# Linguistic patterns of English and Navajo speakers

### Problem

Cognition and language are intertwined, and it can be difficult to parse out how the one influences the other. In the Navajo language, verb endings express the shapes of objects, while English verb endings do not. A psychologist believes that this linguistic pattern would lead Navajo speakers to group objects differently than English speakers. To test this theory, she finds groups of 8-year-old children from the same community who primarily speak either English or Navajo and presents them with a blue rope. She asks them if they would rather place the blue rope with a yellow rope or with a blue stick. Table 1 outlines the results from study 1, and indicates the approximate percentage of each language group that placed the blue rope with each object.
Table 1EnglishNavajo
With yellow rope40%70%
With blue stick60%30%
The researcher decides to try to see what happens if the test is administered to younger participants, and conducts the same study with groups of 4-year old children from the same community who again primarily speak either English or Navajo, and asks them the same question. Table 2 outlines the results from study 2, and indicates the approximate percentage of each language group that placed the blue rope with each object.
Table 2EnglishNavajo
With yellow rope50%50%
With blue stick50%50%
The researcher decides to ask a participant from study 2 why she chose to place the blue rope with the yellow rope. The child replies, “The ropes are best friends and the blue rope was sad without the yellow rope!” The child also mentions that she doesn't understand why anyone would choose to put the blue rope with the blue stick. Based on her statement and information from the passage, what stage of Piaget's cognitive development is this child mostly likely in?
Please choose from one of the following options.