PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

MagnumLifeStyle
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PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

Postby MagnumLifeStyle » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:56 pm

Premises of the argument:
1. Languages other than English have seperate words ("mother's brother," "father's brother" for the same word in English ("uncle").
2. Such languages practice a more discriminated kinship system than English.
3. The number of words to describe color varies widely from language to language.

Conclusion: Speakers of languages that have fewer basic words for colors than English must be perceptually unable to distinguish as many colors as speakers of English.

The question asks to pick an answer that weakens the conclusion.

I narrowed down the answer choices to C and A.

I chose C because I thought that it shows how languages that might have fewer basic words than English perceptually distinguish colors in a different way that shows they can distinguish the words similar to English speakers.

But the official answer is A. I don't really see how the fact that English speakers can distinguish ligther and dakrer blue while the Russian language has two seperate words for it undermines the stated conclusion above.

Also, the conclusion specifically refers to languages that have fewer basic words for colors than English. The official answer doesn't establish that Russian has fewer words for color than English. So I really wonder what the line of thinking is behind A.


I'll appreciate any feedback you might have.

Thanks!


MagnumLifeStyle
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Re: PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

Postby MagnumLifeStyle » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:29 pm

Thanks Atlas LSAT Teacher,

But does answer choice (A) establish that Russian has fewer words to describe color than English?

The stimulus specifically refers to languages "that have fewer basic words for colors than English" and claims that speakers of such languages can distinguish less colors than English speakers.

I can follow your logic if it is clearly established that Russian has FEWER words to describe color than English. But this isn't clearly established in the answer choice.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

Postby Nulli Secundus » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:07 pm

According to KAPLAN,

(A)
The author concludes that when a language has fewer words for colors than does English,
speakers of that language must be “perceptually unable” to distinguish as many colors as
can English speakers. So the author believes there’s not just a linguistic difference, but
there’s an actual difference in perception. (A) undermines this conclusion by severing the
connection between words and perceptions. Russian has two different words for two
shades of blue; English has only one word for both shades, yet English speakers are able to
distinguish between them. This suggests that the lack of a word to describe a color doesn’t
imply lack of ability to perceive that color.

While,

(C) describes how Khmer applies words for colors differently from English speakers, but
tells us nothing about how the Khmerians perceive the colors in question. Therefore, it
doesn’t affect the link between language and perception.

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:29 pm

MagnumLifeStyle wrote:Thanks Atlas LSAT Teacher,

But does answer choice (A) establish that Russian has fewer words to describe color than English?

The stimulus specifically refers to languages "that have fewer basic words for colors than English" and claims that speakers of such languages can distinguish less colors than English speakers.

I can follow your logic if it is clearly established that Russian has FEWER words to describe color than English. But this isn't clearly established in the answer choice.

I think you've got it a bit twisted here. The conclusion establishes that the fewer the words, the weaker the distinguishing (and uses English as an example). But, (A) establishes that while English speakers have only one word for blue, they are able to distinguish multiple shades of that color.

Does that make sense?

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:39 pm

I think you're not getting the fact that answer choice A actually does establish that English uses fewer words for the differing shades of blue, notably it uses the very word "blue", which is a single word, compared to the two different words in Russian.

MagnumLifeStyle
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Re: PT 14, Sec 2, Problem 12: Weird LR Question about English

Postby MagnumLifeStyle » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:25 pm

AHH,
Now I see the error in my reasoning (I think).

My mistake was to focus overly on proving that the Russian language had fewer words to describe color than English (which answer choice A doesn't state).

But what Atlas LSAT Teacher and Audio Technia Guy are saying is that choice (A) states that English actually has fewer words than Russian, yet English speakers are able to "perceptually distinguish" as many words as Russian speakers, which weakens the argument's claim that fewer words = less possibility of distinguishing colors.

Thanks nullisecundus for also sharing Kaplan's explanation, it helped me see the problem from a different angle.




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