Guy Deutscher responds

September 19, 2010 3 Comments Leila In the news, Linguistic Relativity, Uncategorized

Kathryn Woolard, SLA President In response to my original posting on this website, I received the following email message a few days ago from the author of the NYT article, Guy Deutscher, who was concerned that he inadvertently offended linguistic anthropologists. Because Dr. Deutscher asked me to share his message with anyone who might have been offended, I’m posting it here: Dear Prof. Woolard, Yesterday I was sent a link to your blog on the Linguistic Anthropology list, and I was saddened to see that my NYT article has caused offence to linguistic anthropologists. I had no intention whatsoever of

Linguistic Relativity, Whorf, Linguistic Anthropology

Kathryn Woolard, SLA President The question of linguistic relativity is the topic of an August 29, 2010 New York Times magazine article, “You Are What You Speak”   Many linguistic anthropologists were surprised by the article’s representation of Benjamin Lee Whorf’s ideas and by the scant reference to the longstanding tradition of research in linguistic anthropology. Most often known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or the theory of linguistic relativity, the notion that the diversity of linguistic structures affects how people perceive and think about the world has been a canonical topic of American linguistic anthropology. This discipline’s exploration of the