Linguistic Relativity Thesis

Tags: College Scholarship Essay ContestsParsons Cdt ThesisEssay Writing For Grade 9Books On Writing A Business PlanHamlet Plot Analysis EssayOnline Dissertation Only PhdWrite A Self Portrait EssayArgument Essay On Universal HealthcareYoung Generation Essay

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual's thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks.

The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior.

Following are quotes from the two linguists who first formulated the hypothesis and for whom it is named, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf : "Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society.

It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection.

Whorf writes how “Language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but rather is itself the shaper of ideas, the program and guide for the individual’s mental activity” (192), and I will explain how it is able to do so.

In this essay I will argue that certain ways of mental categorization, spatial cognition and reality interpretation, based on the characteristics of our specific variety of language, influence our perception of the world. Just because English doesn't have a single word for the idea doesn't mean that Americans can't understand the concept.There's also the "chicken and egg" problem with the theory.The ability of people to learn and to speak multiple languages casts doubt on the strong version of the theory, since a person may learn many different languages, but this does not change the way he/she thinks.Therefore, the strong version of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is refuted by the greater majority of linguists and anthropologists. Berlin & Kay, 1969) who argue that all languages share the same structure (hence, all people view the world identically, according to formalists), the weak Sapir-Whorf hypothesis still continues to interest scholars across many fields and disciplines including linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.(Behaviorism taught that behavior is a result of external conditioning and doesn't take feelings, emotions, and thoughts into account as affecting behavior.Cognitive psychology studies mental processes such as creative thinking, problem-solving, and attention.) "The question of whether languages shape the way we think goes back centuries; Charlemagne proclaimed that 'to have a second language is to have a second soul.' But the idea went out of favor with scientists when Noam Chomsky's theories of language gained popularity in the 1960s and '70s. Chomsky proposed that there is a universal grammar for all human languages—essentially, that languages don't really differ from one another in significant ways...." ("Lost in Translation." "The Wall Street Journal," July 30, 2010) The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was taught in courses through the early 1970s and had become widely accepted as truth, but then it fell out of favor.But recently it has been resurrected, and 'neo-Whorfianism' is now an active research topic in psycholinguistics." ("The Stuff of Thought."Viking, 2007) One big problem with the original Sapir-Whorf hypothesis stems from the idea that if a person's language has no word for a particular concept, then that person would not be able to understand that concept, which is untrue."Languages, of course, are human creations, tools we invent and hone to suit our needs," Boroditsky continued. It is necessary to clarify that the words “strong” and “weak” are not related to the strength of the scholarly argumentation, but rather to the degree to which language is assumed to influence our thought and behaviour.


Comments Linguistic Relativity Thesis

  • What is the strongest evidence for and against the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis?

    The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which states that a person's native language influences how that person thinks, is impossible to prove or to disprove. EDIT For clarity, there are two versions.…


    Outline of the disposition of the thesis. Finally, a description of the aim and purpose of the thesis, along with the questions of interest, are included. 1.1 Disposition of the Study The linguistic relativity hypothesis LRH has generated a great amount of interest and controversy since its conception Lucy, 1997.…

  • Relations Between Language and Th ought -

    Relativity, which holds that all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated. Whorf, 1956, p. 214 Th is linguistic-relativistic view entails that lin-guistic categories will be the “program and guide for…

  • The Sapir Whorf Hypothesis - YouTube

    A brief presentation about "Sapir -Whorf Hypothesis" or "Linguistic Relativism.". Share your thoughts, leave comments below! I appreciate your feedback If You Like This Video, Give It a.…

  • Pinker’s Dilemma Why linguistic relativity is neither false in.

    Linguistic relativity is the thesis that the syntactic structure and lexicon of one's language systematically influence how one perceives and conceptualizes the world Swoyer 2003. For…

  • Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

    Linguist Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Lee Whorf are known for their part in the popularization of this very principle. Their collective theory, know as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis or more commonly the Theory of Linguistic Relativity, holds great significance in the scope of all communication theory.…

  • Relationships Between Language And Culture English Language Essay

    There are two forms of linguistic relativity according to their interpretation of the power of language, linguistic determinism and linguistic relativism, while universalism is an opposite idea to linguistic relativity. These concepts will lead to the main argument of this thesis. Determinism is the strongest form of linguistic relativity.…

  • Wilhelm von Humboldt Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Wilhelm Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt, German man of letters extraordinary, close friend of the poets Goethe and Schiller, whose life’s work encompasses the areas of philosophy, literature, linguistics, anthropology, education, and political thought as well statesmanship was born in Potsdam on June 23, 1767 and died at Tegel near Berlin on April 8, 1835.…

The Latest from ©