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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2021

Systemic Culture Shock

Systemic Culture Shock

Meeting Fu Lai Ming on the Tibetan Plateau

(p.81) Systemic Culture Shock
At Home and in the Field

Naomi C. F. Yamada

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter is a story about cultural categories of birds and science in China that addresses issues of the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis—which suggests that the cultural content of one's language can influence one's habitual thought and practice. It emphasizes that to learn Chinese categories one had to “unlearn” similar, yet different, concepts of Western culture—resulting in a culture shock that has less to do with an encounter with difference and more a forced reevaluation of familiar categories. These cultural categories can be summed up neatly in the concept of “linguistic relativity”—the idea that language influences the way people see the world and even think.

Keywords:   language, linguistic relativity, cultural categories, Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, China, Tibet

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