


The study of word meanings promises important insights into the nature of the human mind by revealing what people find to be most cognitively significant in their experience. However, as we learn more about the semantics of various languages, we are faced with an interesting problem. Different languages seem to be telling us different stories about the mind. For example, important distinctions made in one language are not necessarily made in others. What are we to make of these cross-linguistic differences? How do they arise? Are they created by purely linguistic processes operating over the c ... More

Keywords: word meanings, cognition, semantics, language evolution, cross-linguistic differences, cross-linguistic similarities, cross-cultural, language-thought interface, spatial relations, anthropology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780195311129
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311129.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Barbara Malt, editor
Lehigh University

Phillip Wolff, editor
Emory University

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Front Matter

The Language–Thought Interface

Phillip Wolff, and Barbara C. Malt

2 Lexicalization Patterns and the World-to-Words Mapping

Barbara C. Malt, Silvia Gennari, and Mutsumi Imai

5 Force Creation and Possible Causers across Languages

Phillip Wolff, Ga-hyun Jeon, Bianca Klettke, and Yu Li

7 Categories in Mind and Categories in Language

Mutsumi Imai, and Henrik Saalbach

8 Language and Thought

Terry Regier, Paul Kay, Aubrey L. Gilbert, and Richard B. Ivry

9 Relatively Speaking

Debi Roberson, and J. Richard Hanley

11 A World of Relations

Julia Parish-Morris, Shannon M. Pruden, Weiyi Ma, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff