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Sapir–Whorf hypothesis

A linguistic theory

Not a Star Trek theory :: 2021-03-03

The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, coined after the works of Edward Sapir or Benjamin Lee Whorf, implies that a language influences its speaker's perception of the world. It is however a misnomer, since Sapir and Whorf never worked together, and because the idea actually comes from 19th-century German humanistic thinking.

This theory is also known as linguistic relativity, and often refers to linguistic determinism: the strong hypothesis saying that language shapes thought processes. The weak hypothesis is more commonly accepted by modern linguists, and states that language only influences thought.

Several conlangs were created to explore the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.