Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Please support LINGUIST with a donation!
Sa·pir-Whorf hypothesis (sə-pîr′wôrf′, -hwôrf′) n.
Although Sapir's reputation in the decades following his death has rested more upon his contributions to linguistics than upon his role in cultural anthropology, during his lifetime he was known as an important ethnologist and cultural theorist as well. In 1916 after the publication of Time Perspective—an essay that includes explorations of the diachronic implications of ethnological phenomena, on analogy with language—he embarked on a consideration of theoretical problems in the concept of culture. These interests were to occupy him increasingly during the rest of his professional life. His 1917 debate with Kroeber on the "superorganic," a debate in which Sapir challenged Kroeber's assumptions about anthropological epistemology and the role of individual achievement and experience in cultural systems, was only the first of many discussions of these themes.
• Conclusions with regards to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
One of the problems that most interested Sapir was the tension between the anthropologist's concern with abstracting cultural patterns from observable behavior and the individual participant's personal biography and subjective experience. In contrast to many other anthropologists of the time Sapir emphasized intracultural variability, disagreement, and individual agency. He distinguished carefully between, on the one hand, subjective meanings and experience, and, on the other, the public symbols and social conventions prescribing the forms a person's behavior takes. Although much interested in the relationships between culture and personality, Sapir criticized approaches which, in his view, failed to distinguish collective and individual levels of analysis, confusing conventional patterns of behavior with the personality patterns of actual individuals. Late in his life, influenced by his collaboration with Harry Stack Sullivan, Sapir began to look to the analysis of social interaction as the locus of cultural dynamics.
Sapir Whorf Hypothesis - WikiWikiWeb
Remaining in Philadelphia in 1910, Sapir began studying Southern Paiute, a language closely related to Ute, with Tony Tillohash, a student from the nearby Carlisle Indian School. It was a fortunate collaboration: Tillohash's ability to analyze his native language meshed with Sapir's intuitions to produce what has sometimes been called the most beautiful grammatical description ever written of an Amerindian language. Sapir worked briefly on Hopi with another Carlisle student but abandoned it in favor of his work with Tillohash, choosing the ideal linguistic informant over the language as such.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis - California State University, …
a theory developed by Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf that states that the structure of a language determines or greatly influences the modes of thought.