• Conclusions with regards to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

The processing and storage of spatial information (one aspect of "thought") appears to involve some non-linguistic aspects. For example, some experiments[] consider the problem of object comparison. Imagine a cartoon drawing of a house. Now imagine two copies of that drawing. The first is rotated clockwise 90 degrees, so the house is lying on its side. The second is only rotated 45 degrees, so the house is simply tilted. Suppose that these three drawings are mixed in with similar drawings in random rotations, which do not actually represent houses. The experimental subject is shown the picture of the house and asked to identify which drawings in the lineup are the same. Studies which have performed this experiment show that the time it takes for someone to correctly recognize the tilted versions of the same picture is proportional to the amount of rotation. This leads to the hypothesis that the brain is "mentally rotating" the candidate pictures to attempt to match the reference copy, and that it takes longer to rotate through 90 degrees than 45. Experimenters assert that this process is possibly independent of either the semantic concept of "house" or the word that represents it and this raises doubts about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Psychological studies of animals indicate that they are able to process and store certain types of spatial information (such as geographical information about territory and food sources). This and the close relationship between spatial memory and the visual system suggests to some researchers that these aspects of the brain may have evolved before spoken language.

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Wardhaugh then analyzes the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis with different perspectives.

What Is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?

Whorf's deluded prisoner of language who defines event as anything which his language classifies as a verb is properly a caricature of the traditional grammarian who philosophizes on the basis of the formal features of his own language. Hence, Whorf's hypothesis is really just another attempt to discredit traditional linguistics. The irony of the situation is that Whorf himself (unlike Sapir) was unacquainted with traditional linguistics, and thus did not really know what he was talking about.

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The logical bridge to the Whorf hypothesis, I should like to claim, is then the notion that grammatical categories represent "experience seen in terms of a definite linguistic scheme, not experience that is the same for all observers" (Carroll, p. 92). Whorf, like Sapir, invents a type of experience with which the grammatical categories can be correlated, and proceeds to claim that the nature of these subjective experiences can be explained by their being correlated in this way. Just as Sapir suggested that speakers of English forget that a noun like height indicates a quality and not an object, Whorf claimed that to us an event means "what our language classes as a verb." In fact, Whorf took the argument one step further and denied that the native speaker can ever be reminded of the truth: "And it will be found that it is not possible [emphasis mine] to define 'event, thing, object, relationship,' and so on, from nature, but that to define them [emphasis mine] involves a circuitous return to the grammatical categories of the definer's language" (Carroll, p. 215).

To support the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, Wardhaugh expresses his opinions mainly in two aspects.
Ask A Linguist FAQ The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is a linguistic idea.

Much more research needs to be done, but it is not likely that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis will be supported in the strong form quoted above. For one, language is only one factor that influences cognition and behavior. For another, if the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis were really true, second language learning and translation would be far harder than they are. However, because language is so pervasive—and because we must always make cognitive decisions while speaking—weaker versions of the hypothesis will continue to attract scientific attention. (For a lively debate on many of these issues, with much new evidence from several fields, read Gumperz and Levinson 1996.)

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The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: The limits of our language …

In linguistics, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (SWH) (also known as the "linguistic relativity hypothesis") postulates a systematic relationship between the grammatical.

into the early 1960s the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was a subject of active.

Ask A Linguist FAQ: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Both Gipper and Lee deplore the fact that so much of the literature on the so-called Whorf hypothesis has been not only unsympathetic but also badly informed. The hostility directed at Whorf's theories from so many different points of view would surely warrant a complete monograph in its own right! John Joseph makes some perceptive comments on contemporary misinterpretations of Whorf's ideas in his From Whitney to Chomsky, pp. 181-196. In my view, the irony of the situation is that Whorf took aim at traditional "Indo-European" grammatical theory only to be attacked subsequently by a group of professional linguists who were as opposed to that theory as he himself had been! Whorf died in 1941, and from then on his influence on later developments in linguistics faded. His fate seems to have been that of a typical outsider. If he had lived longer one suspects that American linguistics might have developed differently. It is interesting to note that Sapir's influence likewise faded after his death in 1939, though less dramatically, and unlike Whorf Sapir was definitely an insider.