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Humboldt, Worldview and Language$
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James Underhill

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638420

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638420.001.0001

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(p.25) Chapter 5 Sapir
Humboldt, Worldview and Language

W. Underhill James

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter is crucial in that it reappraises the contribution of Edward Sapir, who is invariably passed over by scholars who refer to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. It stresses the richness of his understanding of language and the empirical foundations of Sapir's belief that language is the guide to ‘social reality.’ It considers Sapir's contention that thought is not translated into speech, but is rather the highest latent or potential content of speech. This chapter finally makes explicit what Sapir had in mind when he claimed that ‘Culture may be defined as what a society does and thinks. Language is a particular how of thought.’

Keywords:   Amerindian languages, Culture, Lucy, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Social Reality

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