Sociology Index

WHORF-SAPIR HYPOTHESIS

Sapir Whorf Bibliography

In Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, rather than just being a means of expressing thought, language is claimed to form thought. People of different language communities will see and understand in different ways. Sociologists regard Whorf-Sapir hypothesis as too deterministic and stress the dynamic way in which language responds to social and technical transformation of society.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is theory that one's perception of the world is determined by the structure of one's native language and that the concepts and structure of languages profoundly shape the perception and world view of speakers. There are several studies that dispute the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. These studies favor universalism over relativism in the realm of linguistic structure and function.

Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897-1941); Whorfian hypothesis is the theory that one's perception of the world is determined by the structure of one's native language.

Edward Sapir (1884-1939), German-born American linguistics scholar and anthropologist. His book Language (1921) presents his thesis that language should be studied within its social and cultural context.

He gave man speech, and speech created thought which is the measure of the universe - Shelley.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis theorizes that thoughts and behavior are determined by language. If true, culture controlled by Newspeak or some other language is not just science fiction. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has caused controversy and spawned research in a variety of disciplines including linguistics, education, psychology, philosophy and anthropology.

Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf brought attention to the relationship between language, thought, and culture. Neither education nor Benjamin Lee Whorf supported it with empirical evidence. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory of linguistic determinism that states that the language you speak determines the way that you will interpret the world around you.

Both Sapir and Whorf agreed that it is our culture that determines our language and the way that we categorize our thoughts about the world and our experiences in it.