Dan Slobin

Psychologist, Academic

1939 –

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Who is Dan Slobin?

Dan Isaac Slobin is a Professor Emeritus of psychology and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Slobin has made major contributions to the study of children's language acquisition, and his work has demonstrated the importance of cross-linguistic comparison for the study of language acquisition and psycholinguistics in general.

Dan Slobin received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1960 and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University in 1964. In addition to working at the University of California, Berkeley, Slobin has served as a visiting professor at several universities around the world, including Boğaziçi University, Tel-Aviv University, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and Stanford University.

Slobin has extensively studied the organization of information about spatial relations and motion events by speakers of different languages, including both children and adults. He has argued that becoming a competent speaker of a language requires learning certain language-specific modes of thinking, which he dubbed "thinking for speaking". Slobin's "thinking for speaking" view can be described as a contemporary, moderate version of the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, which claims that the language we learn shapes the way we perceive reality and think about it. This view is often contrasted with the "language acquisition device" view of Noam Chomsky and others, who think of language acquisition as a process largely independent of learning and cognitive development.

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May 7, 1939
Also known as
  • Dan Isaac Slobin
  • United States of America
  • PhD, Harvard University
    Social psychology
    ( - 1964)
  • Bachelor's degree, University of Michigan
    ( - 1960)
  • University of California, Berkeley
Lived in
  • Berkeley

on July 23, 2013


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