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Linguistic relativity theory - Essay Example

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The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: is it still applicable in the face of current linguistic theory What does it mean in present thinking; is it outmoded, or due for a revival Thinking-for-speaking and the Slobin idea. …
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Linguistic relativity theory
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Download file to see previous pages The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: is it still applicable in the face of current linguistic theory What does it mean in present thinking; is it outmoded, or due for a revival Thinking-for-speaking and the Slobin idea. Do babies think before they speak, or does speaking encourage thinking The Hopi universe and the physics universe. Conception, speech and ways of describing things. The Dress of Thought, and seeing things though language.The essential components of the linguistic relativism theory are that different languages provide their users with different views of the world. Pablo Neruda, the great Spanish-language poet, pointed out that his poems did not translate well into other European languages, such as English and French, with a common Latin root. Much is lost in translation, and it seems to be much more than the simple meaning of each word. Other advances in linguistic relativism, such as the Thinking-for-Speaking theory, also imply that language is a necessary component in worldviews and social features. If human beings:Then how can each society relate to each other, and is common understanding even possible in a world where different communities view the same entity in different ways By looking at the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, followed by Slobin and other's theories of Thinking-for-Speaking, before going on to examine one nation's view of the universe which has returned to favor through the scientific community, and then by considering whether there is any way of conceptualizing entities except through language, this essay hopes to answer the question of whether

People who speak different languages perceive and think about
The world quite differently (Chandler)

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is understood to describe the relationship between the language of the speaker, and the way in which that speaker understands the world, and reacts to it. While neither Sapir nor Whorf ever claimed that their ideas were a hypothesis, this is how this theory of linguistic relativism is generally known today. This may be a mixed blessing, however, as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis can be divided into two different theories, one 'hard SW' the other 'Mild SW'. Chandler sees the former hypothesis as that being used by Marshall McLuhan in his diatribes against the media:

The technological determinism of his stance can be seen as
An application of Extreme Whorfianism (Chandler)

A milder reading of the SW hypothesis instead places emphasis upon the potential for society and language to be intermixed. Language is less of a cage in which the social being sits, and more of a two-way street, with language influencing society to the same extent that society influences language. Even this, however, still emphasizes the idea that society plus language equals a fixed worldview. Sapir even analyzed the different ways in which a person's speech is affected by their social surroundings (In Speech as a Personality Trait 1927).

Generally, the more moderate version of the SW Hypothesis has become accepted in one form or another by most modern linguists. The most popular translation of the hypothesis is provided by the Thinking for Speaking theory coined by Slobin, which seem to suggest that speakers have to think about their language before they are able to convert that into speech. This also means that the speaker must have learned how to think in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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