Search results – LINGUIST

59 matches.
Item #DateTimeRecs Subject
00010991/03/2712:512152.98 Cognitive Linguistics: Last Posting on this Topic
00042991/08/2601:01169Linguistic Novels
00045091/09/0321:49150Linguistics in Novels, Film... (Part 1)
00056491/09/2709:16912.567 Einstein
00058191/09/2821:311512.588 Responses: Whorf, Einstein, Change
00060791/10/0714:381942.610 Washing, Whorf and Whenever
00062991/10/0911:361592.632 Whorf
00063291/10/1008:141272.635 Queries
00063391/10/1014:142102.636 Whorf
00065491/10/1419:262012.657 Whorf
00066791/10/1700:461032.670 Whorf Part 1
00066891/10/1700:483202.671 Whorf Part 2
00067991/10/1814:521992.682 Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis
00069891/10/2408:091312.700 Whorf
00077591/11/1218:592012.778 Artificial Languages
00088591/12/2812:481592.885 Infinite, Language & Culture, Washed
00135492/06/0210:393163.457 How did we end up linguists, Z. Harris
00136792/06/0610:491853.470 Queries: Lx and Lit, Software, Nat. Phonology, SF
00148192/07/1611:141033.583 Queries: Housing in Austin; Child Language; E Prime
00169492/10/1910:361183.796 Summary: *dog* as sexist language
00169892/10/1910:423203.798 Language Preservation
00175492/10/3110:27583.853 Probabilistic Reasoning in Linguistics
00175792/11/0223:152343.856 Queries: Computers, Articles, Addresses
00185692/12/0409:35763.953 Queries: Linguistic knowledge; Secondary Articulation
00225993/05/0118:592204.336 Sum: Language and gender
00307094/01/0518:072265.24 Summary: Grammatical Theories
00364594/05/2412:141305.606 Sound symbolism
00369494/06/0607:093295.644 Sum: History of linguistics references
00381794/06/3008:411675.768 Pinker's book and linguist bashing
00382994/07/0706:051275.780 Pinker's book, Quantum physics
00387094/07/1906:301345.822 Varia: Linguist-bashing, Lx in the media & endangered languages
00389294/07/2517:581115.821 Linguistics in the media and endangered languages
00427594/11/0315:56955.1222 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, "rain"="falling"+"water,"Lg Acq & Cog Ling
00429794/11/0719:591795.1244 Qs: Corpus linguistics, Core readings,"snow", L2
00429994/11/0720:151905.1246 Qs: "Snow", Software, Clitic reduplication, Cues of emotions
00431294/11/0900:441175.1259 Eskimo "snow"
00431894/11/0923:231865.1265 Linguistics as "science"
00432994/11/1206:156355.1276 Eskimo "snow"
00437994/11/1913:34885.1322 Sapir-Whorf
00445894/12/0713:501785.1401 Sum: Snow
00448394/12/1009:311375.1426 Varia: +/- animate pronouns, "Mazel tov", Lang and thinking
00450694/12/1415:161455.1449 Sapir-Whorf, Words for snow
00452494/12/1817:082055.1467 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Nominalizations, Metaling, Lang/Anthropoidea
00498995/03/2201:443346.418 Sum: Linguistics in science fiction
00507195/04/0400:15486.501 Linguistics in science fiction
00538595/06/1202:522146.806, Qs: Swedish list, Eng pronouns, 'English Only' laws
00557395/07/2012:271756.994, Qs: Citation index, Ling relativity, Voiced sentence, if-clause
00569295/08/1709:261086.1112, Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Phrase identification, Yiddish
00572895/08/2216:162876.1149, Disc: Sapir-Whorf and what to tell students these days
00576195/08/3012:532196.1181, Sum: Teenage ling
00684896/03/2910:391877.481, Qs: Ordinal numerals, Philippines, Sapir-Whorf, Thou and you
00690496/04/1210:083577.537, Disc: Grammatical gender
00690596/04/1210:193107.538, Sum: Reading after Whorf's "Language, Mind and Reality"
00716496/05/3116:211557.796, Books: History of Linguistics
00823197/01/1713:105028.39, Sum: Myths in linguistics
00898397/05/2418:492348.779, Sum: Lg & Culture/Lgs of the World
00952597/09/1912:421598.1320, Books: Philosophy of Lang, Lojban
00967897/10/1215:322618.1473, Disc: Discussion of Yngve Review
01008198/01/1115:341419.40, Qs: Nominative Langs, Sapir-Whorf, Imitation, Book

Item #109 (27 Mar 1991 12:51) - 2.98 Cognitive Linguistics: Last Posting on this Topic
(2) Date: Mon, 25 Mar 91 09:33:57 CST
From: John Goldsmith <gldsmth@sapir.uchicago.edu>
Subject: MT

in a brief editorial note (if I am not mistaken). I am referring
to, need I say it, Sapir, Whorf, and Bloomfield. I read some years
ago a thing by Jonas Salk deploring the lack of communication between

Date: Mon, 25 Mar 91 09:33:57 CST
From: John Goldsmith <gldsmth@sapir.uchicago.edu>
Subject: MT


Item #429 (26 Aug 1991 01:01) - Linguistic Novels
grammar that TRANSCENDS biology. The aliens, believing in the
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, are collecting grammars from different
species in order to get a triangulation on language-

technicians, warriors, and bureaucrats. The theme (more or less)
is the language makes the culture (sort of sub-Sapir-Whorf
thinking). I can't give you more of an evaluation; it's been


Item #450 (3 Sep 1991 21:49) - Linguistics in Novels, Film... (Part 1)
Vance's _The Languages of Pao_ and Samuel Delany's _Triton_. _Pao_ criminally
suspends disbelief about the usual reductions of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and
then descends into imperialistic linguistic engineering. In addition to poor


Item #564 (27 Sep 1991 09:16) - 2.567 Einstein
Einstein's Theory of Relativity which influenced similar observations in
linguistics (to wit: the "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis"). For example, at the
Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster, I studied with Helmut Gipper, whose office

similar principle in linguistics (Helmut Gipper, _Gibt es ein sprachliches
Relativitaetsprinzip?: Untersuchungen zur Sapir-Whorf-Hypothese_, Fischer
1972).

look through the index of Nathan and Norden's _Einstein on Peace_. Gipper
himself pointed out that the so-called "Sapir-Whorf" hypothesis could also
be named the "Humboldt-Weisgerber" hypothesis [though he found no evidence
that Whorf read either Wilhelm von Humboldt nor Leo Weisgerber]. Thus we
can document that the idea of human thinking patterns being relative to


Item #581 (28 Sep 1991 21:31) - 2.588 Responses: Whorf, Einstein, Change
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.588 Responses: Whorf, Einstein, Change



Subject: 2.588 Responses: Whorf, Einstein, Change


From: Alexis_Manaster_Ramer@MTS.CC.WAYNE.EDU
Subject: Whorf and Relativity


From: Alexis_Manaster_Ramer@MTS.CC.WAYNE.EDU
Subject: Whorf and Relativity

In several recent messages there are references to Whorf or Sapir
and Whorf together as having originated the idea of "human thinking
patterns being relative to the inventory of the available language system"
(to quote one contributor). However, like the story of the Eskimo
words for snow, this story about Whorf and Sapir is not factually
correct. First of all, it was Sapir who fought against such simplistic
language-thought claims of earlier scholars such as Uhlenbeck (one

in which possessors of subjects or objects are sometimes treated
as subjects and objects). Second, it is true that Whorf took
for granted (as did almost everybody else at the time) the idea

the underlying ontology (not that it causes it, mind you, but that
it does reveal it). We know for example that Whorf was much
impressed with the claims (I forget whose at the moment) that

as Jack build-ish house (i.e., the house that Jack built). Third,
all of Whorf's claim about Hopi are quite explicitly of this
same variety: He does not assert that the structure of the language

a new idea. He presupposes it. That is a big difference, of course,
because Whorf is often accused of claiming such a connection without
giving any independent evidence about the ontology. But in fact

What I find particularly surprising about the need to reiterate
all this is that the relevant writings of Whorf's are all reprinted
in a widely avaialble collection, and that Sapir's writings are hardly
obscure either.

It would be an interesting question, incidentally, who started the
canard about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. I believe that Clyde Kluckhohn
and Harry Hoijer are prime suspects, but perhaps somebody else

the classic mode of science, seeking invariance. The relevant
comparison is surely with Chomsky, not Whorf.


Item #607 (7 Oct 1991 14:38) - 2.610 Washing, Whorf and Whenever
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.610 Washing, Whorf and Whenever



Subject: 2.610 Washing, Whorf and Whenever


From: lojbab@grebyn.com (Logical Language Group)
Subject: Re: 2.603 Whorf and Plurals


From: lojbab@grebyn.com (Logical Language Group)
Subject: Re: 2.603 Whorf and Plurals

>Subject: Whorf and linguistic relativism
Michael Kac says:

a) what people mean by 'world view' and 'determined' is different.
Sapir-Whorf is generally understood to have strong and weak versions,
with the strongest form almost certainly false because translation IS

d) I believe certain areas of anthropological linguistics still accepts
Sapir-Whorf to some extent, especially where the researcher is in the
anthropology department rather than the linguistics dept. My source

The Loglan (artificial language) project has the goal (among others) of
testing the 'Sapir-Whorf hypothesis'. Those of us working on the
project, linguists or not, are assumed by many to 'believe in' the SWH,


Item #629 (9 Oct 1991 11:36) - 2.632 Whorf
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.632 Whorf



Subject: 2.632 Whorf


From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACW@YUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: 2.610 Whorfian relativism


From: Niko Besnier <UTTANU@YALEVM.BITNET>
Subject: Whorf again


From: CHARLES LAUGHLIN <CHARLES_LAUGHLIN@carleton.ca>
Subject: SAPIR-WHORF


From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACW@YUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: 2.610 Whorfian relativism

In the fifties, Brown and Lenneburg did some research on color-naming
that is relevant to the history of linguistic "Whorfian" relativism.
This is described in an article (by Brown?) in tribute to Eric

From: Niko Besnier <UTTANU@YALEVM.BITNET>
Subject: Whorf again


Re.: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and "popular" beliefs, cf. most
recently Bob LeChevalier in 2:610

The reason why linguistic anthropologists "still" believe in some
version of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (SWH) is not that they know
less about language than mainstream linguists (many fields have

language. But what it has to be grounded on is a careful reading
of poor Whorf, who must be on the most misread (unread?) thinkers
of the century. Interpretations of Whorf extant amongst mainstream
linguists have little to do with what Whorf actually wrote, and
this had led linguists to call the man by all sorts of names (e.g.

example, that in my linguistic training at two institutions I was
never required to read a single original text by Whorf. To a
certain extent this is understandable, since Whorf wrote in an
opaque, dense style.

John Lucy ("Whorf's view of the linguistic mediation of thought,"
in _Semiotic Mediation_, ed. by Elizabeth Mertz & Richard

aspects of the SWH missing from laypersons' accounts (i.e. accounts
by those who have not read Whorf) is that Whorf is not talking
about determinism by all of language of all aspects of world view.

categories and discourse strategies in a language, across what
Whorf calls *overt* and *covert* categories. Areas of language
where one should seek "weak" determinism (the strong version of
determinism was never advocated by Whorf, but by subsequent
linguists who never seem to have read Whorf) are in fact very
different from areas that Whorf is usually said to have claimed to
be deterministic. I'd point to work like that of Elinor Ochs as

_American Anthropologist_ 92:346-361, for an excellent discussion
of where Whorfianism works.


From: CHARLES LAUGHLIN <CHARLES_LAUGHLIN@carleton.ca>
Subject: SAPIR-WHORF

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

It is curious that no one has mentioned some of the most interesting
research relative to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis -- that done by
Brent Berlin and Paul Kay on basic color terms. Their book,


Item #632 (10 Oct 1991 08:14) - 2.635 Queries
My question those of you in the US: What IS Political Correctness really?
What is it there for (any relation to (at least the 'weak') Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis? And: cui bono?


Item #633 (10 Oct 1991 14:14) - 2.636 Whorf
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.636 Whorf



Subject: 2.636 Whorf


From: Fan mail from some flounder? <SDFNCR@ritvax.isc.rit.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: William McKellin <mcke@unixg.ubc.ca>
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: Niko Besnier <UTTANU@YALEVM.BITNET>
Subject: Berlin & Kay vs Whorf


From: A_DENCH@FENNEL.CC.UWA.OZ.AU
Subject: RE: 2.632 Whorf


From: KINGSTON@cs.umass.EDU
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: MATTHEWS@HKUCC.BITNET
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: "Barbara.Abbott" <ABBOTT@msu.edu>
Subject: 2.632 Whorf


From: Fan mail from some flounder? <SDFNCR@ritvax.isc.rit.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: William McKellin <mcke@unixg.ubc.ca>
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf

An earlier posting asked if there was any connection between Whorf and
von Humboldt. Though I don't have direct evidence that such is the case,
it is worth noting that Sapir, who offered Whorf some guidance was very
familiar with the Germanic tradition - his M.A. thesis was on

From: Niko Besnier <UTTANU@YALEVM.BITNET>
Subject: Berlin & Kay vs Whorf


real breakthrough, although I also believe again that it attacked
what Whorf did not maintain, but rather what was imputed to Whorf.
However, there has been work since then which has examined Berlin

evaluations. One of the main problems with the study is the
inaccurate data that it used (but then again Whorf has been shown
to have misunderstood the structure of Hopi), and the criteria used

recognition of and memory for color terms which have come out in
favor of both Whorfian relativism and determinism. See:

Lucy, John and Richard Shweder. 1979. Whorf and his critics:
Linguistic and nonlinguistic influences on color memory.

From: A_DENCH@FENNEL.CC.UWA.OZ.AU
Subject: RE: 2.632 Whorf

Thankyou Niko Besnier for the posting re Whorf! I can't agree more.
I have been laying bets against myself at how long it would be before
Whorf hit the little screen, and hoping that when he did we would not
see the shocked amazement that people actually seemed to think he was

for the strong deterministic version of somebody's hypothesis.
But I don't remember reading quite this version in Whorf myself :>


From: KINGSTON@cs.umass.EDU
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: MATTHEWS@HKUCC.BITNET
Subject: Re: 2.632 Whorf


From: "Barbara.Abbott" <ABBOTT@msu.edu>
Subject: 2.632 Whorf

A more recent reference on Whorf and color terms is a paper by
Paul Kay and Willet Kempton called "What is the Sapir Whorf hypothesis?"
in American Anthropologist vol. 86, 1984.


Item #654 (14 Oct 1991 19:26) - 2.657 Whorf
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.657 Whorf



Subject: 2.657 Whorf


From: SEGUIN@VAXS.SSCL.UWO.CA
Subject: RE: 2.632 Whorf


From: J_LIMBER@UNHH.UNH.EDU
Subject: RE: 2.632 Whorf


From: Alexis_Manaster_Ramer@mts.cc.wayne.edu
Subject: 2.636 Whorf


From: SEGUIN@VAXS.SSCL.UWO.CA
Subject: RE: 2.632 Whorf


The posting by Laughlin mentioning the Berlin & Kay work done in the sixties
as "disconfirming" the Whorfian position might be disconfirmed itself by a
more recent study (Kay was a co-author I think) in which there was an effect

of the contributors have noted this is not the sort of effect that most
interested Whorf, but as Laughlin noted it is the field from which many had
thought that definitive disconfirmation had come. So we have met the natives


THE DISCUSSION ON WHORF AND LINGUISTIC RELATIVITY SHOWS AGAIN HOW
DIFFICULT IT IS TO DEMONSTRATE CAUSALITY EMPIRICALLY. HISTORICALLY,
THE DIFFICULTY OF DOING SO FOR THE SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS SUGGESTS THAT
THERE IS NO STRONG CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP. HOWEVER, THE LARGELY NEGATIVE

From: J_LIMBER@UNHH.UNH.EDU
Subject: RE: 2.632 Whorf

I have been struck by the somewhat narrow focus of the discussion about
Whorf and linguistic relativity. Perhaps my personal recollections will
broaden the discussion! As an undergraduate in the late 50s and early 60s it
was commonplace, I'm sure, to read not only about linguistic relativity but
some of Whorf's own writings. I first encountered Whorf in an intro social
psychology class--the several papers in the Newcombe reader which was

psycholinguistics class. The Saporta volume also contains excerpts from
Whorf and some papers by Lenneberg, Greenberg, Vygotsky, Roger Brown
and an interesting experimental paper.

From: Alexis_Manaster_Ramer@mts.cc.wayne.edu
Subject: 2.636 Whorf

I am very grateful to those who have written in to note that
the so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was NOT what Whorf (or
a fortiori Sapir) maintained. And also to those who have
written in reminding us of the results, such the Berlin and
Kay ones, that seem in fact to support the Un-Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis. However, it should be noted that these results

with Humboldt. As I noted in my first message on the subject of
Whorf, Whorf (like most of his contemporaries) PRESUPPOSED the
existence of a connection between language and cognition, a

explaination, of course, was that they THINK differently from
us as well. Whorf, like almost all his contemporaries, was
steeped in this way of thinking, but certainly did not originate


Item #667 (17 Oct 1991 00:00) - 2.670 Whorf Part 1
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.670 Whorf Part 1



Subject: 2.670 Whorf Part 1



The strong version of the so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is
falsified if it can be shown that conceptual thinking is


Item #668 (17 Oct 1991 00:00) - 2.671 Whorf Part 2
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.671 Whorf Part 2



Subject: 2.671 Whorf Part 2


From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <bnevin@ccb.bbn.com>
Subject: Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis


From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <bnevin@ccb.bbn.com>
Subject: Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis

I want to outline the views of Sapir and of Whorf on linguistic and
cultural relativism as I understand them and survey some of what has


These ideas arose for Sapir in the context of his work on language typology
on the one hand and psychology on the other. In the background lay social
Darwinism, or at least the pervasive evolutionist perspective of 19th-
century anthropology, and in this respect Sapir's interest here was a
continuation of Boas' restitution of "primitive" languages as on an equal

In his conception of the relation of language, personality, culture, and
"the world," Sapir distinguished between social reality



The core of the matter for Sapir, however, was an identification of
language, specifically grammatical categories, with thought:


In other places, Sapir severely divorces language from culture, but in this
he appears to mean material culture, the "inventory" of cultural artefacts.


Sapir's strongest relativity statement was a brief note titled
"Conceptual Categories of Prinitive Languages," an abstract of a paper


Whorf may have been a Theosophist. His philosophical interests
attracted him to Sapir and to linguistics, and his fascination with the
"hidden metaphysics" of languages remained always the central thing for

literally eccentric, in that specific sense. His ideas began to
crystallize with preparation to teach a course at Yale during Sapir's
leave in 1937-38. His intention was to "excite [students'] interest in


Whorf developed his ideas about linguistic relativity during Sapir's
illness and elaborated it after his death, so Sapir never had a chance
to comment. Whorf died in 1941 at the age of forty-four, leaving less
sympathetic colleages to pursue the implications of his work.


Sapir had confined the constitutive role of language to social reality.
Whorf went farther, and developed the claim that


Behind this was the assumption (presumably "part of the unconscious
background" of every student in the Boas-Sapir tradition, and indeed of
virtually everyone as has been argued on the LINGUIST list) that

cultural anthropology it is difficult to find anything that is
absolutely irrelevant to the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, though the latter
can be made irrelevant to some forms of anthropological work essentially

radical linguistic determinism, in which "human beings . . . are very
much at the mercy of the particular language" (Sapir, quoted
previously). Because the polarization associated with naming can be


Item #679 (18 Oct 1991 14:52) - 2.682 Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.682 Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis



Subject: 2.682 Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis


From: mfleck@herky.cs.uiowa.edu (Margaret Fleck)
Subject: neuroscience and Sapir-Whorf



I wrote yesterday re the Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis:


I might as well include some additional material relating to the
Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis. Construe this as continuing from the end of my
post yesterday. (That includes the possible response of deleting it

course the writing down for publication was not). No better
confirmation could be offered of Sapir's claim of the essential unity of
language and thought by one of his students.

accessible to people from other cultures, and claims that her new
terminology provides a better fit. This paper illustrates a Whorfian
effect in the sublanguage of a specialization within the science of

possible to communicate; she claims that with the proposed new
terminology it is.<6> Thus, while providing an illustration of Whorfian
____________________


An abiding interest of Harris, as of his teacher Sapir, has been the
question of refinements and possibly extensions of natural language that

the distinctions between what is universal in language and culture and
what is idiosyncratic and therefore pertinent to the Whorf-Sapir
Hypothesis.

From: mfleck@herky.cs.uiowa.edu (Margaret Fleck)
Subject: neuroscience and Sapir-Whorf


Item #698 (24 Oct 1991 08:09) - 2.700 Whorf
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 2.700 Whorf



Subject: 2.700 Whorf


From: PETER GINGISS <ENGLAD@Jetson.UH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Whorf


From: Willett Kempton <willett@Princeton.EDU>
Subject: Whorf and color


From: PETER GINGISS <ENGLAD@Jetson.UH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Whorf

Thanks again, everyone, for the suggestions on essays. Suggestions included
Whorf's Collected Essays, essays by Sapir and Bloomfield, G. Pullam's book, The
Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, essays by Sir William Jones and by W. D. Whitney,

here. Maybe because of the recent discussion here, several suggestions
included Whorf, and indeed reading Whorf in my own undergraduatge career got me
started in linguistics. Again, I was delighted with the responses.

From: Willett Kempton <willett@Princeton.EDU>
Subject: Whorf and color


colleague passed on the thread.) As pointed out earlier, from the
tangled cluster of hypotheses referred to as the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis, we tested only one question: Do the lexical categories of
a language affect non-linguistic perceptions of its speakers to a
non-trivial extent? (P. Kay & W. Kempton, "What is the Sapir-Whorf
Hypothesis?", American Anthropologist, vol 86, No. 1, March 1984.)

I showed some of the crucial triads to other English speakers, including
some who had major committments in print to not finding Whorfian effects
for color (several of the latter type of informants were available on

research, saved by a converstion at a wine party with a "naive" sociologist
(Paul Attewell) who had read Whorf but not the later refutations.

A simple experiment, clear data, and seeing the Whorfian effect with our
own eyes: It was a powerful conversion experience unlike anything I've


Item #775 (12 Nov 1991 18:59) - 2.778 Artificial Languages
language', although many supporters have this as a goal. Our purpose is
linguistics research, including but not limited to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis,
and there has been a fair amount of study of potential AI and machine


Item #885 (28 Dec 1991 12:48) - 2.885 Infinite, Language & Culture, Washed
Lang as Social Semiotic /Learning how to mean plus
Malinowski, Sapir Whorf. A stiff diet for awhole course
but then Saville Troike needs a bit of stiffening


Item #1354 (2 Jun 1992 10:39) - 3.457 How did we end up linguists, Z. Harris
narrow formalisms may try to read his 45-page long review
of Sapir's Selected Writings (Language 1951) and see how natural
it is to apply to him what he said of Sapir: " So refreshing is
his freshness and criticalness, that we are brought to a

stuff with equations in the appendices. For instance: Samuel R.
Delany's incredible novel _Babel-17_, which takes the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis and runs with it.


Item #1367 (6 Jun 1992 10:49) - 3.470 Queries: Lx and Lit, Software, Nat. Phonology, SF
stuff with equations in the appendices. For instance: Samuel R.
Delany's incredible novel _Babel-17_, which takes the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis and runs with it.


Item #1481 (16 Jul 1992 11:14) - 3.583 Queries: Housing in Austin; Child Language; E Prime
Does anyone know what relationship, if any exists between e-prime and
the Sapir-Whorf theories? E-prime, as I understand it, eliminates the
verb "to be". Rather than say:


Item #1694 (19 Oct 1992 10:36) - 3.796 Summary: *dog* as sexist language
linguistic usage seem to
rely on some variant or other of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic
relativity, that is, that our choice of language actively influences and


Item #1698 (19 Oct 1992 10:42) - 3.798 Language Preservation
However, consider the intended audience of the argument, and recall the
appeal for that audience of the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis. Ex hypotheosi,
speakers of these languages are able to perceive relationships, make
useful deductions, and so on, that are more difficult for speakers of
"Standard Average European" (Whorf's term) to achieve. And vice versa,
to be sure, but thence the argument for diversity and synergy rather


Sapir advances more sophisticated arguments for the value of languages,
however "primitive" or politically marginal, for example in his

own language with all its freight of unconscious assumptions, etc.
Sapir's metaphor of American languages as a laboratory comes to mind.


Item #1754 (31 Oct 1992 10:27) - 3.853 Probabilistic Reasoning in Linguistics
in various sciences (I recall some papers by Guiora on the so-
called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis a few years ago that did something
similar). Is there any literature on such fallacies?


Item #1757 (2 Nov 1992 23:15) - 3.856 Queries: Computers, Articles, Addresses
From: pchapin@nsf.gov
Subject: Query: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis


From: pchapin@nsf.gov
Subject: Query: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis


later this month, I am looking for a clear (to non-specialists),
succinct (2-3 pp.) statement and critique of the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis. I expect that one or more linguistics textbooks probably


Item #1856 (4 Dec 1992 09:35) - 3.953 Queries: Linguistic knowledge; Secondary Articulation

A colleague suggested the question is asking for a Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis
answer? My reply illustrated my ignorance, "Who?What?"


Item #2259 (1 May 1993 18:59) - 4.336 Sum: Language and gender
purpose: to place the issue in the context of a rereading of
the "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis," concentrating on the ways in which
the grammatical categories of a language lead its speakers to certain

McConnell-Ginet, S. "Prototypes, pronouns and persons." Ethnolinguistics:
Boas, Sapir & Whorf revisited. Ed. M. Mathiot. 1979. The Hauge:
Mouton, pp. 63-83.

Khosroshahi, Fatemeh. 1989. "Penguins don't care, but women do: A Social
Identity Analysis of a Whorfian Problem." Lg. in Soc. 18: 505-
25.


Item #3070 (5 Jan 1994 18:07) - 5.24 Summary: Grammatical Theories

**Suggested by Dr P Lee (Flinders University) to check out Sapir,
Bloomfield, Whorf, and Hockett**
--Refurbishing our Foundations/ by Hockett/ 1987--"he looked back over his


Item #3645 (24 May 1994 12:14) - 5.606 Sound symbolism
From: dalford@s1.csuhayward.edu (Dan Alford)
Subject: Klang association, Whorf & Fetzer Dialogues


From: dalford@s1.csuhayward.edu (Dan Alford)
Subject: Klang association, Whorf & Fetzer Dialogues


conversation) what gave him the idea to do it was his reading long
ago of Benjamin Whorf, who suggested that the subatomic problem
Heisenberg talked about (we must talk in nouns but there are no

some detail within the notion of "resonances" in his Refurbishing Our
Foundations (1987) and Whorf and Sapir and others also discussed the issue.
I think I've got that right - didn't know Bloomfield wrote his thesis on


Item #3694 (6 Jun 1994 07:09) - 5.644 Sum: History of linguistics references
Linguistics.Stanford, California: Stanford Univ. Press.
1980. It covers Saussure, the descriptivists, Sapir-
Whorf, the Prague School, Chomsky & gen. grammar,
relational grammar (Hjelmslve, Lamb, Reich), generative

dings from Traditional Gramamrians (Swift, Arnauld, Lowth, Murray,etc.) Histori
cal (Whitnesy, Curme, Jespersen, etc.) Descriptive (de Sausure, Sapir, Bloomfie
ld, etc.) as well as Transformational (Chomsky, Fillmore, etc.)

and Rome; traditional grammar (medieval, Modistae, later prescriptive
grammars); 19th century; Saussure; Sapir; Bloomfield; Firth; Hjelmslev; early
Chomsky. If you just want late 19th and the first half of the 20th century,

University Press, 1980 (though I do find it rather idiosyncratic); chapters
are on 19th century; Saussure; Bloomfield and followers; Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis; Prague School, early-mid Chomsky; Hjelmslev, Lamb, Reich; Firth,


Item #3817 (30 Jun 1994 08:41) - 5.768 Pinker's book and linguist bashing
he doesn't *see anything which could remotely be considered linguist
bashing*! Consider the so-called Whorf chapter where Pinker takes on
his (supposedly) greatest enemy, Benjamin Whorf. Of course since, as
we shall see, since Pinker doesn't really consider Whorf a linguist, he
might argue that this isn't linguist bashing at all.

Predictably, as I pointed out 16 years ago in The Demise of the Whorf
Hypothesis (BLS), we find Pinker's text dominated by strawman positions
and ad-hominem arguments. We are introduced on p. 57 to "the famous
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic determinism" (how DOES a principle
of linguistic relativity become a hypothesis of linguistic determinism?)

-- but what accounts for the perennial appeal of the hypothesis itself,
rather than Whorf's actual principle of linguistic relativity, to professional
linguists, psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists?). And then the

same thing as language is an example of what can be called a conventional
absurdity..." In context, this is put forth as Sapir or Whorf's belief or
stance, or perhaps just a generic strawman position, but of course there are
no quotes from Whorf, Sapir, or anyone else showing that ANYONE has ever
seriously said this. What is the purpose of this muddying of the waters

the exact same form on p. 59: The linguistic determinism hypothesis IS
CLOSELY LINKED [caps mine] to the names Edward Sapir and Benjamin
Whorf." Who is the deleted agent here? My research indicates that the agent
is the group of advocates of universal grammar who created, developed and
promulgated the strawman Determinism argument in the first place. While
Whorf did formulate a PRINCIPLE of linguistic relativity (LTR pp. 215, 221),
neither he nor Sapir ever formulated the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis they are
so indelibly linked to in some people's minds. Who is Pinker fighting here
when even Whorf and Whorfians agree that linguistic determinism is
wrong? Pinker, like most Whorf critics, doesn't understand that Whorf
generally argued from a systems perspective inherited from quantum


But on to the ad-hominem arguments. While Sapir is noted as a brilliant
linguist, Whorf is "an inspector for the Hartford Fire Insurance Company
and an amateur scholar of Native American languages" -- ah, not a real
linguist, so we don't have to pay any attention to his ideas! "But the more
you examine Whorf's arguments, the less sense they make" (followed by an
analysis of Whorf's "empty gasoline drums" example which invents facts
and includes information which Whorf -- the only writer of this incident
that we know of -- didn't himself state, such as the worker tossing a
cigarette into an empty drum; Whorf only talked about behavior in general
around the full and empy drums). On p. 63, in a discussion of Hopi time, we
find the most virulent attack of all: "No one is really sure how Whorf came
up with his outlandish claims, but his limited, badly analyzed sample of

contributed." Right -- associate him with mysticism and we don't have to
read him. Of course, Whorf points out, our own notions of flowing time and
static space are equally mystical to the Hopi, in whose language "time

society, time is probably experienced as a more organic or natural
phenomenon." Excuse me, but wasn't that Whorf's point -- that such terms
as space & time in our language are recast into Hopi expressions of

expressions of subjectivity if unmanifest (LTR p64)? How can Malotki
adopt Whorf's exact position and then call Whorf wrong? And therefore,
how can I, or Pinker, in all good conscience trust or cite his work?

Critics ignore the numerous universalist statements by Whorf (as an
example relating to the above: "To fit discourse to manifold actual

what I have suspected for a long time: it's perfectly okay these days to talk
about the ideas of Benjamin Whorf as long as you make sure to muddy the
waters by linking him to the critics-developed determinism Hypothesis --
and as long as when you're done, you *kick the corpse*, turn out the lights
and close the door! We'll see if we can do better than that for the Whorf
Centennial Celebration in 1997 in San Francisco! See you there!


Item #3829 (7 Jul 1994 06:05) - 5.780 Pinker's book, Quantum physics

A few remarks re Dan Alford's comments on Pinker on Whorf:

(1) Thre is a difference between linguist bashing and Whorf bashing.
As I recall, Geoff Pullum pulled the same trick of describing Whorf
as an insurance man, which of course is true but in context sounds

(2) Malotki's work on Hopi time, which seeks to contradict
Whorf, is explicitly based on TODAY's usage, which is heavily
influenced by English. There are places where he notes

(3) I think it is, as Alford says, untrue to say that
Sapir or Whorf came up with the Sapir-Worf hypothesis,
but it IS true to say that the accepted it or something

of a correlation between linguistic structure and thought
was widely accepted at the time. Thus what Whorf is
often said to be arguing for was actually what he


My girlfriend forwarded the critique by Moonhawk of Pinker's critique of Whorf.
I have only slight familiarity with either Pinker or Whorf, but I am a
theoretical physicist and I was bothered by Moonhawk's use of references to


I think I like Whorf's ideas, insofar as I understand them. But in fairness
to Pinker I submit some comments on some sentences from Moonhawk's posting.

>Pinker, like most Whorf critics, doesn't understand that Whorf
>generally argued from a systems perspective inherited from quantum

quantum and classical (Newtonian) physics concerning causality are really
quite complicated. Whorf may well have a different perspective that is
perfectly valid, but the inheritance of this perspective from quantum


Item #3870 (19 Jul 1994 06:30) - 5.822 Varia: Linguist-bashing, Lx in the media & endangered languages
This led me to think more about my knee-jerk reaction, a common one instilled
into linguistics students against Sapir-Whorf straw men, a disdain
for all comments that might be taken to imply that language

* in my experience of 'formal' linguistics in early undergrad classes
where the student learns the position against a misrepresented Sapir-Whorf.
These are the classes that tens of thousands of university students go


Item #3892 (25 Jul 1994 17:58) - 5.821 Linguistics in the media and endangered languages
This led me to think more about my knee-jerk reaction, a common one instilled
into linguistics students against Sapir-Whorf straw men, a disdain
for all comments that might be taken to imply that language

* in my experience of 'formal' linguistics in early undergrad classes
where the student learns the position against a misrepresented Sapir-Whorf.
These are the classes that tens of thousands of university students go


Item #4275 (3 Nov 1994 15:56) - 5.1222 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, "rain"="falling"+"water,"Lg Acq & Cog Ling
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 5.1222 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, "rain"="falling"+"water,"Lg Acq & Cog Ling



Subject: 5.1222 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, "rain"="falling"+"water,"Lg Acq & Cog Ling


From: Dan Everett <dever@isp.pitt.edu>
Subject: Sapir-Whorf Bibliography


From: Dan Everett <dever@isp.pitt.edu>
Subject: Sapir-Whorf Bibliography

A colleague of mine, Terry Kaufman, is trying to help an undergraduate
anthro student compile a bibliography of works on the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis. They are particularly interested in references to


Item #4297 (7 Nov 1994 19:59) - 5.1244 Qs: Corpus linguistics, Core readings,"snow", L2
first arose (in the writings of two major 20th Century anthropological
linguists, Franz Boas and Benjamin Lee Whorf). Unfortunately, their
point has been pretty much missed by those who insist on counting."

use them all, in preference to less specific terms? Wouldn't that
distinction in usage do much of the same work (for Whorf and Sapir
and company) that the distinction in lexicon is said to do?


Item #4299 (7 Nov 1994 20:15) - 5.1246 Qs: "Snow", Software, Clitic reduplication, Cues of emotions
thoughts around to a related issue which I do not recall having
seen discussed on _Linguist_ since I've subscribed: the Sapir-
Whorf hypothesis. I just read an article in _Foreign Language
Annals_ 27.3, "Awareness of Text Structure: Is There a Match

NOT show such a difference.
I was under the impression that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is
generally NOT accepted and is somewhat of an error in interpre-

languages. Does anyone have some suggestions of readable
refutations of Sapir-Whorf, something one could send students,
deans, etc. to? Or is this a returning issue that is under


Item #4312 (9 Nov 1994 00:00) - 5.1259 Eskimo "snow"

The point, I thought, coming out of Sapir-Whorf, was simply that SIMPLE
LEXICALIZED forms -- and Tony has accurately dealt with the complexities


Item #4318 (9 Nov 1994 23:23) - 5.1265 Linguistics as "science"

Whorf took one step, in transforming Einstein's relativity principle
from the more limited geometry focus to the larger focus of human

[N1] I assume this because of the way all the social sciences treated
Whorf, who was attempting to tell them that the very definition of
*science*/science was changing underneath their certainties. If it were

determinism!). We even try to project these dead *
metaphors onto people using systems thinking (e.g., Sapir, Whorf,
Pike, Lamb).


Item #4329 (12 Nov 1994 06:15) - 5.1276 Eskimo "snow"
From: karchung@ccms.ntu.edu.tw (Karen S. Chung)
Subject: Whorf on snow



>The point, I thought, coming out of Sapir-Whorf, was simply that SIMPLE
>LEXICALIZED forms -- and Tony has accurately dealt with the complexities

From: karchung@ccms.ntu.edu.tw (Karen S. Chung)
Subject: Whorf on snow

People talk a lot about Whorf, and many like to tear
him to shreds, but I wonder how many have actually read his writings

B., ed. 1956; 1988. _Language, thought and reality: selected writings
of Benjamin Lee Whorf._ Cambridge: MIT Press., p. 216.


and quite worrying, that people should be representing my 1989 essay
"The great Eskimo vocabulary hoax" as having refuted Whorfianism or
settled the number of Inuit snow terms or anything of this sort.

language used in Greenlandic weather descriptions. It is aimed not at
Whorfianism but at people who uncritically presuppose Whorfianism and
parrott half-remembered alleged facts in its support when they haven't

question and it needed a new and more serious look. But don't look to
me for a serious view about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. What do I know
from language and culture? I have no idea whether my vocabulary shapes


Item #4379 (19 Nov 1994 13:34) - 5.1322 Sapir-Whorf
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 5.1322 Sapir-Whorf



Subject: 5.1322 Sapir-Whorf



Second, I think that quotations from Boas/Whorf are very helpful and a good
reminder to those of us in this debate.

the importance/necessity of this distinction -- indeed, it is a bit ironic
that another implication of Sapir/Whorf is that the view that our language
is made up out of 'words' and 'grammar' (constructions) is precisely the

eventually have to draw lines along continua that I don't think will be
labelled 'lexical' vs. 'construct' (and Sapir offered some nice theoretical
machinery for these kinds of comparative distinctions too). I still see


Item #4458 (7 Dec 1994 13:50) - 5.1401 Sum: Snow
The third issue is a major theoretical shibboleth, of which the
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis represents one view - the so-called relativistic
view. People often talk about "proving" or "disproving" Sapir-Whorf,
which seems to me to overlook the two chief facts about the controversy.
One is that Sapir-Whorf is not really a hypothesis at all, but an
ideology, an axiom, a world view, a philosophical standpoint. We can no

Polish drinking customs. It is because unprovable philosophical positions
are involved that there is such heated dispute about Sapir-Whorf.

The other thing is that if you put Sapir-Whorf into a form that makes it
honestly testable in some concrete way, you are usually dealing with


In that form in which it is often articulated, Sapir-Whorf is obvious,
even trivial - anyone who has tried doing idiomatic translation between


Whorf himself insisted that he was not just talking about word-counting,
not merely about Eskimo and English having different vocabulary for snow.

John B. Carrol, ed., _Language, Though, and Reality: Selected Writings of
Benjamin Lee Whorf_, (New York: The Technology Press of Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1956), pp. 65-86.


Item #4483 (10 Dec 1994 09:31) - 5.1426 Varia: +/- animate pronouns, "Mazel tov", Lang and thinking
From: mnewman@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Michael Newman)
Subject: sapir-whorf


From: mnewman@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Michael Newman)
Subject: sapir-whorf



)In that form in which it is often articulated, Sapir-Whorf is obvious,
)even trivial - anyone who has tried doing idiomatic translation between

positively rules how we express ourselves, not how we think. Now, I
suspect, along with Branner, that Sapir-Whorf is not really a hypothesis,
and it is certainly not a coherent one as it is stated since "think" can be


Item #4506 (14 Dec 1994 15:16) - 5.1449 Sapir-Whorf, Words for snow
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 5.1449 Sapir-Whorf, Words for snow



Subject: 5.1449 Sapir-Whorf, Words for snow


From: Logical Language Group (lojbab@access.digex.net)
Subject: Sapir-Whorf


From: Logical Language Group (lojbab@access.digex.net)
Subject: Sapir-Whorf


)The third issue is a major theoretical shibboleth, of which the
)Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis represents one view - the so-called relativistic
)view. People often talk about "proving" or "disproving" Sapir-Whorf,
)which seems to me to overlook the two chief facts about the controversy.
)One is that Sapir-Whorf is not really a hypothesis at all, but an
)ideology, an axiom, a world view, a philosophical standpoint. We can no

)positions are involved that there is such heated dispute about
)Sapir-Whorf.
)
)The other thing is that if you put Sapir-Whorf into a form that makes it
)honestly testable in some concrete way, you are usually dealing with

)
)In that form in which it is often articulated, Sapir-Whorf is obvious,
)even trivial - anyone who has tried doing idiomatic translation between

)From: mnewman@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Michael Newman)
)Subject: sapir-whorf
)...

)language positively rules how we express ourselves, not how we think.
)Now, I suspect, along with Branner, that Sapir-Whorf is not really a
)hypothesis, and it is certainly not a coherent one as it is stated since


Item #4524 (18 Dec 1994 17:08) - 5.1467 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Nominalizations, Metaling, Lang/Anthropoidea
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tamsun.tamu.edu>
Subject: 5.1467 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Nominalizations, Metaling,
Lang/Anthropoidea


Subject: 5.1467 Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Nominalizations, Metaling, Lang/Anthropoidea


From: lgorbet@eros.unm.edu
Subject: Sapir-Whorf and Innateness


From: lgorbet@eros.unm.edu
Subject: Sapir-Whorf and Innateness

If the Sapir-Whorf "Hypothesis" is an "ideology" rather than a hypothesis,
then is that not true also for "innateness" (cf. "Universal Grammar") as


Item #4989 (22 Mar 1995 01:44) - 6.418 Sum: Linguistics in science fiction

Jack Vance. Languages of Pao. (Comparative linguistics, Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis (weak form), semantics.)


Item #5071 (4 Apr 1995 15:50) - 6.501 Linguistics in science fiction
Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 classic _Alphaville_ is a reworking of the
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Words referring to concepts which have been
condemned by the central computer disappear automatically from the


Item #5385 (12 Jun 1995 02:52) - 6.806, Qs: Swedish list, Eng pronouns, 'English Only' laws
motives of these grammarians would have to be reassessed.
If in fact the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis DOES apply to pronouns, then I
invite comment to help me understand two facts. 1) That for two-thirds of the


Item #5573 (20 Jul 1995 12:27) - 6.994, Qs: Citation index, Ling relativity, Voiced sentence, if-clause
interested to find out, whether there are linguists elaborating upon this
issue (or on the school of E.Sapir and B.L.Whorf in the USA) and interested
in contacts with Neohumboldtianists in Russia.


Item #5692 (17 Aug 1995 09:26) - 6.1112, Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Phrase identification, Yiddish
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tam2000.tamu.edu>
Subject: 6.1112, Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Phrase identification, Yiddish



Subject: 6.1112, Qs: Sapir-Whorf, Phrase identification, Yiddish


From: AKAYE@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU ("Alan S. Kaye")
Subject: Sapir-Whorf


From: AKAYE@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU ("Alan S. Kaye")
Subject: Sapir-Whorf

SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS

I know Linguist had extensive conversation about "snow," etc., etc., and
the current status of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. I am once again faced with
how to teach this material in Introductory Linguistics (I use the latest

network is this. What sort of conclusion is now appropriate? I have
always stated that no one has disproved Whorf's mild version of ling.
relativity (let's leave ling. determinism aside, or the stronger version).
But I have been reading Pinker's The Lg. Instinct. It is stated therein
that Whorf was clearly wrong on all counts (and how could he have been so
wrong!).


Item #5728 (22 Aug 1995 16:16) - 6.1149, Disc: Sapir-Whorf and what to tell students these days
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tam2000.tamu.edu>
Subject: 6.1149, Disc: Sapir-Whorf and what to tell students these days



Subject: 6.1149, Disc: Sapir-Whorf and what to tell students these days


From: dalford@s1.csuhayward.edu (Dan Alford)
Subject: Re: Sapir-Whorf and what to tell students these days


From: dalford@s1.csuhayward.edu (Dan Alford)
Subject: Re: Sapir-Whorf and what to tell students these days


in Language Files. I.e., it's difficult to even judge what's going on
with Whorf unless you are simultaneously conversant with linguistics,
American Indian languages, and at least the insights of modern physics.

First, the conclusion that is appropriate is that, as I showed in "The
Demise of the Whorf Hypothesis" (Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1978?),
what Whorf said has little or generally no relation whatever to the
entire body of discussion that comes under the name "(Sapir-)Whorf
Hypothesis". He showed decades before the critics came up with their own


Simple test: Read the LF chapter and then ask, "Who created the Whorf
Hypothesis?" And a quick way to answer this is: What did Whorf himself
call it in his two or three references? He called it the "principle of
linguistic relativity" or the "linguistic relativity principle". My own
reading of Whorf never finds the word "hypothesis" at all. So -- right
off the bat, and this is a good way to teach scientific nomenclature, who
turned Whorf's 'principle' into a(n) 'hypothesis', and why? It wasn't
Whorf, because his designation was clear. So what is the difference
between the two? Well, a principle is like an axiom in geometry: a


Next: what does Whorf's "linguistic relativity principle" have to do, if
anything, with Einstein's "relativity principle" (which I covered in my
also BLS, 1980?, paper, "Is Whorf's Relativity Einstein's Relativity?").
Ah, now we've gotten to the crux of it -- much against Pinker's stand

Elgin Hayden recently, where a digression found its author saying that
Whorf cobbled together his theory from a few ill-translated snatches of
Apache -- echoing a Pinker statement and relying on Pinker's quoting
Whorf correctly, which he didn't, about a canoe on a beach pointwise:
which Pinker identified as an Apache sentence, but which Whorf knew quite
well was Nootka in the Pacific Northwest rather than Apache in the
beachless desert), Whorf was upping the ante on Einstein, who argued that
Euclidian geometry, far from being UNIVERSAL, was applicable only to flat

significantly, you have to change the tool you're using. Well, that's
what Whorf said too (see Heisenberg's Lament below), except he moved its
domain from mathematics to natural human language; hence: the truly aptly
named "principle of linguistic relativity" as Whorf himself named it.



Side note: for one who reads Whorf closely, he makes five or ten times
more universalist statements than relativity statements in his writings,


So right from the get-go we see that 1) Whorf didn't write and wouldn't
agree with the hypothesis that someone(s) named after him; 2) rather than
being some deranged crackpot, he was merely literate: Whorf was one of
the few interdisciplinary thinkers between physics and linguistics in
this century; 3) Whorf's relativity principle had something important to
do with Einstein's; and 4) Whorf was a universalist as well as a
relativist -- he just had them in balance, a notable enough rarity in

If I may be so bold, alluding to your posting that "no one has disproved
Whorf's mild version of linguistic relativity (let's leave ling.
determinism aside, or the stronger version.)", even the mild version
wasn't his! Trace back like I did and you will find that Whorf espoused
neither strong nor weak versions of determinism, and relativity has

above, as he did.
If you read carefully, writers about the Whorf Hypothesis admit
that even Whorf didn't hold a strong version of determinism (so if he
didn't, who did? and if nobody did, why bring it up?), and that ALL the
critics hold the weak version that they dreamed up (even though Whorf
wouldn't hold it because it's at least weakly deterministic and therefore
Newtonian). So what's going on? The problem is that Whorf had already,
from his acquaintance with physics, moved from Newtonian monocausal

thinking while thinking is shaping language.
The cumulative effect of The (Humboldt/Boas/Sapir-)Whorf
Hypothesis literature has been primarily to throw up a smokescreen around

what they didn't realize was an interdisciplinary debate in the history
of ideas which Whorf felt so comfortable in.
I'll explain. I'll give you a synopsis of a talk I intend to give
at a 100th Birthday Conference for Benjamin Whorf, which I intend to get
funding for and hold in the Bay Area in Spring 1997. I call it

our language.
Fast-forward a few decades and Whorf hears this in his physics
classes at Yale (he has unpublished manuscripts on gravity in the Yale
Archives), and ponders: Hm, I wonder if this has anything to do with what
Prof. Sapir said the other day about Hopi not needing nouns to express
ordinary propositions -- just "rehpi", "flashed", instead of "it" or

taking different positions on the question. In this case, since Hopi
didn't seem to take too seriously the absence of nouns, PERHAPS, Whorf
surmised, Hopi could be of use for physicists in exploring and reporting


Fast-forward another few decades and physicist David Bohm reads Whorf
(which I confirmed personally in talking to him), and then, *in response*

An email acquaintance pointedly asked me what the difference was
between Bohm's terminology and Whorf's terminology; it took me 6 months
to finally answer that there was none, except the Hopis had had theirs
for millennia longer. And then it hit me! Bohm, in his own maverick way,
appropriated Whorf's answer to Heisenberg's Lament in "An American Indian
Model of the Universe" and substituted more scientifically acceptable

modern physics and academic community -- and it had qualified success.
BUT -- Bohm was no closer to knowing whether Whorf had been
accurate in his description of Hopi than he had been before writing the

their elders) to join in Dialogue together in what I can only describe as
a roundabout way of asking American Indians whether Whorf was accurate in
his description of the 'timeless' Hopi worldview. But it became so much

public days on the themes of time, space and language.
During the day on time, Whorf's description of Hopi came up, was
read out loud, and discussed, though I don't remember any Hopis being

can't speak for the Hopi people, but that's pretty much the way WE do it.
In fact, of the many Whorf passages read or discussed in these Dialogues,
the physicists and the American Indians present were usually willing to
give Whorf his points (proving again, perhaps, the difficulty of being a
prophet in one's own country/discipline!).

admit that such languages were indeed much better suited to exploring
that realm and reporting back than SAE languages -- Whorf's reply to
Heisenberg's Lament was verified and agreed upon. When the phenomena of


Whorf heard the call, way back then, and may yet prove to have been an
entire century ahead of his time in linguistics. Even though we can think

least ONE kind of thinking where your thinking is very much at the mercy
of the forms and categories of your language, per Whorf.

So tell your students, as I do, that the only way to get to the bottom of
what Whorf did or did not say is to read his essays in _Language, Thought
& Reality_ for themselves, perhaps with the above thoughts as a
guideline, and then figure out for themselves whether the Sapir-Whorf
Hypothesis smokescreen makes any sense.


Item #5761 (30 Aug 1995 12:53) - 6.1181, Sum: Teenage ling

Sapir, _ Language_ (1921)
Think about this book, which Sapir himself described as a high-
school text. It is not easy, particularly its rather notional typology of

painfully obsolete after a few years, or indeed at their first appearance. The
best thing is that one can reread Sapir at any age, as one's own knowledge
of languages increases, and see new depth in his ideas. And it is beautifully

women's language, the universal translator, Eskimo words for `snow', the
history of English, Genie, child language, Sapir-Whorf, and so on. But it
also introduces some syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and psycholinguistics,


Item #6848 (29 Mar 1996 10:39) - 7.481, Qs: Ordinal numerals, Philippines, Sapir-Whorf, Thou and you
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tam2000.tamu.edu>
Subject: 7.481, Qs: Ordinal numerals, Philippines, Sapir-Whorf,
Thou and you


Subject: 7.481, Qs: Ordinal numerals, Philippines, Sapir-Whorf, Thou and you


From: D.W.Salt@derby.ac.uk (Sam Salt)
Subject: Sapir-Whorf/Consciousness


From: kuehnle@str.daimler-benz.com ("KUEHNLE")
Subject: Reading sugggestion after Whorf's original


From: D.W.Salt@derby.ac.uk (Sam Salt)
Subject: Sapir-Whorf/Consciousness


Is there anyone on the list who is very familiar with the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis and its criticisms who would be willing to correspond with

not completely confident of my grasp of the pros and cons of
Sapir-Worf and would like to bounce some ideas off other people.


From: kuehnle@str.daimler-benz.com ("KUEHNLE")
Subject: Reading sugggestion after Whorf's original



I wonder what books you can recommend beyond Whorf's "Language,
thought and reality" for someone who is interested in the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis. I will post a summary to the list, should I receive many


Item #6904 (12 Apr 1996 10:08) - 7.537, Disc: Grammatical gender

The point here really is the sort of thing that Sapir and Whordf
(oops, Whorf) taught us so long ago (I do NOT mean that bowdlerized
monstrosity called the 'Sapir-Whorf hypothesis', which appears to have
been the creation of Hoijer and perhaps some other of Sapir's
less-than-worthy heirs, I mean the real work of Sapir and Whorf),
namely, that the grammatical categories of a language carry certain


Item #6905 (12 Apr 1996 10:19) - 7.538, Sum: Reading after Whorf's "Language, Mind and Reality"
From: The Linguist List <linguist@tam2000.tamu.edu>
Subject: 7.538, Sum: Reading after Whorf's "Language, Mind and Reality"



Subject: 7.538, Sum: Reading after Whorf's "Language, Mind and Reality"


From: kuehnle@str.daimler-benz.com ("KUEHNLE")
Subject: Sum: Reading after Whorf's original


From: kuehnle@str.daimler-benz.com ("KUEHNLE")
Subject: Sum: Reading after Whorf's original


Many thanks to all those who responded to my question regarding
further reading after Whorf's "Language, Mind and Reality" . I
received quite a few responses and some long answers, all of which I


Dan Moonhawk Alford's essays on Whorf that he posted to the List last
summer (references below) , including "A Hidden Cycle in the History

physicists, linguists, psychologists and others -- all of whom took
Benjamin Whorf seriously -- provide an informal validation of the
principle of linguistic relativity by the agreement that Native

and describing quantum events than are Western languages, a point
first voiced by Whorf.

Alford, Dan Moonhawk. "The Demise of Whorf Hypothesis. Proceedings
of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society,


Alford, Dan Moonhawk, "Is Whorf's Relativity Einstein's Relativity?",
Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics


Black, Max. "Some Troubles with Whorfianism" in Language and
Philosophy. Ed. Sidney Hook. New York: New York University Press,


Kay, Paul and Willett Kempton. "What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?",
American Anthropologist 86:1, 65-79, 1984.

Khosroshahi, Fatemeh. "Penguins don't care, but women do: A social
identity analysis of a Whorfian problem", Language in Society 18:4,
505-525, 1989.


Lee, Penny "The Whorf theory complex: A critical reconstruction", John
Benjamins Publishing Company, due out in 1996.

Longacre, Robert E. "Review of Language and Reality, by Wilbur
M. Urban and Four Articles on Metalinguistics, by Benjamin Lee Whorf."
Language 32, (1956): 298-308.


Lucy, J. A. and Richard A. Shweder. "Whorf and His Critics:
Linguistics and Nonlinguistic Influence on Color Memory." American


Sapir, E. Language. New York: Harcourt Brace, circa 1949.



Schlesinger, I. M. "The Wax and Wane of Whorfian Views." in The
Influence of Language on Culture and Thought, Eds. Cooper, Robert


Whorf, Benjamin Lee. Language, Mind and Reality: selected writings of
Benjamin Lee Whorf. Ed. J. B. Carroll. New York: MIT Press, 1956.


Item #7164 (31 May 1996 16:21) - 7.796, Books: History of Linguistics
Toward a History of Linguistic Typology; 9, History and Historiography
of Phonetics: A state-of-the-art account, and 10, The 'Sapir-Whorf
Hypothesis': An historico-bibliographical essay. Index of authors;


Item #8231 (17 Jan 1997 13:10) - 8.39, Sum: Myths in linguistics
psychological reality, which linguists have been susceptible to
for a long time. Sapir was perhaps the most cautious about it
the generativists of the '60s who associated transformations


The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of course, and all its various
forms. Harder to pin down.

Of course, the most pervasive myth in current linguistics is the
WHORF HYPOTHESIS MYTH that assumes that Whorf, possibly in
tandem with his professor Sapir, actually wrote any hypothesis
at all, but especially one that dealt in any way with
determinism. Whorf did write a "principle of linguistic
relativity," which he named as such, which was a qualitative

hypotheses created by academics who evidently didn't want their
own names associated with their creations and blamed Whorf for
them. Of course, none of this would have happened if the


Item #8983 (24 May 1997 18:49) - 8.779, Sum: Lg & Culture/Lgs of the World

For language and culture: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and later studies on
that. (including Lakoff's book: Women Fire and Dangerous


Item #9525 (19 Sep 1997 12:42) - 8.1320, Books: Philosophy of Lang, Lojban
linguistics research (especially involving a proposed test of the
Sapir/Whorf hypothesis), foreign language instruction, artificial
intelligence research, machine translation and related human/computer


Item #9678 (12 Oct 1997 15:32) - 8.1473, Disc: Discussion of Yngve Review

Whorf Bashing Explained
Yngve says "Science routinely casts doubt on any

description of exactly what the social sciences have
done to Benjamin Whorf (their own hypotheses being
mislabeled The Whorf Hypothesis) at the same time that
hard scientists like David Bohm were taking Whorf
seriously (read his _Wholeness and the Implicate
Order_ while keeping Whorf's "An American Indian
Model of the Universe" in mind). Einstein already

Humboldtian-trained relativity linguist named Jost
Winteler, and which Whorf was trying to reclaim for
linguistics from physics. Does Einstein's insight have

In conclusion, I like others in the Humboldtian
(-Boasian-Sapirian-Whorfian) approach to linguistics
insist on a new science that balances form and


Item #10081 (11 Jan 1998 15:34) - 9.40, Qs: Nominative Langs, Sapir-Whorf, Imitation, Book
From: The LINGUIST List <linguist@linguistlist.org>
Subject: 9.40, Qs: Nominative Langs, Sapir-Whorf, Imitation, Book
Comments: To: LINGUIST@listserv.linguistlist.org


Subject: 9.40, Qs: Nominative Langs, Sapir-Whorf, Imitation, Book


From: labrecqd@cite.net (Dominique Labrecque)
Subject: Sapir-Whorf Approach



Do any of you know about active languages (in the sense of Sapir) that
developed from nominative type?

From: labrecqd@cite.net (Dominique Labrecque)
Subject: Sapir-Whorf Approach


I am looking for some research that would have been done in the area
of algonquian languages lexicon, within the "Sapir-Whorf" approach.