Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
(3,051 words)

1. History and Controversy

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis refers to the claim that features of one’s language affect one’s thoughts (linguistic determinism), so that different languages foster different conceptual systems (linguistic relativity). This lemma reviews experimental tests of this hypothesis in Chinese.

The hypothesis is so named because of notions expressed in Sapir (1929) and Whorf (1939) (cf. Hill and Mannheim 1992). In its…

Cite this page
James MYERS, “Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 25 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_000092>
First published online: 2015

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