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-l^^adverb, ~2=verb, ~3=adjective, ~4=pronoun, ~5=position, ~6=lodio.

~7-known, ~8=past-time-tense, ~9=future-time-tense, ~0=conjunction




The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Benjamin Lee Whorf was by trade a fire prevention engineer for the Hartford Fire
Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut. His service m this capacity began in 1919
to aid in fire prevention inspection of properties insured by the Hartford Insurance




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Company. In 1928 Whorf was appointed Special Agent by the company. In 1940 he was
elected Assistant Secretary of his company. His promotions and elections are a testimony
to the value his company placed in his work. Interestingly, his technical skill as a fire
prevention engineer was not to be his greatest societal contribution. His greatest societal
contribution was in the field of linguistics with the establishment ofthe Sapir-Whorf
This hypothesis by Whorf was bom out of what he believed to be, ".. .the
apparent discrepancy between the Biblical and the scientific accounts of cosmogony and
evolution [which] might lie in a penetrating linguistic exegesis ofthe Old Testament"
(Carroll, 1956 p. 7). While it seems clear that his linguistic pursuits were founded in
religion, they were to spill over in to his professional life as a fire prevention engineer.
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis was a result of his working knowledge of linguistics and his
on the job inspection of accidental fires of insurance-policy holders. It was in this
capacity as a self taught linguist that Benjamin Lee Whorf establishgd him self as a

prominent figure in the field of linguistics with his theory called the Sapk-Whorf
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is what Whorf called the principal of linguistic
relativity, which states, ".. .that the structure of a human being's language influences the
manner in which he understands reality and behaves with respect to it" (Carroll, 1956
p.23). To be more specific, Whorf s hypothesis claims that it is the totality of linguistic
grammar that influences the manner in which an individual understands reality and
ultimately responds, or behaves as a reflection ofthe individual's understanding of reality
as influenced by their language.
The goal of this paper is to scientifically evaluate the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
with an increased degree of understanding ofthe structure, or linguistic grammar inherent
in the language of an individual. In other words, the conventional methods ernployed in
evaluating the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis are flawed. These flaws that opcur in evaluation
(supporting evidence and refuting evidence) are a direct result of the faulty use of
linguistic grammar, which is precisely what Benjamin Whorf s "objective" hypothesis
attempts to address. Moreover, there is an ongoing debate as to whether Whorf s
hypothesis is a theory of linguistic determinism or a theory of Imguistic relativity. The
current school of academia believes that there is a fmite difference between relativity and
determinism. In other words, it is clear that there are academic scholars who are in
support of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and there are academics who oppose the SapirWhorf hypothesis. Moreover, I will parallel this writing in the truth to articulate and
evidence the fact o f my position.

The Sapk-Whorf hypothesis or, "principal of linguistic relativity", is not a theory

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of linguistic relativism. Whorf was actually a proponent of linguistic determinism not
linguistic relativism, although it is easy to see where the confusion lies. For example, the
"principal of linguistic relativity" explanation by Carroll is the focal point ofthe
confusion. Carroll uses the word "relativity" when explaining Whorf s theory of
linguistic determinism. To complicate matters even more, relativity is defined as, "A


state of dependence in which the existence or significance of one entity is solely

_ .


dependent on that of another" and determinism is defined as, "The philosophical doctrine
that every event, act, and decision is the mevitable consequence of antecedents that are
independent of the human w i l l " (The American Heritage College Dictionary, 2000). In
attempts to clarify and avoid this peculiar wording by Carroll and the discrepancy
between the dictionary defmitions of "relativism and determinism", one should keep in
mind that Linguistic determinism is the school of thought which can be viewed as that
particular ideology which claims that linguistic grammar is the formative factor of an
individual's reality and behavior with respect to the grammar in which the speakers are
unable to perceive the world in ways other than their language organizes the world.
Linguistic relativism, on the other hand, is the school of thought that allows fbrthe
possibility of an individual to view the world m ways other than their language organizes
the word. Put simply, the difference between linguistic dgterminism and linguistic
relativism can best be described as a continuum with "linguistic relativism" being at one
end postulating a weaker relationship between language and thought whereas; "linguistic
determinism" postulates a stronger relationship between language and thought. For the
purpose of clarity, I stand by the fundamental assertion that the linguistic grammar of an

individual's language mfluences the individual's perception of the world as well as how
the individual behaves with respect to their perception, which is in fact linguistic
In a particular writing: Language Diversity and Thought, by John A. Lucy,
"Whorf s principal claim was that speakers can readily reflect on lexical meanings, but
terid to be completely oblivious to the patterned grammatical meanings which ultimately
govern a lexical item" (Lucy, 1992 p. 38). Clarification of this statement is served best
by detailing one of Whorf s on-the-job investigations. During one of Whorf s fire
investigations, in which a fire had been stated by an employee, Whorf was investigating
the events that led to the fire. The fire under investigation had been started by the
careless behavior of cigarette smoking in close proximity to gasoline drums marked
"empty gasoline drums".
In this particular fire investigation, Whorf believed that the confounding factor



was the individual's perception ofthe words (lexical meanmg) "empty gasoline drums"




which by Whorf s linguistic determinism perspective, influencing the perception ofthe

individual through language ultimately lead to the^re. In other words, the inherent
linguistic grammar of "empty gasolme drums" played a role in the perception and
subsequent behavior of an individual with respect to the language.
i t
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i.'i f
In this "empty gasoline drums" explanation of the causal factors leading to the

fire, Whorf states further, "Yet the 'empty' drums are perhaps the more dangerous, since
they contain explosive vapor. Physically the situation is hazardous, but the linguistic
analysis according to regular analogy must employ the word 'empty', which is used m
two linguistic patterns: (1) as a virtual synonym for 'null and void, negative, inert,' (2)

applied in the analysis of physical situations without regard to, e.g., vapor, liquid
vestiges, or stray rubbish in the container. The situation is named in one pattern (2) and
is then 'acted out' or 'lived up to' in another (1), this being a general formula for the
linguistic conditioning of behavior into hazardous forms." (Whorf 1956, as cited in
Carroll 1956 p. 135). Whorf appears to be addressmg lexical meaning and the
conditioned behavioral manifestations of an individual with respect to the language.
Whorf attempts to illustrate further that the impetus for the start of this fire lies within the
meariing of the word 'empty'. However, Whorf s definition of'empty' (lexical meaning)
as synonymous with 'null and void, negative and inert' isjerroneous for several reasons.
Allow me to explain, 'empty' is one word, where as, contrastively, 'null and void' are
two words. Furthermore, each of these words is laden with their own defmitions, or
meanings pertaining to the environment in which they exist. 'Null' means lack of
consequence. This notion of'consequence' is of particular importance in both, Whorf s
fire investigation and reality as a whole. My point is, regardless of whether the gasolme
drums were empty or not, they do in fact pose a consequence by the fact that they exist.
Furthermore, it is an assumption that the word 'consequence' is equivalent to anything
4 ^

other than an effect. As for the word 'void', 'void' means containing no matter (solid,
liquid or gas). Furthermore, gasoline (the liquid) is not flammable; rather it is the vapor
ofthe gasoline that is flammable. One cannot start an engine with the combination of a
spark and a flooded engine. A 'flooded engine' has plenty of gasoline, but no gasoline





vapors. Moreover, Whorf s use ofthe words 'null' and 'void' caimot possibly be applied
as these words are nouns and the word 'empty' in 'empty gasoline drums' is an adjective.


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As stated previously, 1 believe Whorf s idea of lexical meaning and the conditioned

behavioral manifestations of an individual are clear, but he fails to effectively address

these lexical meanings by using words that do not apply.
At this point, it is important to note that the following discussion on 'patterned
grammatical meaning' and lexical item' are interconnected. Due to this fact, there is
going to be a degree of repetitiveness. However, this repetition caimot be avoided as
'lexical item' and 'patterned grammatical meaning" must be specifically addressed in
order top^roperly articulate both the distinctions and interconnectedness between 'lexical
item' and 'patterned grammatical meaning'. Moreover, the grammatical correction that
is applied to the 'lexical item' is the same pattern of grammatical correction that is
applied to the 'patterned grammatical meaning', which may seem redundant. However it
serves to clarify the interdependence of both the 'patterned grammatical meaning' and the
'lexical item'.
There is an additional point that has been addressed but not specifically. I am
alluding to Lucy's interpretation of Whorf s theory".. .speakers are.. .oblivious to the
patterned grammatical meanings which ultimately govern the lexical item" (Lucy, 1992
p. 8). What is Lucy's meaning of 'patterned grammatical meanmg'? Lexical meaning
or, word meaning is derived by the 'patterned grammatical meaning' or, grammatical
structure (word order) of a given phrase or sentence for the particular meaning of a word
in the phrase or sentence. To reiterate, it is in fact, the patterned grammatical meaning
that determines the lexical item. Whorf should have specifically addressed this particular
in regards to the "empty gasoline drums" scenario.
Whorf clearly states, "That the situation is named..." (Whorf 1956, as cited in
Carroll p. 135). So, what is the patterned grammatical meaning which governs the lexical

meaning of the word 'empty' in the 'empty gasoline drums'? Is 'empty' an adjective and
'gasoline drums' a noun, or is 'empty' an adjective and 'gasoline' an adjective and
'drums' a noun, which by modification of the adjective 'gasoline', 'drums' become a
pronoun; or is the entire phrase a compound noun (i.e., 'empty-gasoline-drums')? I f it is
indeed the case that Whorf is viewing the words 'empty gasoline drums' as nouns, then
there is an additional fmal error. 'Empty-gasoline-drums' is not correct either as 'emptygasoline-drums' is a compound-pronoun due to the lack ofthejjlacemfint of apreposition
and article in front of the word (: compound-noun: empty-gasoline-drums). As one can
see, the patterned grammatical meaning for the word 'empty' inthis^case is difficult to
ascertain. How does one interpret the word 'empty' in 'empty gasoline drums'? It can't
be correctly assessed due to the fact that this phrase, 'empty gasoline drums' lacks
formation for the correct-function of the words in the language for the cornmiinication of




h y "Ne -

As stated before, Whorf understood the importance of patterned grammatical

meaning and even drew a sound conclusion for the cause of this particular error,
"...people see language as a vehicle for expressing thought.. .they see language as
functional, and regard its form as irrelevant" (Whorf 1956a p. 207, as cited by Lucy,
1992 p.37). Furthermore, the aforementioned correct sequencing or, patterned
grammatical meanings for the determination of the meaning of'empty gasoline drums'
exemplifies the fact that people see language as functional and the form irrelevant which
is not the case. Moreover, a language that lacks form or, structure cannot serve its
function as a vehicle or, vessel for the conveyance ofjjanguage due to the fact that it is"
formless. However, in this particular case (erroneously), WTiorf believes that the word

'empty' is a noun and can therefore be assigned lexical meaning, it is within the context
of word meaning that the individual derives the meaning of a given language. One can
see that tlie word 'empty' as well as the phrase 'empty gasoline drums' have lost
functionality by virtue of their indefmable pattern of grammatical meaning.
In Lucy's interpretation of Whorf s theory, "...speakers are... oblivious to the
patterned grammatical meanings which ultimately govern the lexical item" (Whorf,
1956a p. 207 as cited by Lucy, 1992 p. 37). What is the syntactical category of the word
'empty' in the 'empty gasoline drums'? As previously mentioned, is 'empty' an
adjective and "gasoline drums' apoun, or is 'empty' an adjective and 'gasoline' an
adjective and 'drums' a n9im, or is the entire phrase a compound noun (i.e., 'emptygasoline-drums')? As oii'e can see, the lexical item 'empty' in this case is difficult to
ascertain. Furthermore, as previously stated, even i f one can come to the agreement that
the words 'empty gasoline drums' is in fact a compound noun they would still be in error
due to the lack ofthe^acement ofthe prepositjon and article before the 'empty-gasolinedrums'. How does one interpret 'empty gasoline drums'? What is the assignment of the

lexical item 'empty'? As shown in the aforementioned example of lexical item
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determination as it pertams to 'patterned grammatical meaning', Whorf clearly had

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difficulty assessing the lexical meaning of 'empty' even thoiigh is evident he understood
the importance of patterned grammatical meaning as associated with lexical meaning, but
nonetheless, he was unable to articulate his position skillfully. 'Empty gasoline drums'
exemplifies Whorf s belief of, "...people see language as_.a3^ej>jcle for expressing
thought...they see language as functional, and regard its form as urelevanf (Whorf
1956a p. 207, as cited by Lucy, 1992 p.37). Furthermore, the aforementioned questions

regarding the lexical category of 'empty' in tliephrase "empty gasoline drums" shows
that these words have lost functionality by virtue of their indefmable lexical categories.
Just as injhe case of'patterned grammatical meaning', 'lexical meaning' must be
assigned. Without lexical assignment the language lacks form. As previously stated, a
language that lacks form cannot serve its function as a vehicle for the conveyance of a
language (it is formless). However, in this particular case, Whorf believes that the word
"empty" is a noun and can then therefore be semantically assigned.
One may ask, "Why does the author ofthis paper think that Whorf believes the
word 'empty is a ^oun?" The entire 'empty gasoline drums' incident was the result of
one principal error: The fire was a result of an individual's misinterpretation of the
condition of the state of the gasoline containers. In other words, the individual assumed^
empty as the condition ofthe state of the containers. As a dkect result of assummg the
word 'empty' was a claim for the condition^fthe state .ofthe containers or, gasoline
drums. The smoker ofthe cigarette believed that the situation was non-hazardous.
Whorf makes the same assertion when he compares 'empty' with 'null and void' which
are both conditions of the state of the containers ('gasoline drums').
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5" i.
Whorf attempts to illustrate further that the impetus for the start of this fire lies

withm the meaning ofthe word "enipty". (Lucy, 1992 p. 38). In the 'empty gasoline
drums' incident, Whorf does outline two critical points that support his position for
linguistic determinism. The first point he makes regarding "empty gasoline drums" is,
"Physically the situation is hazardous..." (Carroll, 1956 p. 135). He is absolutely correct,


but more important]y it is the linguistical assignment (second point) ofthejMird 'empty'

to the physically hazardous situation that is the "...general formula for the linguistic
conditioning of behavior into hazardous forms" (Carroll, 1956 p. 135).
In analyzing both opinions with respect to Whorf s writings in "Language,
Thought and Reality" in conjunction with Lucy's "Language, Diversity and Thought", I
am left with the notion that neither Lucy nor Carroll were staunch proponents of
linguistic determinism. However, it is important to note that neither Lucy nor Carrol
were proponents of linguistic relativism (the weaker of the two ideologies with respect to
a "continuum").

In regards to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Lucy' s statement of,

"Whether or not patterns of habitual thought can or should be summed up into an overall
notion of worldview is a difficult problem.. .the critical question is whether there is or can
be solid empirical evidence linking distinctive language patterns to distinctive habitual
behavior or belief at the level of the aggregable individual social factors" is testimony to
the fact that Lucy neither dismisses nor embraces Whorf s hypothesis (Lucy, 1992 p. 7).
Moreover, Lucy is in search of empirical evidence to either prove or disprove Whorf s
hypothesis. Carroll echoes a similar position of 'not for or against' with his simple yet
equally piercing words, "In truth, the validity of the linguistic relativity principal
(linguistic determinism perspective) has thus far not been sufficiently demonstrated;
neither has it been flatly refuted" (as cited by Carroll, 1956 p. 27, in Whorf, 1956).
While it is clear that the aforementioned authors are neither for nor against
Whorf s hypothesis, there is a particular study that leans toward the position of linguistic
relativism (weaker position ofthe two ideologies along the continuum). I ' m alluding to a
study by Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips in which they studied the masculine and
feminine assignment of gender to the article or determiner in languages such as Spanish

and German. Boroditsky, Schmidt and PhilUps point out that these particular languages
assign masculine and feminine to both animate and inanimate objects. In regards to the
masculine and feminine assignment in these languages, the question is: Do the users these
languages specific to the gender assignment of the determiner, perceptually apply gender,
masculine or feminine to inanimate objects? In other words, do these users of these
particular languages view or perceive non-gender inanimate objects as male or female?
Studies by Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips attempted to answer these questions.
In the journal article, "Sex, Syntax and Semantics", Boroditsky, Schmidt and
Phillips addressed the question as to whether conceptual gender was consistent with
grammatical gender assignment by the language. In their view, ".. .that thought and
action are entirely determmed by language has long been abandoned in cognitive
science. However, defmitively answering less deterministic versions of the 'Does
language shape thought?' question has proven very difficult (Boroditsky, Schmidt and
Phillips 2002). In a 2002 study by Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips designed an
experiment in which they attempted to ascertam whether grammatical gender assignment
of a given word and the subsequent object description of the given word would be a
reflection of the grammatical gender assigned to the particular word in the study. The
two languages in this particular experiment were German and Spanish, both of which are
languages that employ masculine or feminine assignment of words.
In this particular experiment, Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips compiled an
inventory of twenty-four object names for each language. In each inventory, half or the
words were masculine while the other half were feminine for each particular language.
Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips then requested a group of native German speakers and a

group of native Spanish speakers to write down the first three adjectives that entered their
minds with respect to each word on the Hst. Even though the inventories were split into
half masculine and half feminine words with respect to each language, the study was
conducted in English and each participant of the study was adept at speaking English.
However, none of the participants were aware ofthe rationale of the study which was to
determine, "...whether the grammatical gender of object names in Spanish and German
would be reflected in the kinds of adjectives that Spanish and German speakers
generated" (Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002 p. 69).
A l l of the descriptive adjectives generated by the native Spanish and German
speakers where then sequenced in alphabetical order and assigned gender description (+1
= feminine, -1 = masculine) by a group of English speakers who were also unaware ofthe
rationale of the study. Furthermore, the English speakers who assigned the gender
description feminine or masculine (+1 and -1 respectively) were not aware ofthe native
languages of the participants in the study. (Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002).
"As predicted, Spanish and German speakers generated adjectives that were rated
more masculine for items whose names were grammatically masculine in their native
language then for items whose names were grammatically feminine" (Boroditsky,
Schmidt and Phillips 2002). To be more specific, an object word such as "key" is
grammatically masculine in German; whereas in Spanish the object word is feminine.
Moreover, with respect to the object word "key" Spanish speaking participants generated
adjectival word descriptions such as, ''''golden, intricate, little, lovely, shiny and tiny
(Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002). In contrast, German speakers generated
adjectival word descriptions such as, "'hard, heavy, jagged, metal, serrated, and usefur

(Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002). To further illustrate this apparent grammatical
gender influence, Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips examined the word "bridge". The
underling importance of this particular object word is the fact that word "bridge"
functions as the polar opposite of the word "key" with respect to grammatical gender
assignment in German and Spanish. The adjectival word descriptions ofthe word "key"
by the native German speakers included such adjectives as, ''beautiful, elegant, fragile,
peaceful, pretty, and slender" (Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002). Contrastively,
the adjectival word descriptions ofthe word "key" by the native Spanish speakers
included such adjectives as, ""big, dangerous, long, strong, sturdy, and towering"
(Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002).
The findings by Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips' 2002 experiment successfully
target it's goal to determine whether gender assignment of inanimate object names by
speakers of a language that assigns grammatical gender does in fact, "indicate that
people's thinking about objects is influenced by the grammatical gender their native
language assigns to the object names" (Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002) as
exemplified by the use of German and Spanish in this particular experiment. It is
important to reiterate that Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips are proponents of linguistic
relativism not linguistic determinism.
It is important to note that the same grammatical format correction that was
applied to the words 'empty gasoline drums' as exemplified by Whorf, Lucy and Carroll
can be applied. For example, when applying the adjective 'slender' to the object name
'key' the resulting combination is ' slender key'. It is aheady understood that 'slender' is
the adjective, but it is not specifically understood how the word 'key' functions.

Moreover, an adjective is an opinion not a statement of a fact for tlie condition of tlie
state of the 'key'. Additionally, an adjective in front of the object word 'key' creates the
word 'key' as a pronoun. This is caused by the modification of the adjective against the
noun 'key'; modification is change and change is motion and motion is verb. In other
words suppose we hand over the 'slender key' to a one hundred foot tall man
(proportionate in every respect to a any other man, except for height), the 'slender key'
would more than likely lose the adjectival assignment of 'slender key' to 'minute key'
which is still of course an opinion. This can be applied to every adjectival description of
the object name in the Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips 2002 study. However, there is a
particular matter of importance I wish to address here. It is known that in this study, the
group that rated the adjectives as masculine or feminine (+1 = feminine and -1 masculine
respectively) spoke English only. This doesn't account for their rating adjectives as
masculine or feminine. English does not assign grammatical gender. How is it then
reasonable to assume that the English speakers can authoritatively assign masculine or
feminine to the adjectives? I am aware that in regular usage we as English speakers say
"beautifiil woman"; however we are just as likely to say "beautifiil mind" or, "beautifiil
day" even, "beautiful shot" when hunting. Moreover, we as English speakers regularly
say such things as "dangerous man" or "dangerous woman" even, "dangerous curve
ahead". My point is, where did these English speakers learn to assign gender to
adjectives; it's not an inherent characteristic of their native language. I can see why these
particular experimenters lean toward linguistic relativity (the weaker position of the two
perspectives along the continuum). It could be argued (not to the degree of certainty) that
the adjectival description given by the native German and Spanish speakers when

interpreted by the English speakers, primed the English speakers toward a rating specific
to gender. However, I would argue against this notion for one primary reason. Although
the English speakers were unaware of both the native language of the participants in the
study and the particular rationale of the study, it is a mistake to assume that they weren't
specifically instructed by the experimenters to assign masculme and feminine to the
adjectives. This would account for the English speaker's ability to assign gender to the
otherwise genderless grammatical structure of the English language. This experiment by
Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips is flawed m two fiindamental aspects. The first of
which is the language format specific to the adjective, which is an opinion. The second
fiindamental flaw is what can be called experimenter bias. This experiment can not have
been conducted without the bias of the experimenters. They may not have given the
English speakers the exact rationale of the experiment, but they did instruct them to
assign a gender rating to the adjectives generated by the native German and Spanish
speakers. Moreover, this particular study actually leans toward linguistic determmism.
Allow me to explam, imagme for a moment that the native Spanish and German speakers
didn't have gender assignment in their languages. Their perception would go unaltered
with respect to grammatical gender distinctions as evidence by the engendered adjectival
object descripfions. They would articulate adjectival usage the same way that any other
language that lacks grammatical gender distinctions with respect to adjectival
descriptions; in other words, genderless. However, due to the grammatical gender
distinctions within languages such a German and Spanish, speakers of these languages
are as determined by the grammatical distinctions of their language are indeed instructed
by their languages to assign gender. This is akin to the experimental bias of grammatical

gender assignment of adjectival object descriptions by the English speaking participants

who assigned gender to the adjectives as instructed by the experimenters. The only
difference between the two with respect to formative factor was the locus of instruction.
One formative factor exists within the language (grammatical gender distinction) and the
other formative factor exists extrinsic to the language (experimenter bias).
In conclusion, Whorf s objective opinion of linguistic determinism has occupied
the minds of many. There are those such as Lucy and Carroll who have dedicated a vast
and virtually immeasurable amounts of time attempting to prove or disprove Whorf s
theory. Some people flatly refuse linguistic determinism at the same time embracing
linguistic relativity (the weaker of the two along the continuum). This would include,
Boroditsky, Schmidt and Phillips as the proponents of linguistic relativism. However, it
is of extreme importance to understand that Whorf, Lucy, Carroll, Boroditsky, Schmidt
and Phillips are all relying upon a language format that lacks form and function for the
statement of a fact. They rely upon a grammatical structure that is faulty which
confounds any attempt to document fmdings. More importantly, these errors are due to
one simple yet, unavoidable fact: Linguistic-Determinism. Each of these individuals has
been guided by the very force they set out to study. The only individual who has shovm
true power of mind was Benjamin Lee Whorf with his objective opmion of the linguistic
determinism perspective. Whorf s job as a fire prevention engineer, in my opinion set the
stage for his tireless search for the proof to support his linguistic determinism
perspective. He was in the unique position of attempting to explain the performances of
an individual that led to damage. Furthermore, he was able to make the cormection
between language ('empty gasoline drums'), thought and behavior of an individual with

respect to the language. More importantly, Whorf attempts to answer a universal

question in the minds of all man: What is is? Unaware of the might of linguistic
detemiinism Whorf and others have been swept into the current of an indefmable
grammar that mirrors nothing more than mfmite chaos of a formless, factless void to
which anything is possible except for the facts.

:Monte-Edwin r M u e l l e r IS WITH THIS COPYCLAIM/COPYRIGHT~9-MAY~2005 BY

THE David-Wynn : M i l l e r ,


Works Cited:
Boroditsky, et al. 2003. Sex, Syntax and Semantics. In Center, D, and S. GoldinMedows (Eds.), Language and Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Lucy, John A. 1992. Language, Diversity and Thought. Cambridge University Press
:APRIL~2005 BY THE JUDGE :David-Wynn : M i l l e r :LANGUAGE AND

Whorf, B . L . 1956. Language, Thought, and Reahty. Carroll, J.B. (Ed.). Cambridge
MA: MIT Press.