sapir-whorf hypothesis

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There is the sense that the speaker’s development of language determines the way they experience the world and that there are connections to the individual’s identity that foundationally links it to the speaker — anthropologist Michael Agar compares it to a prison. An example of this version occurs in the text when the author discusses his difficulty learning the Czech time system, as it differed from English in the way parts of the hour were described: in Czech, 9:45 is described as three-quarters of 10:00.

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He surmises that the Czech people might be more future oriented, indicating an deep, cognitive connection between linguistic culture and the Czech experience of the unfolding world. The ‘weak’ version of the hypothesis offers a less strict connection between the individual and their use of language, but retains the direct connection between the user’s cognitive interpretation of the world and their specific language. The ‘weak’ version is demonstrated in the deictic discussions of the Guugu-Yimidhirr language in northeastern Australia.

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