This Subject Includes

  • Course No: HS 418M
  • Course: B.Tech
  • Semester: VII
  • Title: Language and Thought
  • Stream: Linguistics
  • Preamble: This course explores the relation of language and thought. Is language uniquely human, and if so, what does this reveal about the human mind? Importantly if as it has been suggested that thought is propositional in nature, we will be interested in understanding what role language plays in it. Further the relationship between language and thought would be explained from a cultural perspective. Does the particular language you speak affect the way you think, or do human languages reflect a universal conceptual repertoire? The goal of this course is to familiarize the students with a set of classic arguments on these themes, together with current research that evaluates these arguments. The role of Piaget, Vygotsky, Chomsky, Skinner, Bandura and other influential scholars in this regard will be discussed. .

    Conceptual systems and language from the perspective of cognitive science: Issues in language and cognition; Cultural bases of language and cognition: Embodiment, universalism Vs. relativism, schemas, categorization and mental imagery; Language and conceptual structure: reasoning, category-formation, metaphorical understanding, framing of experience; Cognitive versus formal linguistics; Implications from and for philosophy, anthropology, literature, artificial intelligence, and politics; Methodological issues.


    1. W. Croft and D.A. Cruse, Cognitive Linguistics, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    2. G.Lakoff, Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. University of Chicago Press. 1987.

    3. Gibbs Jr., R.W. Embodiment and Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press. 2005.

    4. N. Chomsky, Language and thought. Moyer Bell. 1993.


    1. C. Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind. University of Chicago Press. 1962

    2. J.J. Gumperz & S.C.Levinson, Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge University Press,1996.

    3. R.W. Langacker, Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Stanford University Press, 1987.

    4. J. Nuyts, and E. Pederson, Language and Conceptualization. Cambridge University Press. 1997.

    5. 5. D. Gentner & S. Goldin-Meadow (eds.), Language in mind: Advances in the study of language and Thought.MIT Press. 2003