For English speakers, the term nuts combine almonds, walnuts, and pecans in such a way that we see them as belonging together. Although Sapir and Whorf's observation that the Hopi do not have tenses was inaccurate, they did stumble onto a major truth about social life. Learning a language means not only learning words but also acquiring the perceptions embedded in that language. In other words, language both reflects and shapes our cultural experiences.
In the 1930s, two anthropologists, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf, became intrigued when they noticed that the Hopi Indians of the southwestern United States had no words to distinguish among the past, the present, and the future. English, in contrast as well as French, spanish, Swahili, and other languages distinguishes carefully among these three time frames.
Definition and Examples of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
12-7-2017 · The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the linguistic theory that the semantic structure of a language shapes or limits a speaker's conceptions of the world Our new site integrates all related tools and services into convenient categories.