The hypothesis of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. Also known as the Sapir–Whorf. Linguistic relativity; Sapir–Whorf hypothesis Benjamin Lee Whorf plwiki Hipoteza Sapira-Whorfa; ptwiki Hipótese de Sapir-Whorf; rowiki Ipoteza Sapir- Whorf. Hipoteza Sapira-Whorfa (ang. Sapir–Whorf hypothesis), in. prawo relatywizmu jezykowego – teoria lingwistyczna gloszaca, ze uzywany jezyk.
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The hypothesis of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. Also known as the Sapir—Whorf hypothesisor Whorfianismthe principle is often defined to include two versions: The term “Sapir—Whorf hypothesis” is considered a misnomer by linguists for several reasons: Edward Sapir hhipoteza Benjamin Lee Whorf never co-authored any works, and never stated their ideas in terms of a hypothesis.
The distinction between a weak and a strong version of this hypothesis is also a later invention; Sapir and Whorf never set up such a dichotomy, sapira-whoefa often in their writings and in their views of this relativity principle are phrased in stronger or weaker terms.
The idea was first clearly expressed by 19th-century thinkers, such as Wilhelm von Humboldtwho saw language as the expression of the spirit of a nation. Members of the early 20th-century school of American anthropology headed by Franz Boas and Edward Sapir also embraced forms of the idea to one degree sapira-hworfa another, including in a meeting of the Linguistic Society of America,  but Sapir in particular wrote more often against than in favor of anything like linguistic determinism.
Sapir’s student, Benjamin Lee Whorf, came to be seen hiloteza the primary proponent as a result of his published observations of how he perceived linguistic differences to have consequences in human cognition and behavior. Harry Hoijeranother of Sapir’s students, introduced the term “Sapir—Whorf hypothesis”,  even though the two scholars never formally advanced any such hypothesis.
Whorf’s principle of linguistic relativity was reformulated as a testable hypothesis by Roger Brown and Eric Lenneberg who conducted experiments designed to find out whether color perception varies between speakers of languages that classified colors differently.
As the study of the universal nature of human language and cognition came into focus in the s the idea of linguistic relativity fell out of favor among linguists.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis – Wikidata
A study by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay demonstrated the existence of universal semantic constraints in the field of colour terminology which were widely seen to discredit the existence of linguistic relativity in this domain, although this conclusion has been disputed by relativist researchers.
From the late s, a new school of linguistic relativity scholars has examined the effects of differences in linguistic categorization on cognition, finding broad support for non-deterministic versions of the hypothesis in experimental contexts. Currently, a balanced view of linguistic relativity is espoused by most linguists holding that language influences certain kinds of cognitive processes in non-trivial ways, but that other processes are better seen as arising from connectionist factors.
Research is focused on exploring the ways and extent to which language influences thought. The strongest form of the theory sapira-whorfw linguistic determinism, which holds that language entirely determines the range of cognitive processes.
The hypothesis of linguistic determinism is now generally agreed to be false. This is the weaker form, proposing that language provides constraints in some areas of cognition, but that it is by no means determinative. Research on weaker forms has produced positive empirical evidence for a relationship.
The idea hpioteza language and thought are intertwined is ancient. Plato argued against sophist thinkers such as Gorgias of Leontiniwho held that the physical world cannot be experienced except through language; this made the question of truth dependent on aesthetic preferences or functional consequences.
Plato held instead that the world consisted of eternal ideas and that language should reflect these ideas as accurately as possible. Augustinefor example, held the view that language was merely labels applied to already existing concepts. This view remained prevalent throughout the Middle Ages. For Immanuel Kantlanguage was but one of several tools used by humans to experience the world.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the idea of the existence of different national characters, or hipoteeza Volksgeister “, of different ethnic groups was the moving force behind the German romantics school and the beginning ideologies of ethnic nationalism. As early ashe alludes to hipoheza along aspira-whorfa lines of linguistic relativity in commenting on a passage in the table of nations in the book of Genesis:.
This is because there is a correspondence of the language with the intellectual part of man, or with his thought, like that of an effect with its cause. There is a common genius prevailing among those who are subject to one king, and who consequently are under one constitutional law. Germany is divided into more governments than the neighboring kingdoms However, a common genius prevails everywhere among people sapiar-whorfa the same language.
Johann Georg Hamann is often suggested to be the first among the actual German Romantics to speak of the concept of “the genius of a language. The lineaments of their language will thus correspond to the direction of their mentality. InWilhelm von Humboldt connected the study of language to the national romanticist program by proposing the view that language is the fabric of thought.
Thoughts are produced as a kind of internal dialog using the same grammar as the thinker’s native language. Von Humboldt argued that spira-whorfa with an inflectional morphological typesuch as German, English and the other Indo-European languageswere the most perfect languages and that accordingly this explained the dominance of their speakers over the speakers of less perfect languages. Wilhelm von Humboldt declared in The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds but a diversity of views of the world.
The idea that some xapira-whorfa are superior to others and that lesser languages maintained their speakers in intellectual poverty was widespread in the early 20th century. American szpira-whorfa William Dwight Whitneyfor example, actively strove to eradicate Native American languagesarguing that yipoteza speakers were savages and would be better off learning English and adopting a “civilized” way of life.
Boas stressed the equal worth of all cultures and languages, that there was no such thing as a primitive language and that all languages were capable of expressing the same content, albeit by widely differing means.
Boas saw language as an inseparable part of culture and he was among the first to require of ethnographers to learn the native language of the culture under study and to document verbal culture such as myths and legends in the original language.
It does not seem likely [ Boas’ student Edward Sapir reached back to the Humboldtian idea that sapira-horfa contained the key to understanding the world views of peoples. He espoused the viewpoint that because of the differences in the grammatical systems of hipotezq no two languages were similar enough to allow for perfect cross-translation.
Sapir also thought because language represented reality differently, it followed that the speakers of different languages would perceive reality differently. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached. Sapir was explicit that the connections between language and culture were neither thoroughgoing nor particularly deep, if they existed at all:.
It is easy to show that language and culture saapira-whorfa not intrinsically associated. Totally unrelated languages share in one culture; closely related languages—even a single language—belong to distinct culture spheres. There are many excellent examples in Aboriginal America. The Athabaskan languages form as clearly unified, as structurally specialized, a group as any that I know of. The speakers of these languages belong to sapjra-whorfa distinct culture areas The cultural adaptability of the Hi;oteza peoples is in the strangest contrast to the inaccessibility to foreign influences of the languages themselves.
Sapir offered similar observations about speakers of so-called “world” or “modern” languagesnoting, “possession of a common language is still sapira-whhorfa will continue to be a smoother of the way to a mutual understanding between England and America, but it is hipotezz clear that other factors, some of them rapidly cumulative, are working powerfully to counteract this leveling influence.
A common language cannot indefinitely set the seal on a common culture when the geographical, physical, and economics determinants of the culture are no longer the same throughout the area. While Sapir never made a point of studying directly how languages affected thought, some notion of probably “weak” linguistic relativity underlay his basic understanding of language, and would be taken up by Whorf.
Drawing on influences such as Humboldt and Friedrich Nietzschesome European thinkers developed ideas similar to those of Sapir and Whorf, generally working in isolation sapira-whodfa each other.
Prominent in Germany from the late s through into the s were the strongly relativist theories of Leo Weisgerber and his key concept sapira-wyorfa a ‘linguistic inter-world’, mediating between external reality and the forms of a given language, in ways peculiar to that language.
His work ” Thought and Language ”  has hkpoteza compared to Whorf’s and taken as mutually supportive evidence of language’s influence on cognition. More than any linguist, Benjamin Lee Whorf saira-whorfa become associated with what he called the “linguistic relativity principle”.
Whorf also examined how a scientific account saira-whorfa the world differed from a religious account, which led him to study the original languages of religious scripture and to write several anti- evolutionist pamphlets. Critics such as Lenneberg, Black and Pinker attribute to Whorf a strong linguistic determinism, while LucySilverstein and Levinson point to Sapira-whorda explicit rejections of determinism, and where he contends that translation and commensuration is possible.
Although Whorf lacked an advanced degree in linguistics, his reputation reflects his acquired competence. His peers at Yale University considered sapjra-whorfa ‘amateur’ Whorf to be the best man available to take over Sapir’s graduate seminar in Native American linguistics while Sapir was on sabbatical in — Indeed, Lucy wrote, “despite his ‘amateur’ status, Whorf’s work in linguistics was and still is recognized as being of superb professional quality by linguists”. Detractors such as Lenneberg, Chomsky and Pinker criticized him for insufficient clarity in his description of how language influences thought, and for not proving his conjectures.
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 sapira-whofa thought. We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language.
The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscope flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguistic systems of our minds.
We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way—an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language [ Among Whorf’s best-known examples of linguistic relativity are instances where an indigenous language has several terms for a concept that is only described with one word in European languages Whorf used the acronym SAE ” Standard Average European ” to allude to the rather similar grammatical structures of the well-studied European languages in contrast to the greater diversity of less-studied languages.
One of Whorf’s examples sapira-whora the supposedly large number of words for ‘snow’ in the Inuit languagean example which later was contested as a misrepresentation. Another is the Hopi language ‘s words for water, one indicating drinking water in a container and another indicating a natural body of water. These examples of polysemy served the sapira-wuorfa purpose of showing that indigenous languages sometimes made more fine grained semantic distinctions than European languages and that direct translation between two languages, even of seemingly basic concepts such as snow or water, is not always possible.
Another example is from Whorf’s salira-whorfa as a chemical engineer working for hipotzea insurance company as a fire inspector. He further noticed that while no employees smoked cigarettes in the room for full barrels, no-one minded smoking in the room hipteza empty barrels, although this was potentially much more dangerous because of the highly flammable vapors still in the barrels.
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 eapira-whorfa of explosion. This example was later criticized by Lenneberg  as not actually demonstrating causality between the use of the word empty and the action of smoking, but instead was an sapira-whirfa of circular reasoning.
Pinker in The Language Instinct ridiculed this example, claiming that this was a failing of human insight rather than language. Whorf’s most elaborate argument for linguistic relativity regarded what he believed to be a fundamental difference in the understanding of time as a conceptual category among the Hopi.
He proposed that this view of time was fundamental to Hopi culture and explained certain Hopi sapira-whorva patterns. Malotki later claimed that he had found no evidence of Whorf’s claims in ‘s era speakers, nor in historical documents dating back to the arrival of Europeans. Malotki used evidence from archaeological data, calendars, historical documents, modern speech and concluded that there was no evidence that Hopi conceptualize time in the way Whorf suggested.
Universalist scholars such as Pinker often see Malotki’s study as a final hiptoeza of Whorf’s claim about Hopi, whereas sspira-whorfa scholars such as Lucy and Penny Lee criticized Malotki’s study for mischaracterizing Whorf’s claims and for forcing Hopi grammar into a model of analysis that doesn’t fit the data. Whorf died in at age 44, leaving multiple unpublished papers. His line of thought was continued by linguists and anthropologists such as Hoijer and Lee who both continued investigations into the effect of language on habitual thought, and Tragerwho prepared a number of Whorf’s papers for posthumous publishing.
The most important event for the dissemination of Whorf’s ideas to a larger public was the publication in of his major writings on the hipotezq of linguistic relativity in a single volume titled Language, Thought and Reality.
InEric Lenneberg criticised Whorf’s examples from an objectivist view of language holding that languages are principally meant to represent events in the real world and that sapira-wwhorfa though languages express these ideas in various ways, the sapifa-whorfa of such expressions and therefore the thoughts of the speaker are equivalent.
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 hopoteza relativity. However Whorf was concerned with how the habitual use of language influences habitual behavior, rather than translatability.
Hipotezz point was that while English speakers may be able to understand how a Hopi speaker thinks, they do not think in that way. Lenneberg’s main criticism of Whorf’s works was that he never showed the connection between a linguistic phenomenon and a mental phenomenon.
With Brown, Lenneberg proposed that proving such a connection required directly matching linguistic phenomena with behavior. They assessed linguistic relativity experimentally and published their findings in Since neither Sapir nor Whorf had ever stated a formal hypothesis, Brown and Lenneberg formulated their own. Their two hipotrza were i “the world is differently experienced and conceived in different linguistic communities” and ii “language causes a particular cognitive structure”.
Brown’s formulations became widely known and were retrospectively attributed to Whorf and Sapir although the second formulation, verging on linguistic determinism, was hipoeza advanced by either of them.