521-Class 8

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What's in a name?[edit]

Readings: Pullum (1989); Lupyan et al (2007).

  • Read over the QALMRI doc for tips on how read empirical papers more effectively.

Study Questions[edit]


  • What is Pullum’s thesis? What is the hoax?
  • On what basis does he conclude that “the more you think about the Eskimo vocabulary hoax, the more stupid it gets.”
  • What does it mean for a word to be derived from the same root?
  • What comparison does Pullum make between English words for snow and Eskimo words for snow? What makes it hard to count how many words there are for something?

Lupyan et al. (2007)

  • How did the authors test the hypothesis that names improved the learning of new categories?
  • Why did the authors refer to the labels as being “redundant”
  • What was the point of doing Experiment 2? i.e., what sorts of possible confounds did it address?
  • How does this paper speak to Pullum’s arguments about the triteness of the claim that idea that Eskimos have lots of words for snow?