The principle of LINGUISTIC RELATIVITY holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition . Popularly known as the SAPIR–WHORF HYPOTHESIS, or WHORFIANISM, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.
The term "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis" is considered a misnomer by linguists for several reasons: Edward Sapir and 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, although often in their writings their views of this relativity principle are phrased in stronger or weaker terms.
The idea was first clearly expressed by 19th-century thinkers, such
Wilhelm von Humboldt
From the late 1980s, 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. Some effects of linguistic relativity have been shown in several semantic domains, although they are generally weak. 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 principle of linguistic relativity and the relation between language and thought has also received attention in varying academic fields from philosophy to psychology and anthropology , and it has also inspired and coloured works of fiction and the invention of constructed languages .
* 1 Forms
* 1.1 Linguistic determinism * 1.2 Linguistic influence
* 2 History
* 2.1 German Romantic philosophers
* 2.2 Boas and Sapir
Benjamin Lee Whorf
* 2.7 Cognitive linguistics
* 2.7.1 Parameters * 2.7.2 Rethinking Linguistic Relativity
* 2.8 Refinements
* 3 Empirical research
* 3.1 Structure-centered * 3.2 Domain-centered * 3.3 Behavior-centered * 3.4 Color terminology
* 4 Other domains
* 4.1 Science and philosophy * 4.2 Therapy and self-development * 4.3 Artificial languages * 4.4 Programming languages * 4.5 In popular culture
* 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Further reading
Main article: Linguistic determinism
The strongest form of the theory is 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 have produced positive empirical evidence for a relationship.
The idea that language and thought are intertwined is ancient. Plato
argued against sophist thinkers such as
Gorgias of Leontini , who held
that the physical world cannot be experienced except through language;
this made the question of truth dependent on aesthetic preferences or
GERMAN ROMANTIC PHILOSOPHERS
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the idea of the existence of different national characters, or "Volksgeister", of different ethnic groups was the moving force behind the German romantics school and the beginning ideologies of ethnic nationalism.
Wilhelm von Humboldt
The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds but a diversity of views of the world.
BOAS AND SAPIR
The idea that some languages are superior to others and that lesser
languages maintained their speakers in intellectual poverty was
widespread in the early 20th century. American linguist William Dwight
Whitney , for example, actively strove to eradicate Native American
languages , arguing that their speakers were savages and would be
better off learning English and adopting a civilized way of life. The
first anthropologist and linguist to challenge this view was Franz
Boas . While undertaking geographical research in northern Canada he
became fascinated with the
It does not seem likely that there is any direct relation between the culture of a tribe and the language they speak, except in so far as the form of the language will be moulded by the state of the culture, but not in so far as a certain state of the culture is conditioned by the morphological traits of the language."
Boas' student Edward Sapir reached back to the Humboldtian idea that languages contained the key to understanding the world views of peoples. He espoused the viewpoint that because of the differences in the grammatical systems of languages 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.
On the other hand, Sapir explicitly rejected strong linguistic determinism by stating, "It would be naïve to imagine that any analysis of experience is dependent on pattern expressed in language."
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 are 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 four distinct culture areas... The cultural adaptability of the Athabaskan-speaking 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" languages , noting, "possession of a common language is still and will continue to be a smoother of the way to a mutual understanding between England and America, but it is very 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
BENJAMIN LEE WHORF
Benjamin Lee Whorf
More than any linguist,
Benjamin Lee Whorf
Although Whorf lacked an advanced degree in linguistics, his reputation reflects his acquired competence. His peers at Yale University considered the '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 1937–38. He was highly regarded by authorities such as Boas, Sapir, Bloomfield and Tozzer . 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 of thought. In Whorf's words:
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 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's illustration of the difference between the English and Shawnee gestalt construction of cleaning a gun with a ramrod. From the article "Science and Linguistics", originally published in the MIT Technology Review, 1940.
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 was the supposedly large number of words for
\'snow\' in the
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 double 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 from Whorf's experience as a chemical engineer
working for an insurance company as a fire inspector. While
inspecting a chemical plant he observed that the plant had two storage
rooms for gasoline barrels, one for the full barrels and one for the
empty ones. He further noticed that while no employees smoked
cigarettes in the room for full barrels, no-one minded smoking in the
room with 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 risk 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 example of circular
reasoning . Pinker in The
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 argued that in contrast to English and other SAE languages , Hopi does not treat the flow of time as a sequence of distinct, countable instances, like "three days" or "five years," but rather as a single process and that consequently it has no nouns referring to units of time as SAE speakers understand them. He proposed that this view of time was fundamental to Hopi culture and explained certain Hopi behavioral patterns. Malotki later claimed that he had found no evidence of Whorf's claims in 1980'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 refutation of Whorf's claim about Hopi, whereas relativist 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 1941 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 Trager , who 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 1956 of his major writings on the topic of linguistic relativity in a single volume titled Language, Thought and Reality.
In 1953, Eric 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 even though languages express these ideas in various ways, the meanings 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 linguistic relativity. However Whorf was concerned with how the habitual use of language influences habitual behavior, rather than translatability. Whorf's 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 1954.
Since neither Sapir nor Whorf had ever stated a formal hypothesis, Brown and Lenneberg formulated their own. Their two tenets were (i) "the world is differently experienced and conceived in different linguistic communities" and (ii) "language causes a particular cognitive structure". Brown later developed them into the so-called "weak" and "strong" formulation:
* Structural differences between language systems will, in general, be paralleled by nonlinguistic cognitive differences, of an unspecified sort, in the native speakers of the language. * The structure of anyone's native language strongly influences or fully determines the worldview he will acquire as he learns the language.
Brown's formulations became widely known and were retrospectively attributed to Whorf and Sapir although the second formulation, verging on linguistic determinism, was never advanced by either of them.
Since Brown and Lenneberg believed that the objective reality denoted by language was the same for speakers of all languages, they decided to test how different languages codified the same message differently and whether differences in codification could be proven to affect behavior.
They designed experiments involving the codification of colors. In their first experiment, they investigated whether it was easier for speakers of English to remember color shades for which they had a specific name than to remember colors that were not as easily definable by words. This allowed them to compare the linguistic categorization directly to a non-linguistic task. In a later experiment, speakers of two languages that categorize colors differently (English and Zuni ) were asked to recognize colors. 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. Brown and Lenneberg found that Zuñi speakers who classify green and blue together as a single color did have trouble recognizing and remembering nuances within the green/blue category. Brown and Lenneberg's study began a tradition of investigation of linguistic relativity through color terminology.
Lenneberg was also one of the first cognitive scientists to begin development of the Universalist theory of language that was formulated by Chomsky in the form of Universal Grammar , effectively arguing that all languages share the same underlying structure. 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. This theory became the dominant paradigm in American linguistics from the 1960s through the 1980s, while linguistic relativity became the object of ridicule.
Examples of universalist influence in the 1960s are the studies by Berlin and Kay who continued Lenneberg's color research. They studied color terminology formation and showed clear universal trends in color naming. For example, they found that even though languages have different color terminologies, they generally recognize certain hues as more focal than others. They showed that in languages with few color terms, it is predictable from the number of terms which hues are chosen as focal colors, for example, languages with only three color terms always have the focal colors black, white and red. The fact that what had been believed to be random differences between color naming in different languages could be shown to follow universal patterns was seen as a powerful argument against linguistic relativity. Berlin and Kay's research has since been criticized by relativists such as Lucy, who argued that Berlin and Kay's conclusions were skewed by their insistence that color terms encode only color information. This, Lucy argues, made them blind to the instances in which color terms provided other information that might be considered examples of linguistic relativity.
Other universalist researchers dedicated themselves to dispelling other aspects of linguistic relativity, often attacking Whorf's specific points and examples. For example, Malotki's monumental study of time expressions in Hopi presented many examples that challenged Whorf's "timeless" interpretation of Hopi language and culture.
Today many followers of the universalist school of thought still
oppose linguistic relativity. For example, Pinker argues in The
Pinker and other universalists have been accused by relativists of misrepresenting Whorf's views and arguing against strawmen .
JOSHUA FISHMAN\'S "WHORFIANISM OF THE THIRD KIND"
Joshua Fishman argued that Whorf's true position was largely overlooked. In 1978, he suggested that Whorf was a "neo-Herderian champion" and in 1982, he proposed "Whorfianism of the third kind" in an attempt to refocus linguists' attention on what he claimed was Whorf's real interest, namely the intrinsic value of "little peoples" and "little languages". Whorf had criticized Ogden 's Basic English thus:
But to restrict thinking to the patterns merely of English is to lose a power of thought which, once lost, can never be regained. It is the 'plainest' English which contains the greatest number of unconscious assumptions about nature. We handle even our plain English with much greater effect if we direct it from the vantage point of a multilingual awareness.
Where Brown's weak version of the linguistic relativity hypothesis proposes that language influences thought and the strong version that language determines thought, Fishman's 'Whorfianism of the third kind' proposes that language is a key to culture.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, advances in cognitive psychology
and cognitive linguistics renewed interest in the Sapir–Whorf
hypothesis. One of those who adopted a more Whorfian approach was
In his book Women, Fire and Dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind, Lakoff reappraised linguistic relativity and especially Whorf's views about how linguistic categorization reflects and/or influences mental categories. He concluded that the debate had been confused. He described four parameters on which researchers differed in their opinions about what constitutes linguistic relativity.
One parameter is the degree and depth of linguistic relativity. Perhaps a few examples of superficial differences in language and associated behavior are enough to demonstrate the existence of linguistic relativity. Alternatively, perhaps only deep differences that permeate the linguistic and cultural system suffice.
A second parameter is whether conceptual systems are absolute or whether they can evolve.
A third parameter is whether the similarity criterion is translatability or the use of linguistic expressions.
A fourth parameter is whether the locus of linguistic relativity is in language or in the brain. Lakoff concluded that many of Whorf's critics had criticized him using novel definitions of linguistic relativity, rendering their criticisms moot.
Rethinking Linguistic Relativity
The publication of the 1996 anthology Rethinking Linguistic Relativity edited by Gumperz and Levinson began a new period of linguistic relativity studies that focused on cognitive and social aspects. The book included studies on the linguistic relativity and universalist traditions. Levinson documented significant linguistic relativity effects in the linguistic conceptualization of spatial categories between languages. Separate studies by Bowerman and Slobin treated the role of language in cognitive processes. Bowerman showed that certain cognitive processes did not use language to any significant extent and therefore could not be subject to linguistic relativity. Slobin described another kind of cognitive process that he named "thinking for speaking" – the kind of process in which perceptional data and other kinds of prelinguistic cognition are translated into linguistic terms for communication. These, Slobin argues, are the kinds of cognitive process that are at the root of linguistic relativity.
Researchers such as Boroditsky , Lucy and Levinson believe that language influences thought in more limited ways than the broadest early claims. Researchers examine the interface between thought (or cognition), language and culture and describe the relevant influences. They use experimental data to back up their conclusions. Kay ultimately concluded that " Whorf hypothesis is supported in the right visual field but not the left". His findings show that accounting for brain lateralization offers another perspective.
Psycholinguistic studies explored motion perception, emotion perception, object representation and memory. The gold standard of psycholinguistic studies on linguistic relativity is now finding non-linguistic cognitive differences in speakers of different languages (thus rendering inapplicable Pinker 's criticism that linguistic relativity is "circular").
Recent work with bilingual speakers attempts to distinguish the effects of language from those of culture on bilingual cognition including perceptions of time, space, motion, colors and emotion. Researchers described differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in perception of color, representations of time and other elements of cognition.
Lucy identified three main strands of research into linguistic relativity.
The "structure-centered" approach starts with a language's structural peculiarity and examines its possible ramifications for thought and behavior. The defining example is Whorf's observation of discrepancies between the grammar of time expressions in Hopi and English. More recent research in this vein is Lucy's research describing how usage of the categories of grammatical number and of numeral classifiers in the Mayan language Yucatec result in Mayan speakers classifying objects according to material rather than to shape as preferred by English speakers.
The "domain-centered" approach selects a semantic domain and compares it across linguistic and cultural groups. It centered on color terminology, although this domain is acknowledged to be sub-optimal, because color perception, unlike other semantic domains, is hardwired into the neural system and as such is subject to more universal restrictions than other semantic domains.
Space is another semantic domain that has proven fruitful for linguistic relativity studies. Spatial categories vary greatly across languages. Speakers rely on the linguistic conceptualization of space in performing many ordinary tasks. Levinson and others reported three basic spatial categorizations. While many languages use combinations of them, some languages exhibit only one type and related behaviors. For example, Yimithirr only uses absolute directions when describing spatial relations — the position of everything is described by using the cardinal directions. Speakers define a location as "north of the house", while an English speaker may use relative positions, saying "in front of the house" or "to the left of the house".
The "behavior centered" approach starts by comparing behavior across linguistic groups and then searches for causes for that behavior in the linguistic system. Whorf attributed the occurrence of fires at a chemical plant to the workers' use of the word 'empty' to describe the barrels containing only explosive vapors. Bloom noticed that speakers of Chinese had unexpected difficulties answering counter-factual questions posed to them in a questionnaire. He concluded that this was related to the way in which counter-factuality is marked grammatically in Chinese. Other researchers attributed this result to Bloom's flawed translations. Strømnes examined why Finnish factories had a higher occurrence of work related accidents than similar Swedish ones. He concluded that cognitive differences between the grammatical usage of Swedish prepositions and Finnish cases could have caused Swedish factories to pay more attention to the work process while Finnish factory organizers paid more attention to the individual worker.
Everett 's work on the Pirahã language of the Brazilian Amazon found several peculiarities that he interpreted as corresponding to linguistically rare features, such as a lack of numbers and color terms in the way those are otherwise defined and the absence of certain types of clauses. Everett's conclusions were met with skepticism from universalists who claimed that the linguistic deficit is explained by the lack of need for such concepts.
Recent research with non-linguistic experiments in languages with different grammatical properties (e.g., languages with and without numeral classifiers or with different gender grammar systems) showed that language differences in human categorization are due to such differences. Experimental research suggests that this linguistic influence on thought diminishes over time, as when speakers of one language are exposed to another.
A study published by the
American Psychological Association
Main article: Linguistic relativity and the color naming debate
Research continued after Lenneberg/Roberts and Brown/Lenneberg. The studies showed a correlation between color term numbers and ease of recall in both Zuni and English speakers. Researchers attributed this to focal colors having higher codability than less focal colors, and not with linguistic relativity effects. Berlin/Kay found universal typological color principles that are determined by biological rather than linguistic factors. This study sparked studies into typological universals of color terminology. Researchers such as Lucy, Saunders and Levinson argued that Berlin and Kay's study does not refute linguistic relativity in color naming, because of unsupported assumptions in their study (such as whether all cultures in fact have a clearly-defined category of "color") and because of related data problems. Researchers such as Maclaury continued investigation into color naming. Like Berlin and Kay, Maclaury concluded that the domain is governed mostly by physical-biological universals.
SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY
The question bears on philosophical, psychological, linguistic and anthropological questions.
A major question is whether human psychological faculties are mostly innate or whether they are mostly a result of learning, and hence subject to cultural and social processes such as language. The innate view holds that humans share the same set of basic faculties, and that variability due to cultural differences is less important and that the human mind is a mostly biological construction, so that all humans sharing the same neurological configuration can be expected to have similar cognitive patterns.
Multiple alternatives have advocates. The contrary constructivist position holds that human faculties and concepts are largely influenced by socially constructed and learned categories, without many biological restrictions. Another variant is idealist , which holds that human mental capacities are generally unrestricted by biological-material strictures. Another is essentialist , which holds that essential differences may influence the ways individuals or groups experience and conceptualize the world. Yet another is relativist ( Cultural relativism ), which sees different cultural groups as employing different conceptual schemes that are not necessarily compatible or commensurable, nor more or less in accord with external reality.
Another debate considers whether thought is a form of internal speech or is independent of and prior to language.
In the philosophy of language the question addresses the relations between language, knowledge and the external world, and the concept of truth . Philosophers such as Putnam , Fodor , Davidson, and Dennett see language as representing directly entities from the objective world and that categorization reflect that world. Other philosophers (e.g. Wittgenstein, Quine , Searle, Foucault ) argue that categorization and conceptualization is subjective and arbitrary.
Another question is whether language is a tool for representing and referring to objects in the world, or whether it is a system used to construct mental representations that can be communicated.
THERAPY AND SELF-DEVELOPMENT
Alfred Korzybski was independently
developing his theory of general semantics , which was aimed at using
language's influence on thinking to maximize human cognitive
abilities. Korzybski's thinking was influenced by logical philosophy
such as Russell and Whitehead\'s
Korzybski independently described a "strong" version of the hypothesis of linguistic relativity.
We do not realize what tremendous power the structure of an habitual language has. It is not an exaggeration to say that it enslaves us through the mechanism of s r and that the structure which a language exhibits, and impresses upon us unconsciously, is automatically projected upon the world around us. — Korzybski (1930)
In their fiction, authors such as
Others have been fascinated by the possibilities of creating new languages that could enable new, and perhaps better, ways of thinking. Examples of such languages designed to explore the human mind include Loglan , explicitly designed by James Cooke Brown to test the linguistic relativity hypothesis, by experimenting whether it would make its speakers think more logically. Speakers of Lojban , an evolution of Loglan, report that they feel speaking the language enhances their ability for logical thinking. Suzette Haden Elgin , who was involved in the early development of neurolinguistic programming, invented the language Láadan to explore linguistic relativity by making it easier to express what Elgin considered the female worldview, as opposed to Standard Average European languages which she considered to convey a "male centered" world view. John Quijada's language Ithkuil was designed to explore the limits of the number of cognitive categories a language can keep its speakers aware of at once. Similarly, Sonja Lang's Toki Pona was developed according to a Taoist point of view for exploring how (or if) such a language would direct human thought.
APL programming language originator
Kenneth E. Iverson believed that
the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis applied to computer languages (without
actually mentioning it by name). His
The essays of Paul Graham explore similar themes, such as a conceptual hierarchy of computer languages, with more expressive and succinct languages at the top. Thus, the so-called blub paradox (after a hypothetical programming language of average complexity called Blub) says that anyone preferentially using some particular programming language will know that it is more powerful than some, but not that it is less powerful than others. The reason is that writing in some language means thinking in that language. Hence the paradox, because typically programmers are "satisfied with whatever language they happen to use, because it dictates the way they think about programs".
In a 2003 presentation at an open source convention, Yukihiro Matsumoto , creator of the programming language Ruby , said that one of his inspirations for developing the language was the science fiction novel Babel-17 , based on the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Ted Chiang 's short story Story of Your Life developed the concept of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis as applied to an alien species which visits Earth. The aliens' biology contributes to their spoken and written languages, which are distinct. In the 2016 American film Arrival , based on Chiang's short story, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the premise. The protagonist explains that "the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that the language you speak determines how you think".
In his SF-novel
The Languages of Pao the author
* Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and
* ^ Hill & Mannheim (1992)
* ^ Kennison, Shelia (2013). Introduction to language development.
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* ^ "The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", in Hoijer 1954:92–105
* ^ This usage is now generally seen as a misnomer. As Jane Hill
and Bruce Mannheim write: Yet, just as the Holy Roman Empire was
neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire the "Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis"
is neither consistent with the writings of Sapir and Whorf, nor a
hypothesis (Hill & Mannheim 1992, p386)
* ^ A B Koerner, E.F.K."Towards a full pedigree of the
Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis: from Locke to Lucy" Chapter in Pütz &
Verspoor (2000 :17)"
* ^ Wolf & Holmes (2011)
* ^ A B Ahearn 2011 , p. 69.
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Ahearn, Laura M. (21 March 2011). Living Language: An Introduction
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* Alford, Dan Moonhawk, The Great Whorf Hypothesis Hoax
* Boroditsky, Lera, "How Does Our
* v * t * e
Benjamin Lee Whorf
Causal theory of reference
Contrast theory of meaning