Benjamin Lee Whorf
Also found in: Wikipedia.
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.
WORKSThe Phonetic Value of Certain Characters in Maya Writing. Cambridge, Mass., 1933.
Language, Thought, and Reality, 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass., 1966.