Unit 2, Post 2 9/29/19

Option 3: The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that the native language and/or primary language of a speaker influences the way that the speaker thinks. This includes the way that they process sensory input, the ways that they reason, and what they have the ability to think about. A simple example of the way that this hypothesis might work can be found in the Yupik language. The Yupik language of the indigenous Alaskan people has between 40 and 50 words for snow. This allows for these people to process and see snow in a more complex way than speakers of other languages. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has come up in class twice in the past week; first with the movie Arrival. The aliens arrive on Earth with the purpose of helping humanity by giving them their language. Their language is nonlinear; sentences have no beginning or end, and all characters are based upon the unending shape of a circle. Becoming fluent in it makes thought nonlinear, and actually gives organisms control over time. This example is, admittedly, from a fictional movie, but it is an extreme demonstration of how the hypothesis might work. Another example can be found in one of the readings for Tuesday, Borges’s “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”. The society Tlön has no science, only psychology and philosophy, and this is due in large part to their language. They don’t have nouns, only modified verbs and adjectives, and this influences their reliance on self.

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