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Wofir aka The Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis

From:Doug Ball <db001i@...>
Date:Thursday, September 7, 2000, 18:36
> Yoon Ha Lee wrote:
> On Thu, 7 Sep 2000, Thomas R. Wier wrote: > >> Yoon Ha Lee wrote: >> >> > On Wed, 6 Sep 2000, Mike Adams wrote: >> > >> > > Sort of like the Wofir hypotesis? I know English still has some gender >> > > usage, but we seem to have been loosing it over time. It maybe part of >> > > our international flavor and popularity? >> > >> > By Wofir do you mean Whorf-Sapir, or is it something else I haven't heard >> > of >> >> No, that seems to be what he means. > > For the sake of this ignorant conlanger wannabe <G> could someone briefly > summarize Wofir...? I did a search and found random spam sites, > including one in German about some sort of history, but my German's not > good enough to attempt to read it. >
Wofir or the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis (probably better put as the Whorf hypothesis, since Sapir wasn't really involved) basically is "the worldview of a culture is subtly conditioned by the structure of its language." (This according to Language Files, 7th edition, pages 428-30, put out by Ohio State's Dept. of Linguistics). Language Files goes onto say that Benjamin Lee Whorf was not a professional linguist, but rather had studied chemical engineering at MIT, and had become a fire prevention expert for the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. His interest in linguistics apparently came from "problems from interpreting the Bible." Whorf's data came from comparing Hopi (and perhaps other Pueblo Indian languages) and the "Standard Average European worldview." The validity of this Hypothesis is still in question, and IMO I would guess that Whorf-Sapir would be difficult to either prove or disprove. Hope this helps, Doug