The hypothesis of linguistic relativity, also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis / /, the Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, is a principle suggesting that the structure of a language affects its speakers' worldview or cognition, and thus people's perceptions are relative to their spoken language.
Linguistic relativity has been understood in many different, often contradictory ways throughout its history. The idea is often stated in two forms: the strong hypothesis, now referred to as linguistic determinism, was held by some of the early linguists before World War II, while the weak hypothesis is mostly held by some of the modern linguists.
- The strong version, or linguistic determinism, says that language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories. This version is generally agreed to be false by modern linguists.
- The weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions. Research on weaker forms has produced positive empirical evidence for a relationship.
The term "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis" is considered a misnomer by linguists for several reasons: Sapir and Whorf never co-authored any works, and never stated their ideas in terms of a hypothesis. The distinction between a weak and a strong version of this hypothesis is also a later invention; Sapir and Whorf never set up such a dichotomy, although often their writings and their views of this relativity principle are phrased in stronger or weaker terms.
The principle of linguistic relativity and the relation between language and thought has also received attention in varying academic fields from philosophy to psychology and anthropology, and it has also inspired and colored works of fiction and the invention of constructed languages.
The idea was first clearly expressed by 19th-century thinkers, such as Wilhelm von Humboldt and Johann Gottfried Herder who saw language as the expression of the spirit of a nation. Members of the early 20th-century school of American anthropology headed by Franz Boas and Edward Sapir also embraced forms of the idea to a certain extent, including in a 1928 meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, but Sapir in particular, wrote more often against than in favor of anything like linguistic determinism. Sapir's student, Benjamin Lee Whorf, came to be seen as the primary proponent as a result of his published observations of how he perceived linguistic differences to have consequences in human cognition and behavior. Harry Hoijer, another of Sapir's students, introduced the term "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", even though the two scholars never formally advanced any such hypothesis. A strong version of relativist theory was developed from the late 1920s by the German linguist Leo Weisgerber. Whorf's principle of linguistic relativity was reformulated as a testable hypothesis by Roger Brown and Eric Lenneberg who conducted experiments designed to find out whether color perception varies between speakers of languages that classified colors differently. As the study of the universal nature of human language and cognition came into focus in the 1960s the idea of linguistic relativity fell out of favor among linguists.
From the late 1980s, a new school of linguistic relativity scholars has examined the effects of differences in linguistic categorization on cognition, finding broad support for non-deterministic versions of the hypothesis in experimental contexts. Some effects of linguistic relativity have been shown in several semantic domains, although they are generally weak. Currently, a balanced view of linguistic relativity is espoused by most linguists holding that language influences certain kinds of cognitive processes in non-trivial ways, but that other processes are better seen as arising from connectionist factors. Research is focused on exploring the ways and extent to which language influences thought.
Ancient philosophy to the Enlightenment
The idea that language and thought are intertwined is ancient. Plato argued against sophist thinkers such as Gorgias of Leontini, who held that the physical world cannot be experienced except through language; this made the question of truth dependent on aesthetic preferences or functional consequences. Plato held instead that the world consisted of eternal ideas and that language should reflect these ideas as accurately as possible. Following Plato, St. Augustine, for example, held the view that language was merely labels applied to already existing concepts. This view remained prevalent throughout the Middle Ages. Roger Bacon held the opinion that language was but a veil covering up eternal truths, hiding them from human experience. For Immanuel Kant, language was but one of several tools used by humans to experience the world.
German Romantic philosophers
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the idea of the existence of different national characters, or Volksgeister, of different ethnic groups was the moving force behind the German romantics school and the beginning ideologies of ethnic nationalism.
Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg inspired several of the German Romantics. As early as 1749, he alludes to something along the lines of linguistic relativity in commenting on a passage in the table of nations in the book of Genesis:
"Everyone according to his language, according to their families, as to their nations." [Genesis 10:5] This signifies that these were according to the genius of each; "according to their language," according to the opinion of each.... "Language," in its inner meaning, signifies opinion, thus principles and persuasions. This is because there is a correspondence of the language with the intellectual part of man, or with his thought, like that of an effect with its cause.
In 1771 he spelled this out more explicitly:
There is a common genius prevailing among those who are subject to one king, and who consequently are under one constitutional law. Germany is divided into more governments than the neighboring kingdoms.... However, a common genius prevails everywhere among people speaking the same language.
Johann Georg Hamann is often suggested to be the first among the actual German Romantics to speak of the concept of "the genius of a language." In his "Essay Concerning an Academic Question", Hamann suggests that a people's language affects their worldview:
The lineaments of their language will thus correspond to the direction of their mentality.
In 1820, Wilhelm von Humboldt connected the study of language to the national romanticist program by proposing the view that language is the fabric of thought. Thoughts are produced as a kind of internal dialog using the same grammar as the thinker's native language. This view was part of a larger picture in which the world view of an ethnic nation, their "Weltanschauung", was seen as being faithfully reflected in the grammar of their language. Von Humboldt argued that languages with an inflectional morphological type, such as German, English and the other Indo-European languages, were the most perfect languages and that accordingly this explained the dominance of their speakers over the speakers of less perfect languages. Wilhelm von Humboldt declared in 1820:
The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds but a diversity of views of the world.
In Humboldt's humanistic understanding of linguistics, each language creates the individual's worldview in its particular way through its lexical and grammatical categories, conceptual organization, and syntactic models.
Herder worked alongside Hamann to establish the idea of whether or not language had a human/rational or a divine origin. Herder added the emotional component of the hypothesis and Humboldt then took this information and applied to various languages to expand on the hypothesis.
Boas and Sapir
The idea that some languages are superior to others and that lesser languages maintained their speakers in intellectual poverty was widespread in the early 20th century. American linguist William Dwight Whitney, for example, actively strove to eradicate Native American languages, arguing that their speakers were savages and would be better off learning English and adopting a "civilized" way of life. The first anthropologist and linguist to challenge this view was Franz Boas. While undertaking geographical research in northern Canada he became fascinated with the Inuit people and decided to become an ethnographer. Boas stressed the equal worth of all cultures and languages, that there was no such thing as a primitive language and that all languages were capable of expressing the same content, albeit by widely differing means. Boas saw language as an inseparable part of culture and he was among the first to require of ethnographers to learn the native language of the culture under study and to document verbal culture such as myths and legends in the original language.
It does not seem likely [...] that there is any direct relation between the culture of a tribe and the language they speak, except in so far as the form of the language will be moulded by the state of the culture, but not in so far as a certain state of the culture is conditioned by the morphological traits of the language."
Boas' student Edward Sapir reached back to the Humboldtian idea that languages contained the key to understanding the world views of peoples. He espoused the viewpoint that because of the differences in the grammatical systems of languages no two languages were similar enough to allow for perfect cross-translation. Sapir also thought because language represented reality differently, it followed that the speakers of different languages would perceive reality differently.
No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.
On the other hand, Sapir explicitly rejected strong linguistic determinism by stating, "It would be naïve to imagine that any analysis of experience is dependent on pattern expressed in language."
Sapir was explicit that the connections between language and culture were neither thoroughgoing nor particularly deep, if they existed at all:
It is easy to show that language and culture are not intrinsically associated. Totally unrelated languages share in one culture; closely related languages—even a single language—belong to distinct culture spheres. There are many excellent examples in Aboriginal America. The Athabaskan languages form as clearly unified, as structurally specialized, a group as any that I know of. The speakers of these languages belong to four distinct culture areas... The cultural adaptability of the Athabaskan-speaking peoples is in the strangest contrast to the inaccessibility to foreign influences of the languages themselves.
Sapir offered similar observations about speakers of so-called "world" or "modern" languages, noting, "possession of a common language is still and will continue to be a smoother of the way to a mutual understanding between England and America, but it is very clear that other factors, some of them rapidly cumulative, are working powerfully to counteract this leveling influence. A common language cannot indefinitely set the seal on a common culture when the geographical, physical, and economics determinants of the culture are no longer the same throughout the area."
While Sapir never made a point of studying directly how languages affected thought, some notion of (probably "weak") linguistic relativity underlay his basic understanding of language, and would be taken up by Whorf.
Independent developments in Europe
Drawing on influences such as Humboldt and Friedrich Nietzsche, some European thinkers developed ideas similar to those of Sapir and Whorf, generally working in isolation from each other. Prominent in Germany from the late 1920s through into the 1960s were the strongly relativist theories of Leo Weisgerber and his key concept of a 'linguistic inter-world', mediating between external reality and the forms of a given language, in ways peculiar to that language. Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky read Sapir's work and experimentally studied the ways in which the development of concepts in children was influenced by structures given in language. His 1934 work "Thought and Language" has been compared to Whorf's and taken as mutually supportive evidence of language's influence on cognition. Drawing on Nietzsche's ideas of perspectivism Alfred Korzybski developed the theory of general semantics that has been compared to Whorf's notions of linguistic relativity. Though influential in their own right, this work has not been influential in the debate on linguistic relativity, which has tended to center on the American paradigm exemplified by Sapir and Whorf.
Benjamin Lee Whorf
More than any linguist, Benjamin Lee Whorf has become associated with what he called the "linguistic relativity principle". Studying Native American languages, he attempted to account for the ways in which grammatical systems and language-use differences affected perception. Whorf's opinions regarding the nature of the relation between language and thought remain under contention. Critics such as Lenneberg, Black, and Pinker attribute to Whorf a strong linguistic determinism, while Lucy, Silverstein and Levinson point to Whorf's explicit rejections of determinism, and where he contends that translation and commensuration are possible.
Detractors such as Lenneberg, Chomsky and Pinker criticized him for insufficient clarity in his description of how language influences thought, and for not proving his conjectures. Most of his arguments were in the form of anecdotes and speculations that served as attempts to show how 'exotic' grammatical traits were connected to what were apparently equally exotic worlds of thought. In Whorf's words:
We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscope flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguistic systems of our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way—an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language [...] all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated.
Among Whorf's best-known examples of linguistic relativity are instances where an indigenous language has several terms for a concept that is only described with one word in European languages (Whorf used the acronym SAE "Standard Average European" to allude to the rather similar grammatical structures of the well-studied European languages in contrast to the greater diversity of less-studied languages).
Another is the Hopi language's words for water, one indicating drinking water in a container and another indicating a natural body of water. These examples of polysemy served the double purpose of showing that indigenous languages sometimes made more fine grained semantic distinctions than European languages and that direct translation between two languages, even of seemingly basic concepts such as snow or water, is not always possible.
Another example is from Whorf's experience as a chemical engineer working for an insurance company as a fire inspector. While inspecting a chemical plant he observed that the plant had two storage rooms for gasoline barrels, one for the full barrels and one for the empty ones. He further noticed that while no employees smoked cigarettes in the room for full barrels, no-one minded smoking in the room with empty barrels, although this was potentially much more dangerous because of the highly flammable vapors still in the barrels. He concluded that the use of the word empty in connection to the barrels had led the workers to unconsciously regard them as harmless, although consciously they were probably aware of the risk of explosion. This example was later criticized by Lenneberg as not actually demonstrating causality between the use of the word empty and the action of smoking, but instead was an example of circular reasoning. Pinker in The Language Instinct ridiculed this example, claiming that this was a failing of human insight rather than language.
Whorf's most elaborate argument for linguistic relativity regarded what he believed to be a fundamental difference in the understanding of time as a conceptual category among the Hopi. He argued that in contrast to English and other SAE languages, Hopi does not treat the flow of time as a sequence of distinct, countable instances, like "three days" or "five years," but rather as a single process and that consequently it has no nouns referring to units of time as SAE speakers understand them. He proposed that this view of time was fundamental to Hopi culture and explained certain Hopi behavioral patterns. Malotki later claimed that he had found no evidence of Whorf's claims in 1980's era speakers, nor in historical documents dating back to the arrival of Europeans. Malotki used evidence from archaeological data, calendars, historical documents, modern speech and concluded that there was no evidence that Hopi conceptualize time in the way Whorf suggested. Universalist scholars such as Pinker often see Malotki's study as a final refutation of Whorf's claim about Hopi, whereas relativist scholars such as Lucy and Penny Lee criticized Malotki's study for mischaracterizing Whorf's claims and for forcing Hopi grammar into a model of analysis that doesn't fit the data.
Whorf’s argument about Hopi speakers’ conceptualization about time is an example of the structure-centered approach to research into linguistic relativity, which Lucy identified as one of three main strands of research in the field. The "structure-centered" approach starts with a language's structural peculiarity and examines its possible ramifications for thought and behavior. The defining example is Whorf's observation of discrepancies between the grammar of time expressions in Hopi and English. More recent research in this vein is Lucy's research describing how usage of the categories of grammatical number and of numeral classifiers in the Mayan language Yucatec result in Mayan speakers classifying objects according to material rather than to shape as preferred by English speakers.
Whorf died in 1941 at age 44, leaving multiple unpublished papers. His line of thought was continued by linguists and anthropologists such as Hoijer and Lee who both continued investigations into the effect of language on habitual thought, and Trager, who prepared a number of Whorf's papers for posthumous publishing. The most important event for the dissemination of Whorf's ideas to a larger public was the publication in 1956 of his major writings on the topic of linguistic relativity in a single volume titled Language, Thought and Reality.
In 1953, Eric Lenneberg criticized Whorf's examples from an objectivist view of language holding that languages are principally meant to represent events in the real world and that even though languages express these ideas in various ways, the meanings of such expressions and therefore the thoughts of the speaker are equivalent. He argued that Whorf's English descriptions of a Hopi speaker's view of time were in fact translations of the Hopi concept into English, therefore disproving linguistic relativity. However Whorf was concerned with how the habitual use of language influences habitual behavior, rather than translatability. Whorf's point was that while English speakers may be able to understand how a Hopi speaker thinks, they do not think in that way.
Lenneberg's main criticism of Whorf's works was that he never showed the connection between a linguistic phenomenon and a mental phenomenon. With Brown, Lenneberg proposed that proving such a connection required directly matching linguistic phenomena with behavior. They assessed linguistic relativity experimentally and published their findings in 1954.
Since neither Sapir nor Whorf had ever stated a formal hypothesis, Brown and Lenneberg formulated their own. Their two tenets were (i) "the world is differently experienced and conceived in different linguistic communities" and (ii) "language causes a particular cognitive structure". Brown later developed them into the so-called "weak" and "strong" formulation:
- Structural differences between language systems will, in general, be paralleled by nonlinguistic cognitive differences, of an unspecified sort, in the native speakers of the language.
- The structure of anyone's native language strongly influences or fully determines the worldview he will acquire as he learns the language.
Brown's formulations became widely known and were retrospectively attributed to Whorf and Sapir although the second formulation, verging on linguistic determinism, was never advanced by either of them.
Since Brown and Lenneberg believed that the objective reality denoted by language was the same for speakers of all languages, they decided to test how different languages codified the same message differently and whether differences in codification could be proven to affect behavior.
Brown and Lenneberg designed experiments involving the codification of colors. In their first experiment, they investigated whether it was easier for speakers of English to remember color shades for which they had a specific name than to remember colors that were not as easily definable by words. This allowed them to compare the linguistic categorization directly to a non-linguistic task. In a later experiment, speakers of two languages that categorize colors differently (English and Zuni) were asked to recognize colors. In this way, it could be determined whether the differing color categories of the two speakers would determine their ability to recognize nuances within color categories. Brown and Lenneberg found that Zuñi speakers who classify green and blue together as a single color did have trouble recognizing and remembering nuances within the green/blue category. This approach, which Lucy would later classify as domain-centered, is acknowledged to be sub-optimal, because color perception, unlike other semantic domains, is hardwired into the neural system and as such is subject to more universal restrictions than other semantic domains.
Brown and Lenneberg's study began a tradition of investigation of linguistic relativity through color terminology. The studies showed a correlation between color term numbers and ease of recall in both Zuni and English speakers. Researchers attributed this to focal colors having higher codability than less focal colors, and not with linguistic relativity effects. Berlin/Kay found universal typological color principles that are determined by biological rather than linguistic factors. This study sparked studies into typological universals of color terminology. Researchers such as Lucy, Saunders and Levinson argued that Berlin and Kay's study does not refute linguistic relativity in color naming, because of unsupported assumptions in their study (such as whether all cultures in fact have a clearly defined category of "color") and because of related data problems. Researchers such as Maclaury continued investigation into color naming. Like Berlin and Kay, Maclaury concluded that the domain is governed mostly by physical-biological universals.
Universalist scholars ushered in a period of dissent from ideas about linguistic relativity. Lenneberg was one of the first cognitive scientists to begin development of the Universalist theory of language that was formulated by Chomsky as Universal Grammar, effectively arguing that all languages share the same underlying structure. The Chomskyan school also holds the belief that linguistic structures are largely innate and that what are perceived as differences between specific languages are surface phenomena that do not affect the brain's universal cognitive processes. This theory became the dominant paradigm in American linguistics from the 1960s through the 1980s, while linguistic relativity became the object of ridicule.
Examples of universalist influence in the 1960s are the studies by Berlin and Kay who continued Lenneberg's color research. They studied color terminology formation and showed clear universal trends in color naming. For example, they found that even though languages have different color terminologies, they generally recognize certain hues as more focal than others. They showed that in languages with few color terms, it is predictable from the number of terms which hues are chosen as focal colors, for example, languages with only three color terms always have the focal colors black, white and red. The fact that what had been believed to be random differences between color naming in different languages could be shown to follow universal patterns was seen as a powerful argument against linguistic relativity. Berlin and Kay's research has since been criticized by relativists such as Lucy, who argued that Berlin and Kay's conclusions were skewed by their insistence that color terms encode only color information. This, Lucy argues, made them blind to the instances in which color terms provided other information that might be considered examples of linguistic relativity.
Other universalist researchers dedicated themselves to dispelling other aspects of linguistic relativity, often attacking Whorf's specific points and examples. For example, Malotki's monumental study of time expressions in Hopi presented many examples that challenged Whorf's "timeless" interpretation of Hopi language and culture, but seemingly failed to address linguistic relativist argument actually posed by Whorf (i.e. that the understanding of time by native Hopi speakers differed from that of speakers of European languages due to the differences in the organization and construction of their respective languages; Whorf never claimed that Hopi speakers lacked any concept of time). Malotki himself acknowledges that the conceptualizations are different, but because he ignores Whorf's use of scare quotes around the word "time" and the qualifier "what we call," takes Whorf to be arguing that the Hopi have no concept of time at all.
Today many followers of the universalist school of thought still oppose linguistic relativity. For example, Pinker argues in The Language Instinct that thought is independent of language, that language is itself meaningless in any fundamental way to human thought, and that human beings do not even think in "natural" language, i.e. any language that we actually communicate in; rather, we think in a meta-language, preceding any natural language, called "mentalese." Pinker attacks what he calls "Whorf's radical position," declaring, "the more you examine Whorf's arguments, the less sense they make."
Joshua Fishman's "Whorfianism of the third kind"
Joshua Fishman argued that Whorf's true position was largely overlooked. In 1978, he suggested that Whorf was a "neo-Herderian champion" and in 1982, he proposed "Whorfianism of the third kind" in an attempt to refocus linguists' attention on what he claimed was Whorf's real interest, namely the intrinsic value of "little peoples" and "little languages". Whorf had criticized Ogden's Basic English thus:
But to restrict thinking to the patterns merely of English […] is to lose a power of thought which, once lost, can never be regained. It is the 'plainest' English which contains the greatest number of unconscious assumptions about nature. […] We handle even our plain English with much greater effect if we direct it from the vantage point of a multilingual awareness.
Where Brown's weak version of the linguistic relativity hypothesis proposes that language influences thought and the strong version that language determines thought, Fishman's "Whorfianism of the third kind" proposes that language is a key to culture.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, advances in cognitive psychology and cognitive linguistics renewed interest in the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. One of those who adopted a more Whorfian approach was George Lakoff. He argued that language is often used metaphorically and that languages use different cultural metaphors that reveal something about how speakers of that language think. For example, English employs conceptual metaphors likening time with money, so that time can be saved and spent and invested, whereas other languages do not talk about time in that way. Other such metaphors are common to many languages because they are based on general human experience, for example, metaphors associating up with good and bad with down. Lakoff also argued that metaphor plays an important part in political debates such as the "right to life" or the "right to choose"; or "illegal aliens" or "undocumented workers".
In his book Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind, Lakoff reappraised linguistic relativity and especially Whorf's views about how linguistic categorization reflects and/or influences mental categories. He concluded that the debate had been confused. He described four parameters on which researchers differed in their opinions about what constitutes linguistic relativity:
- The degree and depth of linguistic relativity. Perhaps a few examples of superficial differences in language and associated behavior are enough to demonstrate the existence of linguistic relativity. Alternatively, perhaps only deep differences that permeate the linguistic and cultural system suffice.
- Whether conceptual systems are absolute or whether they can evolve
- Whether the similarity criterion is translatability or the use of linguistic expressions
- Whether the focus of linguistic relativity is in language or in the brain
Lakoff concluded that many of Whorf's critics had criticized him using novel definitions of linguistic relativity, rendering their criticisms moot.
Rethinking Linguistic Relativity
The publication of the 1996 anthology Rethinking Linguistic Relativity edited by Gumperz and Levinson began a new period of linguistic relativity studies that focused on cognitive and social aspects. The book included studies on the linguistic relativity and universalist traditions. Levinson documented significant linguistic relativity effects in the linguistic conceptualization of spatial categories between languages. For example, men speaking the Guugu Yimithirr language in Queensland gave accurate navigation instructions using a compass-like system of north, south, east and west, along with a hand gesture pointing to the starting direction.
Lucy defines this approach as “domain-centered,” because researchers select a semantic domain and compare it across linguistic and cultural groups. Space is another semantic domain that has proven fruitful for linguistic relativity studies. Spatial categories vary greatly across languages. Speakers rely on the linguistic conceptualization of space in performing many ordinary tasks. Levinson and others reported three basic spatial categorizations. While many languages use combinations of them, some languages exhibit only one type and related behaviors. For example, Yimithirr only uses absolute directions when describing spatial relations— the position of everything is described by using the cardinal directions. Speakers define a location as "north of the house", while an English speaker may use relative positions, saying "in front of the house" or "to the left of the house".
Separate studies by Bowerman and Slobin treated the role of language in cognitive processes. Bowerman showed that certain cognitive processes did not use language to any significant extent and therefore could not be subject to linguistic relativity. Slobin described another kind of cognitive process that he named "thinking for speaking" – the kind of process in which perceptional data and other kinds of prelinguistic cognition are translated into linguistic terms for communication. These, Slobin argues, are the kinds of cognitive process that are at the root of linguistic relativity.
Researchers such as Boroditsky, Majid, Lucy and Levinson believe that language influences thought in more limited ways than the broadest early claims. Researchers examine the interface between thought (or cognition), language and culture and describe the relevant influences. They use experimental data to back up their conclusions. Kay ultimately concluded that "[the] Whorf hypothesis is supported in the right visual field but not the left". His findings show that accounting for brain lateralization offers another perspective.
Recent studies have also taken the "behavior centered" approach, which starts by comparing behavior across linguistic groups and then searches for causes for that behavior in the linguistic system. In an early example of this approach, Whorf attributed the occurrence of fires at a chemical plant to the workers' use of the word 'empty' to describe the barrels containing only explosive vapors.
More recently, Bloom noticed that speakers of Chinese had unexpected difficulties answering counter-factual questions posed to them in a questionnaire. He concluded that this was related to the way in which counter-factuality is marked grammatically in Chinese. Other researchers attributed this result to Bloom's flawed translations. Strømnes examined why Finnish factories had a higher occurrence of work related accidents than similar Swedish ones. He concluded that cognitive differences between the grammatical usage of Swedish prepositions and Finnish cases could have caused Swedish factories to pay more attention to the work process while Finnish factory organizers paid more attention to the individual worker.
Everett's work on the Pirahã language of the Brazilian Amazon found several peculiarities that he interpreted as corresponding to linguistically rare features, such as a lack of numbers and color terms in the way those are otherwise defined and the absence of certain types of clauses. Everett's conclusions were met with skepticism from universalists who claimed that the linguistic deficit is explained by the lack of need for such concepts.
Recent research with non-linguistic experiments in languages with different grammatical properties (e.g., languages with and without numeral classifiers or with different gender grammar systems) showed that language differences in human categorization are due to such differences. Experimental research suggests that this linguistic influence on thought diminishes over time, as when speakers of one language are exposed to another.
A study published by the American Psychological Association's Journal of Experimental Psychology claimed that language can influence how one estimates time. The study focused on three groups, those who spoke only Swedish, those who spoke only Spanish and bilingual speakers who spoke both of those languages. Swedish speakers describe time using distance terms like "long" or "short" while Spanish speakers do it using quantity related terms like "a lot" or "little". The researchers asked the participants to estimate how much time had passed while watching a line growing across a screen, or a container being filled, or both. The researchers stated that "When reproducing duration, Swedish speakers were misled by stimulus length, and Spanish speakers were misled by stimulus size/quantity." When the bilinguals were prompted with the word "duración" (the Spanish word for duration) they based their time estimates of how full the containers were, ignoring the growing lines. When prompted with the word "tid" (the Swedish word for duration) they estimated the time elapsed solely by the distance the lines had traveled.
Kashima & Kashima showed that people living in countries where spoken languages often drop pronouns (such as Japanese) tend to have more collectivistic values than those who use non–pronoun drop languages such as English. They argued that the explicit reference to “you” and “I” reminds speakers the distinction between the self and other.
Psycholinguistic studies explored motion perception, emotion perception, object representation and memory. The gold standard of psycholinguistic studies on linguistic relativity is now finding non-linguistic cognitive differences in speakers of different languages (thus rendering inapplicable Pinker's criticism that linguistic relativity is "circular").
Recent work with bilingual speakers attempts to distinguish the effects of language from those of culture on bilingual cognition including perceptions of time, space, motion, colors and emotion. Researchers described differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in perception of color, representations of time and other elements of cognition.
Linguistic relativity inspired others to consider whether thought could be influenced by manipulating language.
Science and philosophy
The question bears on philosophical, psychological, linguistic and anthropological questions.[clarification needed]
A major question is whether human psychological faculties are mostly innate or whether they are mostly a result of learning, and hence subject to cultural and social processes such as language. The innate view holds that humans share the same set of basic faculties, and that variability due to cultural differences is less important and that the human mind is a mostly biological construction, so that all humans sharing the same neurological configuration can be expected to have similar cognitive patterns.
Multiple alternatives have advocates. The contrary constructivist position holds that human faculties and concepts are largely influenced by socially constructed and learned categories, without many biological restrictions. Another variant is idealist, which holds that human mental capacities are generally unrestricted by biological-material strictures. Another is essentialist, which holds that essential differences[clarification needed] may influence the ways individuals or groups experience and conceptualize the world. Yet another is relativist (Cultural relativism), which sees different cultural groups as employing different conceptual schemes that are not necessarily compatible or commensurable, nor more or less in accord with external reality.
Another debate considers whether thought is a form of internal speech or is independent of and prior to language.
In the philosophy of language the question addresses the relations between language, knowledge and the external world, and the concept of truth. Philosophers such as Putnam, Fodor, Davidson, and Dennett see language as representing directly entities from the objective world and that categorization reflect that world. Other philosophers (e.g. Quine, Searle, Foucault) argue that categorization and conceptualization is subjective and arbitrary.
Another question is whether language is a tool for representing and referring to objects in the world, or whether it is a system used to construct mental representations that can be communicated.[clarification needed]
Therapy and self-development
Sapir/Whorf contemporary Alfred Korzybski was independently developing his theory of general semantics, which was aimed at using language's influence on thinking to maximize human cognitive abilities. Korzybski's thinking was influenced by logical philosophy such as Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica and Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Although Korzybski was not aware of Sapir and Whorf's writings, the movement was followed by Whorf-admirer Stuart Chase, who fused Whorf's interest in cultural-linguistic variation with Korzybski's programme in his popular work "The Tyranny of Words". S. I. Hayakawa was a follower and popularizer of Korzybski's work, writing Language in Thought and Action. The general semantics movement influenced the development of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), another therapeutic technique that seeks to use awareness of language use to influence cognitive patterns.
Korzybski independently described a "strong" version of the hypothesis of linguistic relativity.
We do not realize what tremendous power the structure of an habitual language has. It is not an exaggeration to say that it enslaves us through the mechanism of s[emantic] r[eactions] and that the structure which a language exhibits, and impresses upon us unconsciously, is automatically projected upon the world around us.— Korzybski (1930)
In their fiction, authors such as Ayn Rand and George Orwell explored how linguistic relativity might be exploited for political purposes. In Rand's Anthem, a fictive communist society removed the possibility of individualism by removing the word "I" from the language. In Orwell's 1984 the authoritarian state created the language Newspeak to make it impossible for people to think critically about the government, or even to contemplate that they might be impoverished or oppressed, by reducing the number of words to reduce the thought of the locutor.
Others have been fascinated by the possibilities of creating new languages that could enable new, and perhaps better, ways of thinking. Examples of such languages designed to explore the human mind include Loglan, explicitly designed by James Cooke Brown to test the linguistic relativity hypothesis, by experimenting whether it would make its speakers think more logically. Speakers of Lojban, an evolution of Loglan, report that they feel speaking the language enhances their ability for logical thinking. Suzette Haden Elgin, who was involved in the early development of neuro-linguistic programming, invented the language Láadan to explore linguistic relativity by making it easier to express what Elgin considered the female worldview, as opposed to Standard Average European languages which she considered to convey a "male centered" world view. John Quijada's language Ithkuil was designed to explore the limits of the number of cognitive categories a language can keep its speakers aware of at once. Similarly, Sonja Lang's Toki Pona was developed according to a Taoist point of view for exploring how (or if) such a language would direct human thought.
APL programming language originator Kenneth E. Iverson believed that the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis applied to computer languages (without actually mentioning it by name). His Turing Award lecture, "Notation as a Tool of Thought", was devoted to this theme, arguing that more powerful notations aided thinking about computer algorithms.[non-primary source needed]
The essays of Paul Graham explore similar themes, such as a conceptual hierarchy of computer languages, with more expressive and succinct languages at the top. Thus, the so-called blub paradox (after a hypothetical programming language of average complexity called Blub) says that anyone preferentially using some particular programming language will know that it is more powerful than some, but not that it is less powerful than others. The reason is that writing in some language means thinking in that language. Hence the paradox, because typically programmers are "satisfied with whatever language they happen to use, because it dictates the way they think about programs".
In a 2003 presentation at an open source convention, Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of the programming language Ruby, said that one of his inspirations for developing the language was the science fiction novel Babel-17, based on the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis.
In popular culture
Ted Chiang's short story "Story of Your Life" developed the concept of the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis as applied to an alien species which visits Earth. The aliens' biology contributes to their spoken and written languages, which are distinct. In the 2016 American film Arrival, based on Chiang's short story, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is the premise. The protagonist explains that "the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is the theory that the language you speak determines how you think".
In his science fiction novel The Languages of Pao the author Jack Vance describes how specialized languages are a major part of a strategy to create specific classes in a society, to enable the population to withstand occupation and develop itself.
In the Samuel R. Delany science fiction novel, "Babel-17," the author describes a highly advanced, information-dense language that can be used as a weapon. Learning it turns one into an unwilling traitor as it alters perception and thought. 
The Totalitarian regime depicted in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four in effect acts on the basis of the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, seeking to replace English with Newspeak, a language constructed specifically with the intention that thoughts subversive of the regime cannot be expressed in it, and therefore people educated to speak and think in it would not have such thoughts.
- Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution
- Bicameralism – Hypothesis in psychology
- Eskimo words for snow
- Ethnolinguistics – Academic discipline
- Hopi time controversy – Academic debate
- Language and thought – The study of how language influences thought
- Language planning – Deliberate effort to influence the function, structure, or acquisition of languages or language variety within a speech community
- Linguistic anthropology – Interdisciplinary study of how language influences social life
- Linguistic determinism – Idea that language and its structures limit and determine human knowledge or thought
- Psycholinguistics – Study of relations between psychology and language
- Relativism – Philosophical view rejecting universalism, e.g. about truth
- Terministic screen – A term in the theory and criticism of rhetoric
- Leavitt 2010, p. 3.
- Boroditsky, Lera; Liberman, Mark (13–23 December 2010). "For and Against Linguistic Relativity". The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2019. (a debate between university professors)
- Ahearn, Laura M. (2012). Living language : an introduction to linguistic anthropology. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-4443-4056-3. OCLC 729731177.
- Ottenheimer, Harriet (2009). The anthropology of language : an introduction to linguistic anthropology (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-495-50884-7. OCLC 216940204.
- Hill & Mannheim 1992.
- Kennison, Shelia (2013). Introduction to language development. Los Angeles: Sage.
- Koerner 1992, p. 180.
- "The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", in Hoijer 1954, pp. 92–105.
- This usage is now generally seen as a misnomer. As Jane Hill and Bruce Mannheim write: Yet, just as the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire the "Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis" is neither consistent with the writings of Sapir and Whorf, nor a hypothesis (Hill & Mannheim 1992, p. 386)
- Koerner, E.F.K. "Towards a full pedigree of the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis: from Locke to Lucy", chapter in Pütz & Verspoor 2000, p. 17.
- Wolff & Holmes 2011.
- McComiskey, Bruce (2002). Gorgias and the New Sophistic Rhetoric. SIU Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2397-5.
- Gumperz & Levinson 1996, p. 2.
- Leavitt 2010, p. 75.
- Arcana Coelestia section 1059. http://smallcanonsearch.com/read.php?book=ac§ion=1059.
- True Christian Religion section 813. http://smallcanonsearch.com/read.php?book=tcr§ion=813.
- Robert L. Miller The Linguistic Relativity Principle and Humboldtian Ethnolinguistics p. 18.
- McAfee 2004.
- Quoted in Bernard D. Den Ouden, Language and Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Essay in Chomskyan Humanism, p. 25.
- Trabant, Jürgen. "How relativistic are Humboldts "Weltansichten"?", in Pütz & Verspoor 2000.
- Kahane, Henry; Kahane, Renée (1983). "Humanistic linguistics". The Journal of Aesthetic Education. 17 (4): 65–89. doi:10.2307/3332265. JSTOR 3332265.
- Migge & Léglise 2007.
- Seuren 1998, p. 180.
- Seuren 1998, p. 181.
- Dall, Wm. H.; Boas, Franz (1887). "Museums of Ethnology and Their Classification". Science. 9 (228): 587–589. ISSN 0036-8075.
- Ottenheimer, Harriet (2009). The anthropology of language : an introduction to linguistic anthropology (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-495-50884-7. OCLC 216940204.
- Boas, Franz (1911). Introduction. Handbook of American Indian Languages. vol. 1, p. 1-83. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 40. Washington: Government Print Office (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology). p. 73.
- Boas, Franz (1911). Handbook of American Indian languages. 1. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 40. Washington: Government Print Office (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology).
- Leavitt 2010, p. 133.
- Sapir, Edward (1929), "The status of linguistics as a science", Language, 5 (4): 207–214, doi:10.2307/409588, hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-002C-4321-4, JSTOR 409588
- Sapir, Edward; Swadesh, Morris (1946). American Indian Grammatical Categories. pp. 100–107.
- Sapir 1921, p. 213–4.
- Sapir 1921, p. 215.
- Leavitt 2010, p. 135.
- For a critique of Weisgerber, see, for example: Beat Lehmann (1998), ROT ist nicht ″rot″ ist nicht [rot]. Eine Bilanz und Neuinterpretation der linguistischen Relativitätstheorie. Gunter Narr, Tübingen. pp. 58–80; Iwar Werlen (2002), 'Das Worten der Welt', in: Lexikologie ... Ein internationales Handbuch, ed. by D. Alan Cruse et al., Walter de Gruyter, Berlin & New York, 1. pp. 380–391.
- Vygotsky, L. (1934/1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
- Lucy & Wertsch 1987.
- Pula 1992.
- Whorf 1956, p. 214.
- Lenneberg 1953.
- Pinker 1994, pp. 59-64.
- Pinker 1994, p. 60.
- Whorf 1956, p. 212–214.
- Pullum 1991.
- Whorf 2012, p. 182.
- Whorf 2012, p. 203.
- Whorf 1956.
- Lee 1996, Leavitt 2011, pp. 179–187, Lucy 1992b, p. 286, Lucy 1996, p. 43, Dinwoodie 2006.
- Lucy, J. A. (1997). "The linguistics of 'color'". In C.L. Hardin & L. Maffi (eds.), Color categories in thought and language (pp. 320–436). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Lucy 1992b.
- Lakoff 1987.
- Brown & Lenneberg 1954, p. 455,457.
- Brown 1976, p. 128.
- D'Andrade 1995, p. 185.
- Berlin & Kay 1969.
- Saunders, Barbara (2000). "Revisiting Basic Color Terms". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 6: 81–99. doi:10.1111/1467-9655.00005.
- Levinson, Stephen C. (2000). "Yeli Dnye and the Theory of Basic Color Terms". Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 10: 3–55. doi:10.1525/jlin.2000.10.1.3. hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0013-2A6B-F.
- MacLaury, Robert E.; Hewes, Gordon W.; Kinnear, Paul R.; Deregowski, J. B.; Merrifield, William R.; Saunders, B. a. C.; Stanlaw, James; Toren, Christina; Van Brakel, J. (1 April 1992). "From Brightness to Hue: An Explanatory Model of Color-Category Evolution [and Comments and Reply]". Current Anthropology. 33 (2): 137–186. doi:10.1086/204049. ISSN 0011-3204. S2CID 144088006.
- MacLaury, Robert E. (1 January 1997). Color and Cognition in Mesoamerica: Constructing Categories as Vantages. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-75193-4.
- Gumperz & Levinson 1996, p. 3, 6.
- Gumperz & Levinson 1996, p. 6.
- Lucy 1992a.
- Malotki 1983.
- Lucy 1996.
- Lucy 1992b, p. 286.
- Leavitt 2011, p. 180.
- Levinson 2012, p. xii.
- Casasanto 2008.
- Fishman 1978.
- Fishman 1982, p. 5.
- Whorf 1956, p. 244.
- Seidner 1982.
- Lakoff, George (1980). Metaphors we live by. Mark Johnson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-46801-1. OCLC 6042798.
- Levinson 1998, p. 13.
- Lucy 1997, p. 301.
- Levinson 1996.
- Bowerman, Melissa (1974). "Learning the Structure of Causative Verbs: A Study in the Relationship of Cognitive, Semantic and Syntactic Development." Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, no. 8. Stanford University, California Committee on Linguistics.
- Slobin, Dan I. (1987). "Thinking for Speaking." Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society. p. 435-445.
- Gentner, Dedre; Boroditsky, Lera (2001). "Individuation, relativity, and early word development". In Melissa Bowerman and Stephen Levinson (ed.). Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development. Cambridge University Press. pp. 215–256. ISBN 978-0-521-59659-6.
- Levinson, Stephen (2001). "Covariation between spatial language and cognition, and its implications for language learning". In Melissa Bowerman and Stephen Levinson (ed.). Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development. Cambridge University Press. pp. 566–588. ISBN 978-0-521-59659-6.
- Gilbert, Aubrey L.; Regier, Terry; Kay, Paul; Ivry, Richard B. (10 January 2006). "Whorf hypothesis is supported in the right visual field but not the left". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 103 (2): 489–494. Bibcode:2006PNAS..103..489G. doi:10.1073/pnas.0509868103. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 1326182. PMID 16387848.
- Au, T. (1984). "Counterfactuals: In reply to Alfred Bloom". Cognition. 17 (3): 289–302. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(84)90012-X. S2CID 53204914.
- Lucy 1997, p. 304.
- Everett, Daniel L. (2005), "Cultural constraints on grammar and cognition in Pirahã" (PDF), Current Anthropology, 46 (4): 621–646, doi:10.1086/431525, hdl:2066/41103, S2CID 2223235, retrieved 1 October 2012
- Frank, Michael C.; Everett, Daniel L.; Fedorenko, Evelina; Gibson, Edward (2008), "Number as a cognitive technology: Evidence from Pirahã language and cognition" (PDF), Cognition, 108 (3), pp. 819–24, doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2008.04.007, PMID 18547557, S2CID 14863459, archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2010, retrieved 14 May 2009
- Ira Nevins, Andrew; Pesetsky, David; Rodrigues, Cilene (2009). "Piraha Exceptionality: a Reassessment" (PDF). Language. 85 (2): 355–404. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.404.9474. doi:10.1353/lan.0.0107. hdl:1721.1/94631. S2CID 15798043.
- Kou, J. Y.; Sera, M. D. (2007). "Classifier effect on human categorization: the role of shape classifiers in Chinese Chinese. In". Journal of East Asian Linguistics. 18: 1–19. doi:10.1007/s10831-008-9036-6. S2CID 120382476.
- Bross, Fabian; Pfaller, Philip (2012). "The decreasing Whorf-effect: a study in the classifier systems of Mandarin and Thai" (PDF). Journal of Unsolved Questions. 2 (2): S19–S24.
- Pandey, Avaneesh (3 May 2017). "The Language You Speak Affects How Your Brain Experiences The Passage of Time". International Business Times. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
- Pierre, Kendra (9 May 2017). "The language you speak changes your perception of time". Popsci.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
- Kashima, E., & Kashima, Y. (1998). Culture and language: The case of cultural dimensions and personal pronoun use. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, 461–486.
- Hickmann, Maya; Robert, Stéphane (16 May 2006). "The relativity of motion in first language acquisition". Space in Languages: Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 281–308. ISBN 978-90-272-9355-8.
- Perlovsky, Leonid (2009). "Language and emotions: Emotional Sapir–Whorf hypothesis". Neural Networks. 22 (5–6): 518–526. doi:10.1016/j.neunet.2009.06.034. ISSN 0893-6080. PMID 19616406.
- Mazuka, Reiko; Friedman, Ronald S. (2000). "Linguistic Relativity in Japanese and English: Is Language the Primary Determinant in Object Classification?". Journal of East Asian Linguistics. 9 (4): 353–377. doi:10.1023/A:1008356620617. ISSN 0925-8558. S2CID 118785578.
- Pavlenko, A. (2003). "Eyewitness memory in late bilinguals: Evidence for discursive relativity". International Journal of Bilingualism. 7 (3): 257–281. doi:10.1177/13670069030070030301. ISSN 1367-0069. S2CID 144633646.
- Pavlenko 1999, Cook & Bassetti 2010, Athanasopoulos 2009, Phillips & Boroditsky 2003.
- Andrews 1994.
- Boroditsky, Ham & Ramscar 2002.
- Leavitt 2011.
- Raykowski, Wes (2014). Conceptual Understructure of Human Experience: Volume 1 (Thesis).
- Korzybski, Alfred (1949). Time-binding: The General Theory : Two Papers 1924–1926. Institute of General Semantics. pp. (5), 54.
- Wake, Lisa (31 March 2008). Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy: A Postmodern Perspective. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-09482-0.
- Read, Allen Walker (1982). "The Semiotic Aspect of Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics" (PDF). Semiotics: 101–107. doi:10.5840/cpsem19828. Cite journal requires
- Korzybski, Alfred (1958). Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. Institute of GS. ISBN 978-0-937298-01-5.
- Pinker 1994, chap. 3.
- Okrent, Arika (2009), In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language, Spiegel & Grau, pp. 208–257, ISBN 978-0-385-52788-0
- Foer, Joshua (24 December 2012). "UTOPIAN FOR BEGINNERS: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented". The New York Times.
- A Million Words and Counting: How Global English Is Rewriting the World, Paul J. J. Payack, (C) 2007, p. 194.
- Iverson, Kenneth E. (August 1980). "Notation as a tool of thought" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 23 (8): 444–465. doi:10.1145/358896.358899. S2CID 14177211. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2011.
- Graham 2004.
- "The Power and Philosophy of Ruby (or, how to create Babel-17)". Archived from the original on 11 August 2003.
- "The science behind the movie 'Arrival'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- "The Art of Fiction, No 210". The Paris Review. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
- Ahearn, Laura M. (21 March 2011). Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4443-4054-9.
- Andrews, David R. (1994), "The Russian Color Categories Sinij and Goluboj: An Experimental Analysis of Their Interpretation in the Standard and Emigré Languages", Journal of Slavic Linguistics, 2 (1): 9–28, JSTOR 24599022
- Athanasopoulos, Panos (2009), "Cognitive representation of colour in bilinguals: The case of Greek blues", Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12 (1): 83–95, doi:10.1017/S136672890800388X
- Berlin, Brent; Kay, Paul (1969), Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, Berkeley: University of California Press
- Boroditsky, Lera; Ham, Wendy; Ramscar, Michael (2002), "What is universal in event perception? Comparing English & Indonesian speakers", in W. D. Gray; C. D. Schunn (eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
- Brown, R.; Lenneberg, Eric (1954), "A study in language and cognition", Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 49 (3): 454–462, doi:10.1037/h0057814, PMID 13174309
- Brown, R. (1976), "In Memorial Tribute to Eric Lenneberg", Cognition, 4 (2): 125–153, doi:10.1016/0010-0277(76)90001-9, S2CID 53169722
- Casasanto, Daniel (2008), "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Whorf? Crosslinguistic Differences in Temporal Language and Thought", Language Learning, 58 (1): 79, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00462.x, hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0014-6D70-1, S2CID 8908681
- Cook, Vivian; Bassetti, Benedetta (2010), Language and Bilingual Cognition, Hove: Psychology Press
- D'Andrade, Roy G. (27 January 1995). The Development of Cognitive Anthropology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45976-1.
- Darnell, Regna (1990). Edward Sapir: Linguist, Anthropologist, Humanist. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06678-6.
- Dinwoodie, David W. (2006), "Time and the Individual in Native North America", in Kan, Sergei; Strong, Pauline Turner; Fogelson, Raymond (eds.), New Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, And Representations, U of Nebraska
- Drivonikou, G. V.; Kay, P.; Regier, T.; Ivry, R. B.; Gilbert, A. L.; Franklin, A.; Davies, I. R. L. (2007), "Further evidence that Whorfian effects are stronger in the right visual field than the left", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 (3): 1097–1102, Bibcode:2007PNAS..104.1097D, doi:10.1073/pnas.0610132104, PMC 1783370, PMID 17213312
- Everett, Caleb (2013), Linguistic Relativity: Evidence Across Languages and Cognitive Domains, Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton
- Fishman, Joshua A. (1978), "Positive bilingualism: Some overlooked rationales and forefathers", in J. E. Alatis (ed.), International dimensions of bilingual education, Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, pp. 42–52
- Fishman, Joshua A. (1982), "Whorfianism of the third kind: Ethnolinguistic diversity as a worldwide societal asset", Language in Society, 11: 1–14, doi:10.1017/S0047404500009015
- Gilbert, A.; Regier, T.; Kay, P.; Ivry, R. (2008), "Support for lateralization of the Whorf effect beyond the realm of color discrimination" (PDF), Brain and Language, 105 (2): 91–98, doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2007.06.001, PMID 17628656, S2CID 9285112
- Graham, Paul (2004). "Beating the Averages". Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". ISBN 978-0-596-00662-4.
- Gumperz, John; Levinson, Stephen, eds. (1996), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Hill, Jane H; Mannheim, Bruce (1992), "Language and World view", Annual Review of Anthropology, 21: 381–406, doi:10.1146/annurev.an.21.100192.002121
- Hoijer, Harry, ed. (1954), Language in culture: Conference on the interrelations of language and other aspects of culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
- Koerner, E. F. Konrad (1992), "The Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis: A Preliminary History and a Bibliographical Essay", Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 2 (2): 173–198, doi:10.1525/jlin.1922.214.171.124, JSTOR 43102168
- Lakoff, George (1987), Women, fire, and dangerous things, University of Chicago Press
- Leavitt, John Harold (2010). Linguistic relativities : language diversity and modern thought. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-511-99268-1. OCLC 699490918.
- Leavitt, John (2011), Linguistic Relativities: Language Diversity and Modern Thought, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-76782-8
- Lee, Penny (1 January 1996). The Whorf Theory Complex: A Critical Reconstruction. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-90-272-4569-4.
- Lenneberg, Eric; Brown, A. M. (1956), "The Language of Experience: a Study in Methodology", Indiana University Publications in Anthropology and Linguistics
- Lenneberg, Eric (1953), "Cognition in Ethnolinguistics", Language, 29 (4): 463–471, doi:10.2307/409956, JSTOR 409956
- Levinson, Stephen C. (1996), "Language and Space", Annual Review of Anthropology, 25: 353–82, doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.25.1.353, hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0013-2B64-6, S2CID 8050166
- Levinson, Stephen C. (1998), "Studying Spatial Conceptualization across Cultures: Anthropology and Cognitive Science", Ethos, 26 (1): 7–24, doi:10.1525/eth.19126.96.36.199, hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0013-2ABE-6, JSTOR 640692
- Levinson, Stephen C. (2000), "Yeli Dnye and the Theory of Basic Color Terms" (PDF), Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 10 (1): 3–55, doi:10.1525/jlin.2000.10.1.3, hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0013-2A6B-F
- Levinson, Stephen C. (2012), "Foreword", in Carroll, John B; Levinson, Stephen C; Lee, Penny (eds.), Language, Thought and Reality (2nd ed.), Cambridge, Massachusetts/London, UK: MIT Press, pp. vii–xxiii, ISBN 978-0-262-51775-1
- Lucy, John A. (1992a), Grammatical Categories and Cognition: A Case Study of the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, Cambridge: Cambridge University PressCS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
- Lucy, John A. (1992b), Language Diversity and Thought: A Reformulation of the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, Cambridge: Cambridge University PressCS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
- Lucy, John A. (1997), "Linguistic Relativity" (PDF), Annual Review of Anthropology, 26: 291–312, doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.26.1.291, JSTOR 2952524
- Lucy, John A. (1996), "The Scope of Linguistic Relativity:An analysis of Empirical Research", in Gumperz, John; Levinson, Stephen (eds.), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 37–69
- Lucy, J. A.; Wertsch, J. (1987), "Vygotsky and Whorf: A comparative analysis", in Hickmann, M. (ed.), Social and functional approaches to language and thought, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press., pp. 67–86
- Malotki, Ekkehart (1983), Werner Winter (ed.), "Hopi Time: A Linguistic Analysis of the Temporal Concepts in the Hopi Language", Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs, 20, ISBN 9789027933492
- McAfee, Christina (2004), "The Linguistic Relativity Theory and Benjamin Lee Whorf", The McMaster Journal of Communication, 1 (1): 26–31
- Migge, Bettina; Léglise, Isabelle (2007), "Language and colonialism", in Hellinger, Marlis; Pauwels, Anne (eds.), Handbook of Language and Communication: Diversity and Change, Handbooks of Applied Linguistics, De Gruyter Mouton, doi:10.1515/9783110198539.2.299, hdl:10197/8009, ISBN 9783110198539
- Niemeier, Susanne (2000), René Dirven (ed.), Evidence for linguistic relativity, John Benjamins Publishing Company, ISBN 978-90-272-3705-7
- Pavlenko, Aneta (1999), "New approaches to concepts in bilingual memory", Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 2 (3): 209–230, doi:10.1017/S1366728999000322, S2CID 28571055
- Phillips, Webb; Boroditsky, Lera (2003), "Can quirks of grammar affect the way you think? Grammatical gender and object concepts", in R. Alterman; D. Kirsh (eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Boston: Cognitive Science Society
- Pinker, Steven (1994), The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, Perennial
- Pula, Robert P. (1992), "The Nietzsche–Korzybski–Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis?", ETC: A Review of General Semantics, 49 (1): 50–57
- Pullum, Geoffrey (1991), The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax and other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language (PDF), Chicago University Press
- Pütz, Martin; Verspoor, Marjolyn, eds. (2000), Explorations in linguistic relativity, John Benjamins Publishing Company, ISBN 978-90-272-3706-4
- Sapir, Edward (1921), Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech, Harcourt, Brace
- Sapir, Edward (1983), David G. Mandelbaum (ed.), Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality, University of California Press
- Schultz, Emily Ann (1990), Dialogue at the Margins: Whorf, Bakhtin, and Linguistic Relativity, University of Wisconsin Press
- Seidner, Stanley S. (1982), Ethnicity, Language, and Power from a Psycholinguistic Perspective, Bruxelles: Centre de recherche sur le pluralinguismePress
- Seuren, Pieter A. M. (1998), Western linguistics: An historical introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0-631-20891-4
- Trager, George L. (1959), "The Systematization of the Whorf Hypothesis", Anthropological Linguistics, 1 (1): 31–35
- Whorf, Benjamin (1956), Carroll, John B. (ed.), Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, MIT Press
- Whorf, Benjamin Lee (2012), Language, thought, and reality : selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, John B. Carroll, Stephen C. Levinson, Penny Lee (2nd ed.), Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, ISBN 978-0-262-51775-1, OCLC 801407269
- Wolff, K. J.; Holmes (2011), "Linguistic relativity" (PDF), Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, pp. 253–265, archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2013
- Alford, Dan Moonhawk, The Great Whorf Hypothesis Hoax
- Boroditsky, Lera, "How Does Our Language Shape The Way We Think?", Edge
- Boroditsky, Lera; Schmidt, Lauren; Phillips, Webb, "Sex, syntax, and semantics" (PDF), Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought, pp. 61–79
- Boroditsky, Lera; Segel, Edward (2011). "Grammar in Art". Frontiers in Psychology. 1: 244. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00244. PMC 3153848. PMID 21833297.
- Deutscher, Guy (26 August 2010), "Does Your Language Shape How You Think?", The New York Times Magazine
- Deutscher, Guy (2011), Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages, Arrow Books, ISBN 978-0-09-950557-0
- Everett, Dan (2005), "Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã: Another Look at the Design Features of Human Language" (PDF), Current Anthropology, 46 (4): 621, doi:10.1086/431525, hdl:2066/41103, S2CID 2223235
- Kay, Paul; Kempton, Willet (1984), "What is the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis?", American Anthropologist, 86 (1): 65–79, doi:10.1525/aa.1984.86.1.02a00050, S2CID 15144601
- Kay, Paul; Chad K., McDaniel (1978), "The Linguistic Significance of Meanings of Basic Color Terms", Language, 54 (3): 610–646, doi:10.2307/412789, JSTOR 412789
- McWhorter, John H. (2016). The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0190468897.
- O'Neill, Sean (2008), Cultural Contact and Linguistic Relativity Among the Indians of Northwestern California, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 978-0-8061-3922-7
- Swoyer, Chris (2015), "The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Archive
- "Which comes first, language or thought?", Harvard Gazette, 22 July 2004