Language Impacts Thought

Example of how language biases the way we think in science.

Folksonomies: science language example

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The controversial Sapir-Whorf hypothesis^ states that there is a direct relationship between the categories that are available in a language and the way the speakers of that language think and act. While if it were true that Ianguage completely determined thought, people would never have any thoughts that they could not express (and we know that's not true), there have nevertheless been some suggestive experiments in this area. For exampie, it was recently shown that one Amazonian tribe without words for num¬ bers greater than two cannot count reliably higher than two or three.5 Skeptics have pointed out that causation may run the other way: the tribe never developed words for numbers because they never needed to develop the concepts.6


The idea that restrictions in language restrict our ability to think.

Folksonomies: language hypothesis


Example of How Language Affects Thought

Another way of describing the revolution in physics is to say that the key moves and acts, physicists do not care; 'matter' to them means 'to matter'. moves and acts, physicists do not care; 'matter' to them means 'to matter', to make a difference. But our language is still geared to express 'states of being', rather than processes. In this connection, also, the German language helps to explain German philosophy. The Germans have been especially prone to hypostatize their abstractions, identify the Rational and the Real, invent concepts comparable to Frankfurterness and Sauerkrautitude—for they capitalize all their nouns. And this may help to explain their present worship of the State.


Our language is focused on describing states of being rather than processes.

Folksonomies: language process