Claude Levi Strauss, La Pensée savage

It has long been the fashion to invoke languages which lack the terms for expressing such a concept as ‘tree’ or ‘animal’, even though they contain all the words necessary for a detailed inventory of species and varieties. But, to begin with, while these cases are cited as evidence of the supposed ineptitude of ‘primitive people’ for abstract thought, other cases are at the same time ignored which make it plain that richness of abstract words is not a monopoly of civilized languages.

Source: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962

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