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  • Titill er á ensku Boroditsky´s Multiple "Ecapsulated Universes": The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (pro and contra)
  • Diplóma bakkalár
  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    The central aim of this study is to establish if there is credibility to Lera Boroditsky’s (2013) claim that we live in multiple “encapsulated universes”. The weak version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is considered with reference to the various conceptualizations of space and time. A key objective is to read a wide range of research from several reliable sources, that provide testimony for the theory of linguistic relativity. A further objective is to examine the inquiry borne out by other scholars who disagree with the theory of linguistic relativity. An ultimate objective is to analyze the contentions on both sides of the debate, drawing conclusions to determine which claims are most convincing. The study is conducted employing secondary research. These sources included journal articles, newspaper articles, interviews, podcasts, presentations and lectures. This type of comparative study is deemed to be the most fitting and likely to yield the best results. Consequently, this study found that there is indeed subtle evidence that exposes language affecting thought in certain ways. For example, Boroditsky & Gaby (2010) found that there is a remote Australian tribe who perceive direction with an alternative approach compared to Western thinking. While Nunez et al. (2012) found that there is a community in Papua New Guinea that does not utilize the linear Western concept of time. Whereas Boroditsky, Fuhrman, & McCormick (2011) established that Mandarin speakers conceptualize time vertically rather than horizontally. However, other scholars, such as Pinker (2007) in The Language Instinct and McWhorter (2014) in The Language Hoax, argue that although it is important to discuss these subtle findings, the structure of language does not give a researcher an insight into how individuals perceive the world in any meaningful way. Finding statistical tendencies is essentially academic while claiming multiple encapsulated universes is unreasonable. Languages vary because of historical happenstance and because of each language’s individual and unlimited creative potential. The reality is there is only one human cognition and how languages vary does not demonstrate anything profound about how cognition varies.

  • 19.5.2020

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