Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
Humpty Dumpty was correct to see the important connection between language and power; and if Lewis Carroll had developed this discussion further, he might have had his characters comment as well on the interrelationship between language and thought, language and culture, and language and social change. While linguists and anthropologists continue the difficult debate about whether language is culture or is merely "related" to culture, and while sociolinguists and psychologists question the effects of language on society and on the psyche, American blacks and women understand all too well that "He is master who can define," and that the process of naming and defining is not an intellectual game but a grasping of experience and a key to action.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1984