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 ?
The latter conclusion goes in line with the theory of linguistic relativity formulated by the American researchers Franz Boas, Edward Sapir and most significantly by Benjamin Lee Whorf (Marina 2003) and known as "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
It may be an exaggeration to believe the claims made by anthropological linguists Franz Boas and Benjamin Lee Whorf that Inuits have hundreds of words for snow.
Nonetheless, the idea that the thinking is dependent on language and that the language influences our understanding of the world around us was developed by and is usually associated with Benjamin Lee Whorf.
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.
2) Benjamin Lee Whorf, quoted by Dan Slobin in 'From "Thought and Language" to "Thinking to Speaking"', in Rethinking Linguistic Relativity, ed.
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.