Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 11:52:29 -0800

From: Dan Moonhawk Alford dalford[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]S1.CSUHAYWARD.EDU

Subject: Re: Language and Intelligence

On Wed, 6 Dec 1995, Rudy Troike wrote:

Even within the realm traditionally considered "intelligence", there

are clearly differential abilities to think/conceptualize/comprehend abstract

matters. Mathematicians and physicists belong at the top of this pile,

with linguists somewhat below, and historians and archeologists somewhere

below that.

Wow, what a bizarre notion! What you are characterizing as higher and

more abstract is simply that mathematicians and physicists think in the

languages of mathematics, which are extremely low-context languages that

focus on relationships rather than things. Other languages that focus on

relationships rather than things are, most notably, those of Native

America -- except in a high-context fashion and as a daily spoken

language; otherwise, the analogy here is quite fit. Which thereby, of

course, puts a Native child of 7 or 8 above mathematicians and

physicists, and perhaps raises some anthropological linguists fluent in

Native American languages to the level of math/physics cream.