SAPIR WHORF HYPOTHESIS
The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, also known as the linguistic relativityhypothesis, refers to the proposal that the particular language one speaks influences the way one thinks about reality. Linguistic relativity stands in close relation to semiotic-level concerns with the general relation of language and thought, and to discourse-level concerns with how patterns of language use in cultural context can affect thought. Linguistic relativity is distinguished both from simple linguistic diversity and from strict linguistic determinism. The long history of the hypothesis is sketched with an emphasis on the hierarchical formulations characteristic of most early efforts. This is followed by a description of the work of Sapir and Whorf which departs markedly from this earlier tradition and has been influential in the contemporary period, hence the association of their names with the issue. Whorf's basic argument about analogical influences is outlined in some detail. Despite widespread interest, quality empirical research has been in short supply. Recent efforts to remedy this are described. The research is divided into structure-centered, domain-centered, and behavior-centered types, depending on their manner of approaching the problem. The contemporary period has seen a rapid improvement in the quality of some of these efforts. Current trends likely to characterize future research are briefly characterized.