How does our mother tongue (Why don't we call it a "father tongue," I wonder?) shape what we see and what we don't see; how we orient ourselves in space and time; and the associations we attach to people, animals, ideas and objects? Why do some people describe the sky as black, not blue? And what exactly did Homer mean when he said "wine-dark sea"? Through the Language Glass is Guy Deutscher's exuberant and very excellent adventure among competing ideas, theories and scientific experiments to find the answers.
Deutscher argues that "cultural differences are reflected in language in profound ways," creating "habits of mind that language can instill on the ground level of thought: on memory, attention, perception, and associations." Color perception (blue in particular) is the earthiest and most fascinating of these, something most of us would imagine is universal in all human ...
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