Benjamin Lee Whorf

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Whorf, Benjamin Lee


Born Apr. 24, 1897, in Winthrop, Mass.; died July 26, 1941, in Wethersfield, Conn. American linguist and anthropologist.

Whorf graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1918 as a chemical engineer. In 1926 he began to study the relationship between language and thought, as well as the American Indian and Semitic languages. His early works dealt with the decipherment and linguistic interpretation of the Maya writing system, which in his innovative view was based partly on a phonetic principle. Under the influence of E. Sapir and as a result of his own studies of the Uto-Aztecan languages (especially Hopi), Whorf formulated a hypothesis of linguistic relativity that became known as the Whorfian hypothesis. Whorf contributed to the theory of grammatical categories in that he was the first to differentiate overt and covert categories in language.


The Phonetic Value of Certain Characters in Maya Writing. Cambridge, Mass., 1933.
Language, Thought, and Reality, 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass., 1966.


Zvegintsev, V. A. “Teoretiko-lingvisticheskie predposylki gipotezy Sepira-Uorfa.” In the collection Novoe v lingvistike, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1960.
References in periodicals archive ?
For several decades, proponents of linguistic determinism and linguistic relativity have identified themselves with Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf.
Lum has assembled a wonderful introduction to and discussion of the key figures on whose thought the media ecology group draws: Neil Postman, Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul, Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, James Carey, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Susanne Langer, Eric Havelock, and Walter O ng.
Reprinted in Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf John Carroll ed, (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1956), 247-248.
While Will Rogers' simplicity appealed to everyone, the linguistic theories of Benjamin Lee Whorf initially challenged the best of minds with their intricate formulas and hypotheses.
Among their topics are Benjamin Lee Whorf and the Boasian foundations of contemporary ethnolinguistics, the impact of language socialization on grammatical development, and interpreting language variation and change.
Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956), 215.
THE SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS, developed in the 1930s by the linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, holds that the language we use will determine how we see the world.
The controversial ideas of Benjamin Lee Whorf can be seen as a useful catalyst in making sense of the positive finding that have been steadly accumulating in the area of Heritage Language (HL) education and it explain that cognitive skills increase as a consequence of HL.
Benjamin Lee Whorf was concerned about that fact that workers would carelessly smoke cigarettes around fuel drums labelled 'empty', misled by their linguistic association of 'empty' with notions of inertness.
1956), Language, thought and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf.
Falk draws from the work of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, Maxwell McCombs and Donald shaw, George Gerbner, George Lakoff, and other scholars whose work emphasizes that the primary means by which populations become familiar with candidates is through the media.
Benjamin Lee Whorf once investigated industrial fires and explosions and found that the root cause was not simply accidental, but a consequence of their linguistic construction of the environment.