The whorfian hypothesis

The cultural adaptability of the Athabaskan-speaking peoples is in the strangest contrast to the inaccessibility to foreign influences of the languages themselves.

language and thought whorfian hypothesis

Psycholinguistic studies explored motion perception, emotion perception, object representation and memory. The Athabaskan languages form as clearly unified, as structurally specialized, a group as any that I know of.

sapir whorf hypothesis linguistic relativity and determinism

Most of his arguments were in the form of anecdotes and speculations that served as attempts to show how 'exotic' grammatical traits were connected to what were apparently equally exotic worlds of thought. Pinker in The Language Instinct ridiculed this example, claiming that this was a failing of human insight rather than language.

Sapir whorf hypothesis weak and strong version

Google Scholar 4. Alternatively, perhaps only deep differences that permeate the linguistic and cultural system suffice. The structure of the color space in naming and memory for two languages. This example was later criticized by Lenneberg [38] as not actually demonstrating causality between the use of the word empty and the action of smoking, but instead was an example of circular reasoning. They assessed linguistic relativity experimentally and published their findings in In this way, it could be determined whether the differing color categories of the two speakers would determine their ability to recognize nuances within color categories. Colour categories are not universal: Replications and new evidence from a Stone-Age culture. Whorf was an amateur linguist who studied with the anthropologist Edward Sapir in the s and s. These, Slobin argues, are the kinds of cognitive process that are at the root of linguistic relativity.

American linguist William Dwight Whitneyfor example, actively strove to eradicate Native American languagesarguing that their speakers were savages and would be better off learning English and adopting a "civilized" way of life. Google Scholar 4.

The whorfian hypothesis

Main article: Linguistic determinism The strongest form of the theory is linguistic determinism, which holds that language entirely determines the range of cognitive processes. Berlin, B. The "give and take" between language and culture leads, according to Whorf, to keeping of diaries, mathematics stimulated by accounting, to calendars, clocks, chroniology, time as used in physics; to the historical attitude, interest in the past, archeology, etc. As early as , he alludes to something along the lines of linguistic relativity in commenting on a passage in the table of nations in the book of Genesis: "Everyone according to his language, according to their families, as to their nations. PubMed Google Scholar 6. They designed experiments involving the codification of colors. These, Slobin argues, are the kinds of cognitive process that are at the root of linguistic relativity. He argued that Whorf's English descriptions of a Hopi speaker's view of time were in fact translations of the Hopi concept into English, therefore disproving linguistic relativity. He proposed that this view of time was fundamental to Hopi culture and explained certain Hopi behavioral patterns.

Sapir: No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The Chomskyan school also holds the belief that linguistic structures are largely innate and that what are perceived as differences between specific languages are surface phenomena that do not affect the brain's universal cognitive processes.

Although Whorf lacked an advanced degree in linguistics, his reputation reflects his acquired competence. Hopi rather distinguishes the "manifest," all that which is accessible to the senses with no distinction between present and past, and the unmanifest" comprising the future as well as what we call mental.

the whorfian hypothesis a cognitive psychology perspective

We cut up and organize the spread and flow of events as we do largely because, though our mother tongue, we are partes of an agreement to so so, not because nature itself is segmented in exactly that way for all to see.

He concluded that the use of the word empty in connection to the barrels had led the workers to unconsciously regard them as harmless, although consciously they were probably aware of the risk of explosion. Critics such as Lenneberg, Black and Pinker attribute to Whorf a strong linguistic determinism, while LucySilverstein and Levinson point to Whorf's explicit rejections of determinism, and where he contends that translation and commensuration is possible.

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The Whorfian Hypothesis