The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in contemporary foreign linguistics, a trend based on the linguistic views of W. von Humboldt.

Adherents of neo-Humboldtism believe that language constitutes an individual’s concepts about the outside world. Considering language as a manifestation of the “national spirit,” neo-Humboldtists attempt to show that people speaking different languages perceive reality and function in it in different ways. Thus, the individual’s “picture of the world” (Weltbild) depends on the structural features of the language: linguistic structure determines the nature of a man’s thinking. This viewpoint is linked with idealist, positivist philosophical tendencies. The principal neo-Humboldtist trends are represented by the school of L. Weisgerber in the Federal Republic of Germany and the work of American linguists adhering to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.


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Gukhman, M. M. “Lingvisticheskaia teoriia L. Vaisgerbera.” In Voprosy teorii iazyka v sovremennoi zarubezhnoi lingvistike. Moscow, 1961.
Katsnel’son, S. D. Soderzhanie slova, znachenie i oboznachenie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Pavlov, V. M. “Filosofskie osnovy neogumbol’dtianskogo iazykoznaniia.” In Voprosy obshchego iazykoznaniia. Leningrad, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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