ERIC Number: ED250949
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Language and Mind: A "Whorfian" Folk Theory in United States Language Law. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 93.
A folk theory of the effect of language on thought underlies decisions made in U.S. courts regarding language law. Previous work on folk theory has shown an internal structuring by which a premise entails subsequent terms, consistent within the framework of the folk theory's logic. An analysis of metapragmatic statements in U.S. case law materials reveals a crudely "Whorfian" premise from which a common folk theory of language builds. This theory, evident in judges' decisions and dissents, predicates the ability to understand U.S. political concepts on fluency in English. Because becoming a citizen requires comprehension of these political concepts, the folk theory links identity as a U.S. citizen with the ability to speak the English language. The appearance of a Whorfian premise in this folk theory also lends support to the suggestion by cognitive anthropologists that scientific theories are typically systematized adaptations of folk theories. (Author)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Citizenship, Comprehension, Court Litigation, English (Second Language), Language Fluency, Language Role, Laws, Legal Problems, Linguistic Theory, Political Socialization, Psycholinguistics, Scientific Concepts, Sociolinguistics
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th St., Austin, TX 78701.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Note: For other titles in this series, see FL 014 699-705.