Monday, July 1, 2013

How does language affect thought?

          One belief that has become discarded by mainstream psychologist is that language not only influences thought but that it also determines thought, and that thought cannot exist without language, which is the is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or the Whorfian hypothesis. Willingham (2007), "the strongest version of the Whorfian hypothesis is that thought is so intimately tied to language that thoughts generated in one language may be impossible to express in another language" (p. 434). The weak version of the Whorfian hypothesis states that every language favors some thought processes over others (Willingham, 2007). How language affects or influences thought is one of the oldest questions in the study of language. Language affects or influences thought because of how and what an individual thinks affects what he or she says and what an individual says affects how he or she thinks. 

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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