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

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MIT Press, Jul 20, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 448 pages
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Writings by a pioneering linguist, including his famous work on the Hopi language, general reflections on language and meaning, and the "Yale Report."

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 Planck Institute 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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User Review  - MarthaJeanne - LibraryThing

I was reading this in German and did not finish. Certainly this is a book that probably shouldn't be translated, but would need to be totally rewritten for the new language. The fact that it was even ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 On the Connection of Ideas
45
2 On Psychology
51
3 A Central Mexican Inscription Combining Mexican and Maya Day Signs
55
4 The Punctual and Segmentative Aspects of Verbs in Hopi
65
5 An American Indian Model of the Universe
73
6 A Linguistic Consideration of Thinking in Primitive Communities
83
7 Grammatical Categories
113
12 Gestalt Technique of Stem Composition in Shawnee
205
13 Decipherment of the Linguistic Portion of the Maya Hieroglyphs
221
14 Linguistic Factors in the Terminology of Hopi Architecture
255
15 Science and Linguistics
265
16 Linguistics as an Exact Science
281
17 Languages and Logic
299
18 Language Mind and Reality
315
The Yale Report
345

8 Discussion of Hopi Linguistics
131
9 Some Verbal Categories of Hopi
143
Plan and Conception of Arrangement
159
11 The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language
173

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About the author (2012)

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 Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands.

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