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SAPHIR WHORF HYPOTHESIS: LINGUISTIC DETERMINISM AND LINGUISTIC RELATIVISM:

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the idea that a mans language moulds his perception of reality,
or that the world a man inhabits is a linguistic construct. It was created by the Americans
Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf; manly Whorf since he was the one who constructed it
based on Sapirs ideas.
The linguistic relativity principle, or the SapirWhorf hypothesis is the idea that differences in
the way languages encode cultural and cognitive categories affect the way people think, so that
speakers of different languages will tend to think and behave differently depending on the
language they use. The hypothesis is generally understood as having two different versions: (i)
the strong version that language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and
determine cognitive categories and (ii) the weak version that linguistic categories and usage
influence thought and certain kinds of non-linguistic behavior.

Linguistic relativity (weak version of the theory)
Structural differences between languages are paralleled by nonlinguistic cognitive differences
(the structure of the language itself effects cognition)
The patterns of thought of a person is influenced by the language they speak in.
- Language only influences thought, not strictly determining it.
EX:
A. B.





If you associate White with the words in circle A., and black with the corresponding words in circle B. ,
Then does the way we associate the colours mean how we treat white men and women correspondingly
diferrent to how we treat black men and women?

Purity,
Cleanliness,
Morality and
Pleasantness
Darkness , Evil,
Black Magic

Linguistic Determinism (Strong vesion)
- A humans thought is determined by the language they speak
- The structure of a language can strongly influence or determine someones World View.
- A World View describes a (hopefully) consistent and integral sense of existence and provides a
theoretical framework for generating, sustaining and applying knowledge.
- The Inuit can think more intelligently about snow because their language contains more
sophisticated and subtle words distinguishing various forms of it, etc.


























Arbitrariness
The semantic systems of different languages vary
without constraint.
This hypothesis must be tacitly assumed, because
otherwise the claim that Linguistic Relativity
makes is rather undramatic.
For each decomposition of the spectrum of the rain bow
a natural system of colour words is possible