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Impact of wordformation?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by ThomasK, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I have just asked about belief vs. faith at AL and noticed that in some languages the words have a common root, whereas I had not imagined that [as such irrelevant, but...].

    I just wonder whether cognitive linguistics (or psychology) -or any other branch of linguistics/... - has ever investigated the the effect/ the impact on perception or ... of the fact that words have (obvious) common roots... Any references to texts on the internet are welcome.
     
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I am completely puzzled what your problem is. Faith and belief (both geloof in your language) express the same basic idea, don't they?
     
  3. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    According to psycholinguistic research, presence or absence of certain words denoting both physical objects and abstract concepts has a relevance for cognitive processes in the mind of the language speakers. For example, it has been proved that people recognize colours much more easily if they have an own word for the colour in their langauge.
     
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks, Ben Jamin! It reminds me of the fact that naming a problem gives a hold, and helps perceive the problem - but possibly reduces perception to some aspects of the problem... (I just read about a periferic view on something, as opposed to the rational focus...)

    @berndf: well, let me assure you: faith can refer to geloof in Dutch but also and mainly to vertrouwen, when not used in a religious sense. But they don't refer to the same concept in most people's minds... Geloof, belief, will generally refer to assumptions, often to dogms in religion, and may as such be the basis of vertrouwen, confidence or trust, but I can assure you most speakers of Dutch will not think of vertrouwen when you refer to geloof. Geloof in God will often be - and has often been - understood as the believing in/ assuming the existence of God, and not as a relation of trust, not very emotional at least, which might account for the loss of faith (in the meaning of geloof, as adherence to a community of faithful)...

    As a matter of fact, the more I write about it, trying to formulate differences, the more I think about the distinction that is not perceived by some non-Dutch-speaking people, the more, I get convinced that my question at the AL-forum will have been been answered in the wrong way, at least to some extent.... It seems so hard to me to avoid these misunderstandings. I had come to that conclusion before and have already started using my words in sentences, but in this case, it might not even be sufficient. Any advice on disambiguation is very welcome.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  5. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I am obviously are of the distinction between geloof and vertrouwen as my own language has exactly the same pair of words and concepts (Glauben and Vertrauen) Than you should have put this concept pair for discussion as Ebglish obviously separates them differently, which on its own should already tell us something.;)

    The way the two concepts coincide in religous matters, in my mind, hints us towards the common source from which they both well. The rest is specialization depending on context.
     
  6. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
    It's a usual situation for a term in one language to be mapped into several terms in another with specialized meaning for each. Why are you surprised to learn that faith/belief, of similar semantic, are one in some languages? In English it may just demonstrate the merger of native (Germanic) and French vocabularies.
     
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I am not quite sure I understand well. I did not wish to doubt your knowledge of the distinction, but I wanted to point out that geloof does not have the two meanings with us (i.e., faith & belief). What would you have suggested if I had not asked the question yet? Should I have asked how Foreros view the distinction? I had really not realized it could have been that complex. The next question would be: how does one communicate about such distinctions? (I once tried to investigate whether certain frequency words (like quite often) have an equivalent...

    I was a little surprised because we do not (spontaneously) perceive a link between geloof and vertrouwen. Of course when thinking things (words) over, one can perceive one, but...
     
  8. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    In Polish there is "wiara" that means both "belief" and "faith", and for most Polish speakers there is no strong feeling for a dictinction between those two concepts. There is, however, a semantically related word "zaufanie" (trust) that we use to translate German "Vertrauen". I don't know Dutch, so I don't know if "vertouwen" can mean "trust".

    By the way, the verb "to believe" in English relates to both "faith" and "belief" ("He belives in God", and "He believes that tomatoes are not poisonous").
     
  9. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    As you said, with a little bit of reflection the cognitive link is obvious. It shouldn't surprise you, if language use words of the same origin for both concepts... Or demarkate the concepts a bit differently, like English belief, faith, trust.

    By the way, in my language that has the same words as yours the expression for te goeder touw (in good faith) is in Treu und Glauben. This expression at least associates the concepts of touw and geloof.
     
  10. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    As I understand ThomasK's question, it's not really about how the concepts faith and belief are expressed in a given language (that's the other thread). It's about the effect of adding derivational affixes to a word. Does the common root have an effect on the perception of the words? You do find priming effects but from what I could understand, a certain degree of semantic relatedness is necessary. If the semantic relation is synchronically opaque, the priming effects are weak at best. It's possible that morphological relatedness will enhance the priming effects but only if there is a transparent semantic relation.
     
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks a lot for the hint. The main thing indeed is not so much the words themselves, but the question whether their morphological relationship in one language implies a different view on the concepts. I have not been able to read the article yet, but there might be some clues in it. Don't know whether priming is so relevant here, but I am going to try to find out about that.

    I suppose it will be too difficult to find out how people 'view' concepts that seem semantically related like these ones, or their connotations.
     
  12. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Based on my own intuitions and on the priming experiment I linked to, the impact of a morphological relationship alone is close to zero.
     
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    The other issue is: how can one find out whether we mean the same thing by so-called translations of words? That might be off-topic...
     

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