Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf

Overview

The pioneering linguist Benjamin Whorf (1897—1941) grasped the relationship between human language and human thinking: how language can shape our innermost thoughts. His basic thesis is that our perception of the world and our ways of thinking about it are deeply influenced by the structure of the languages we speak. The writings collected in this volume include important papers on the Maya, Hopi, and Shawnee languages, as well as more general reflections on language and meaning. Whorf's ideas about the relation ...

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Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf

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Overview

The pioneering linguist Benjamin Whorf (1897—1941) grasped the relationship between human language and human thinking: how language can shape our innermost thoughts. His basic thesis is that our perception of the world and our ways of thinking about it are deeply influenced by the structure of the languages we speak. The writings collected in this volume include important papers on the Maya, Hopi, and Shawnee languages, as well as more general reflections on language and meaning. Whorf's ideas about the relation of language and thought have always appealed to a wide audience, but their reception in expert circles has alternated between dismissal and applause.

Recently the language sciences have headed in directions that give Whorf's thinking a renewed relevance. Hence this new edition of Whorf's classic work is especially timely.

The second edition includes all the writings from the first edition as well as John Carroll's original introduction, a new foreword by Stephen Levinson of the Max PlanckInstitute for Psycholinguistics that puts Whorf's work in historical and contemporary context, and new indexes. In addition, this edition offers Whorf's "Yale Report," an important work from Whorf's mature oeuvre.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An essay showing why Hopi is superior to English as a scientific language, a criticism of Basic English as Complex English, and an account of the semantics of fire prevention are not only readable but delightful."—The New Yorker
The New Yorker
An essay showing why Hopi is superior to English as a scientific language, a criticism of Basic English as Complex English, and an account of the semantics of fire prevention are not only readable but delightful.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262517751
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Edition description: second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,032,299
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin Lee Whorf, originally trained as a chemical engineer, began his work in linguistics in the 1920s and became well known for his studies of the Hopi language. He studied with the famous linguist Edward Sapir at Yale University, formulating with him the Sapir—Whorf Hypothesis of linguistic relativity.

Stephen C. Levinson is Director of the Language and Cognition Group at the Max PlanckInstitute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands.

Stephen C. Levinson is Director of the Language and Cognition Group at the Max PlanckInstitute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Stuart Chase
Introduction by John B. Carrol
1 On the connection of ideas (1927)
2 On psychology (date unkown)
3 A central Mexican inscription combining Mexican and Maya day signs (1931)
4 The punctual and segmentative aspects of verbs in Hopi (1936)
5 An American Indian model of the universe (circa 1936)
6 A linguistic consideration of thinking in primitive communities (circa 1936)
7 Grammatical categories (1937)
8 Discussion of Hopi linguistics (1937)
9 Some verbal categories of Hopi (1938)
10 Language: plan and conception of arrangement (1938)
11 The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language (1939)
12 Gestalt technique of stem composition in Shawnee (1939)
13 Decipherment of the linguistic portion of the Maya hieroglyphs (1940)
14 Linguistic factors in the terminology of Hopi architecture (1940)
15 Science and linguistics (1940)
16 Linguistics as an exact science (1940)
17 Language and logic (1941)
18 Language, mind, and reality (1941)
Bibliography
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