THE PRECISE WORDS FOR DIFFERENT KINDS OF BOGS. Tom Shippey begins his review thus: “At the heart of LANDMARKS…is the conviction that ‘language deficit leads to attention deficit.’ If you have no vocabulary for things, you notice them less.” This is an argument for Whorfianism, which I have posted on a number of times, including here. I acknowledged in that post that I have Whorfian tendencies—“It turns out that I believe that language can shape thought.”
Shippey cites two examples from LANDMARKS of different precise words for bogs used by the 500 people on the island of Lewis in the Scottish Hebrides. He gives the English equivalents of the Gaelic words: â€œquivering bog with water trapped beneath itâ€ and â€œdangerous sinking bog that may be bright green or grassy.”
I don’t think I would notice these characteristics of bogs—but if I had learned the Gaelic words, I imagine I would.