Please forward this error screen to 85. The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. Whorf hypothesis” is considered a misnomer by linguists for several reasons: Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf never co-authored any works, and learning Russian language is the child of an alien stated their ideas in terms of a hypothesis.
The idea was first clearly expressed by 19th-century thinkers, such as Wilhelm von Humboldt, who saw language as the expression of the spirit of a nation. From the late 1980s, a new school of linguistic relativity scholars has examined the effects of differences in linguistic categorization on cognition, finding broad support for non-deterministic versions of the hypothesis in experimental contexts. The strongest form of the theory is linguistic determinism, which holds that language entirely determines the range of cognitive processes. The hypothesis of linguistic determinism is now generally agreed to be false. This is the weaker form, proposing that language provides constraints in some areas of cognition, but that it is by no means determinative. Research on weaker forms has produced positive empirical evidence for a relationship. The idea that language and thought are intertwined is ancient.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the idea of the existence of different national characters, or “Volksgeister”, of different ethnic groups was the moving force behind the German romantics school and the beginning ideologies of ethnic nationalism. In 1820, Wilhelm von Humboldt connected the study of language to the national romanticist program by proposing the view that language is the fabric of thought. Thoughts are produced as a kind of internal dialog using the same grammar as the thinker’s native language. The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds but a diversity of views of the world. The idea that some languages are superior to others and that lesser languages maintained their speakers in intellectual poverty was widespread in the early 20th century. It does not seem likely that there is any direct relation between the culture of a tribe and the language they speak, except in so far as the form of the language will be moulded by the state of the culture, but not in so far as a certain state of the culture is conditioned by the morphological traits of the language. Boas’ student Edward Sapir reached back to the Humboldtian idea that languages contained the key to understanding the world views of peoples.