Linguistic Relativism Essay

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COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS LINGUISTIC RELATIVISM Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is one of the most debatable issue in linguistics, which is the reason why it is called hypothesis. If we are going to talk about Sapir-Whorf then we have to mention an important figure in linguistics Franz Boas. These two american structuralists have been effected by the toughts of Franz Boas in terms of anthropological background. Boas who studied physics and geography earlier in his academic career was considered to be a self-thought linguist who had no relation with any school or ecole. That’s why he saw no harm in studying the languages which had never been studied before by any linguists. Franz Boas who is the leader for studies in field, studied the American-Indian languages, whether this is for practical reasons (government policy) or for science itself, Boas made a difference. What he actually wanted to study was the culture, he stated that language is the reflection of culture and language is indespensable from culture. In other words, we can say that CULTURE=LANGUAGE. Boas says that the reality in outer world is same, only the mode of expressions are different. To sum up Boas’ thoughts we can safely say that; how language and culture comes together and how this system really hangs together is the main point of Boas’ thoughts. Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf studies the man’s language and his perception of reality. They both share the ideas of Boas in terms of linguistic relativisim. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis emphasis the importance of human mind. Sapir says that language is constructed in patterns which emerge in speaker’s mind. This approach is called mentalist approach. Whorf, on the other hand, focuses on the categorization. He compares the languages as Standard Avarage European (SAE) vs Exotic Languages “Hopi”. What Whorf primarily interested in is exactly not the idea that

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