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Linguistic relativism

In the world, there are more than 5 000 languages. They are different according to the lexicon, the sound and graphic forms, the syntax or the morphology. Even if the languages are different, they are translatable with each other. In spite of their differences, they have a certain homology. Thus, the problem that arises is to realize the differences and similarities between languages, including linguistic relativism. To learn more about this theory, read this article.

The idea of linguistic relativism by Sapir and Whorf

The two authors of the early 20th century, Sapir and Whorf, worked on linguistic relativism. Both of them put forward the idea that the languages we use have an influence on our vision of the world. For them, two individuals, who speak different languages, would not have the same reaction, if they are confronted with the same situation.
The two authors therefore admit that language determines thought. In the same way, they also argue that the development of language influences the development of thought. To confirm this theory, Sapir says: “The instrument makes the product possible, the product refines the instrument”.

Criticism of the idea of linguistic relativism by Sapir and Whorf

The idea of linguistic relativism put forward by Sapir and Whorf has received much criticism. According to scientists, language is an innate biological function. This does not mean that if an individual does not have the words to describe a situation, he or she is not capable of thinking about it.
On the other hand, there are two anthropologists, Brent Berlin and Paul Kay, who also do not validate the theory of linguistic relativism by Sapir and Whorf. Brent Berlin and Paul Kay have studied color categories.
They put forward the theory of linguistic relativism of the color spectrum. For them, this theory has nothing to do with the structure of language, but rather with the physiology of the human retina.

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