521-Class 12

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Language and Number/Numerical Cognition[edit]

Readings: Gordon (2004), Casasanto (2005), Frank et al. (2008)

Study Questions[edit]

Gordon (2004)

  • How does the Pirahã counting system differ from English (is it accurate to call it a “counting system”? Do any of the Pirahã number words refer to exact quantities?
  • Why did Gordon test the Piraha in multiple ways?
  • Are nonhuman animals capable of estimating quantities?
  • Does Gordon’s study unequivocally demonstrate an effect of language on numeric cognition?

Casasanto (2005)

  • What does Casasanto mean by “crying Whorf”?
  • What are the two major shortcomings with Gordon’s study of the Pirahã that Casasanto points out?
  • Why does Casasanto suggest using a “control group” for the Pirahã? What are his and Gordon’s arguments for and against the use of a control group?

Frank et al (2008)

  • What are the motivations for Frank et al.’s experiments?
  • Do Frank et al. address Casasanto’s critique?
  • Do Frank et al. find different results from Gordon? (hint: No, not really)