Stranger in a Strange Land
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Mike thinks in Martian—and this gives him a different 'map.' […] Language itself shapes a man's basic ideas." (21.66-67)
In fancy speak, Mahmoud's idea is known as linguistic determinism. We all know that language affects thought through communication, but a linguistic determinist would argue that language determines thought and how we see the world around us. For example, if Eskimos have forty words for snow, then snow will be more important to an Eskimo than to someone who comes from a place with only three words for snow. In this example, Mike is the Eskimo.
"Mmm, one does have to learn to look at art. But it's up to the artist to use language that can be understood." (30.71)
Art is a language. We learn to read a piece of art, such as Jubal's sculptures, by reading other, similar types of art. For Jubal, it's a two-way street though. The artist communicates in the language of his medium—different mediums like paintings, literature, and music will have different languages—and in a way, the recipient can follow.
"That's the odd part. It's not really a church."
"What is it?"
"Uh, primarily a language school." (30.153-55)
The Church of All Worlds teaches its philosophy by teaching its own unique language. In a way, all social institutions are language schools. The NRA, the Writer's Guild, the Twilight fan club, they all teach a unique language and members must learn it to properly join.