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Rethinking Linguistic Relativity

WGF Symposium #112

May 3 - 11, 1991
The Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

PUBLICATION:    Rethinking Linguistic Relativity (John J. Gumperz and Stephen C. Levinson, Eds.), Cambridge University Press, New York, 1996


bookcoverNiyi Akinnaso (State University of New York, Albany, USA)
Talal Asad (New School for Social Research, USA)
Norine Berenz, monitor (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Melissa Bowerman (Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands)
Pascal Boyer (University of Cambridge, UK)
Herbert Clark (Stanford University, USA)
Elsa Gomez-Imbert (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France)
John Gumperz, organizer (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
William Hanks (University of Chicago, USA)
John B. Haviland (Reed College, USA)
Paul Kay (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Janet D. Keller (University of Illinois, USA)
Jean Lave (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Stephen Levinson, organizer (Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands)
John Lucy (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Elinor Ochs (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
Sydel Silverman (Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA)
Dan I. Slobin (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
Leonard Talmy (State University of New York, Buffalo, USA)
Pamela Wright (Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA)


The symposium gathered together scholars from seven nations and a range of disciplines including anthropology, linguistics, education, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and cognitive science to discuss issues clustering around the theme of linguistic relativity. The conference focused on issues concerning the interconnections of language, thought and culture. The primary question was whether the idea of linguistic relativity could be reformulated to account for both the universal features (common across all cultures) and the cultural differences in language and thought.