Evaluate the evidence for and against

States that there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. (Wisped) The Sapid-Whorl hypothesis was created by two American linguists, Edward Sapid and his student Edward Lee Whorl, in the early sass. It is considered to be a mould language theory, which represents language as a mould in terms of which thought categories are cast. (Burner et al. 1956).

At a very basic level, the Sapid-Whorl hypothesis consists of two inked ideas, that of linguistic relativity, where the language you speak will influence your outlook on the real world, and a stronger idea of linguistic determination, where our thinking and interpretation of the world around us is established by the language we speak. It was Edward Sapid who theorized that our viewpoint on the world is affected by the language. Wharfs theory was drawn from a study of Hopi Indians, which stated that their language has no concept of time as an objective being.

From this, Whorl attempted to prove the linguistic relativity theory by looking at the way the Hopi rely n preparation, such as planning events in advance, does show a concept of time. In this case it is Just time continuing along instead of matching the western way of dividing up time. He claimed that this concept of time matched their linguistic differences, which in turn shows language determining thought. Sapid and Whorl agreed that it is ones culture which determines language, which then determines the way our thoughts and experiences of the world are categorized. One of the main problems with Wharfs theory is the idea of causality.

Whorl cannot rove if the language determined the thought, or if it was in fact the other way around, with the thought determining the language. Another criticism of Wharfs theory is that of the concept of transferability. Here the problem if that if language does in fact affect thought, as Whorl stated, then logically some concepts would only be understandable in their original language, yet this has not been found to be the case when studying Indian languages, or translated poetry. Stephen Pinker was one of the main critics of the Sapid-Whorl hypothesis, arguing that it is no more then a myth.

No one is really sure how Whorl came up with his outlandish claims, but his limited, badly analyses sample of Hopi speech and his long-term leanings towards mysticism must have helped’ (Pinker 1994). Pinker points out that there have been studies by the anthropologist Maillot which show that the Hopes do in fact have a concept of time similar to the Western Worlds, with a calendar. Whorl also never met an Indian, and his analysis is wholly based on his translation of their language, meaning he cannot generalize his argument. Evaluate the evidence for and against the Sapid-Whorl hypothesis.

By kayleighblackburn2 those without language would not think. If this is the case, then how do babies learn and develop language without thought processes? Pinker cited a case of Schaller, (1991), the case of Idleness. Idleness was an immigrant who had no language at all, yet he was numerate, and was able to be taught sign language. Once able to express himself through sign language, he could converse with Schaller, recounting experiences from before he could communicate. If Wharfs hypothesis were correct, the Idleness would not have been able to think, which was clearly not the case.

However, not all critics of Wharfs theory were negative. Carroll and Greensand (1958) proved that Navaho Indian children were better at form recognition than western children, helping to confirm Wharfs hypothesis that language determines thought. Several studies have also been performed which show support for the theory of linguistic relativity. Lucy and Shedder (1979) performed a color memory test which was found to support Wharfs linguistic relativity hypothesis. Children with language to describe different color hues found it easier to recognize the shades.

When a engage has terms for different shades of color, the perception of that shade is affected. Lucy and Shedder found that color recognition memory was directly affected by the words used to describe them, proving that language does affect thought in some way, but not to the extreme extent that Whorl suggested. .NNE widely accepted criticism of the Sapid-Whorl hypothesis is that the ideas which Sapid and Whorl came up with can be accepted on a basic level, but the extent to which Whorl and Sapid were correct cannot be resolved due to the changing broadness of their definitions.

Whorl and Sapid hypothesized that thought and language were extremely closely related, making statements ranging from the idea that language determines thought, to the idea that language has some bearing on thought, but that causality cannot be determined. Many examples are given from linguists to demonstrate whether they support or reject the hypothesis, with most linguists accepting a weak version of the Sapid-Whorl hypothesis. There have been no significant disproof or proofs of the Sapid-Whorl hypothesis, and the original is highly vague, leaving a lot of room for interpretation.

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