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The metaphor of ‘linguistic relativity’

  • ‘Linguistic relativity’ has become a major keyword in debates on the psychological significance of language diversity. In this context, the term ‘relativity’ was originally taken on loan from Einstein’s then-recent theories by Edward Sapir (1924) and Benjamin L. Whorf (1940). The present paper assesses how far the idea of linguistic relativity does analogically build on relevant insights in modern physics, and fails to find any substantial analogies. The term was used rhetorically by Sapir and Whorf, and has since been incorporated into a cognitivist research programme that seeks to answer whether ‘language influences thought’. Contemporary research on ‘linguistic relativity’ has developed into a distinct way of studying language diversity, which shares a lot with the universalistic cognitivist framework it opposes, but little with relational approaches in science.

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Metadaten
Author:Jörg ZinkenGND
URN:urn:nbn:de:bsz:mh39-36494
Parent Title (English):History and Philosophy of Psychology
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2008
Date of Publication (online):2015/04/23
Publicationstate:Postprint
Tag:Sprachdeterminismus; Sprachliches Relativitätsprinzip
GND Keyword:Denken; Sapir-Whorf-Hypothese; Sprache
Volume:10
Issue:2
First Page:1
Last Page:10
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Linguistics-Classification:Psycholinguistik / Kognitive Linguistik
Open Access?:Ja
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG