Sapir Whorf Hypothesis Essay

1930 Words 8 Pages
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Zainab Saleem Khan
Section K
It is often thought that the reality expressed in spoken word is the very same as the reality which is perceived in thought. Perception and expression are frequently understood to be synonymous and it is assumed that our speech is based on our thoughts. This idea presumes that what one says is dependent of how it is encoded and decoded in the mind. (Badhesha, 2002) However, there are many people that believe the opposite: what one perceives is dependent on the spoken word. The followers of this idea believe that thought is dependent on language. Linguist Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Lee Whorf are known for their part in the popularization of this very principle. Their collective theory, known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. First discussed by Sapir in 1929, the hypothesis became popular in the 1950s following posthumous publication of Whorf's writings on the subject. After vigorous attack from followers of Noam Chomsky in the following decades, the hypothesis is now believed by most linguists only in the
…show more content…
The grammatical structure of a language also holds influence over how a person understands their existence. For example, in Turkish there are two past tenses. One is used for direct experience and the other is for things only known about through indirect means. If one were to describe the snow that fell while they were in school, they would either say “it snowed today” if they saw it directly but if they did not witness it, they would use the other past-tense that indicated they were not present to see the snow falling. Due to this, Turkish speakers rely on the use of past-tense to complete a story and to understand the perspective of those speaking. Their language influences their

Related Documents