The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one, but its terms are absolutely obligatory; we cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of data which the agreement decrees."(Whorf, quoted, Pinker, , pp.59-60)Any attempt to analyse the SWH must consider the possibility that Sapir and Whorf had different interpretations of their hypothesis.
According to Pinker (, pp.64-65), Sapir initially stated that the Inuit have four roots for words concerning snow, but that over the years this figure has been inflated in its repetition.
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: The limits of our …
They concluded "that the 'shape' of a culture, or the total way of life of a community, was in fact determined by - or at any rate clearly 'structured' in the same way as - that culture's language." (Hawkes, , p.31) It is informative here to include a quote from Sapir:
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis - Nick Yee
A direct consequence of the relation that M asserts between the genetically and syntactically determined components of cognitive reach is a denial ofthe strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and a trivialization of the weak version. To understand how this is so, imagine a dynamic version of Figure 1 (like a cartoon or movie) that would represent what happens as language is acquired. Basically, by acquiring the grammar and lexicon of a natural language we expand what we can express in language to include much (although perhaps not all) of what we can understand in mentalese. Graphically, we can imagine the size of the proper subset expanding within the area of its superset as shown in Figure 3.
Observations on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: Draft …
we cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of data which the agreement decrees." (Whorf, quoted, Pinker, , pp.59-60) Table: alternative definitions of the Sapir-Whorf HypothesisConclusions:
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (SWH) ..
Whorf's close analysis of the differences between English and (in one famous instance) the raised the bar for an analysis of the relationship between language, thought, and reality by relying on close analysis of grammatical structure, rather than a more impressionistic account of the differences between, say, vocabulary items in a language. For example, "" (SAE)—i.e., Western languages in general—tends to analyse reality as objects in space: the present and future are thought of as "places", and time is a path linking them. A phrase like "three days" is grammatically equivalent to "three apples", or "three kilometres". Other languages, including many Native American languages, are oriented towards . To monolingual speakers of such languages, the concrete/spatial metaphors of SAE grammar may make little sense. Whorf himself claimed that his work on the SWH was inspired by his insight that a Hopi speaker would find fundamentally easier to grasp than an SAE speaker would.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: language shapes ‘reality’ | …
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is currently pretty contested, because we can’t figure out the relationship between thought and language. Personally, I think that’s because we use human language to represent the very real world around us, and there’s always a mis-match between a model & reality.