Linguistic Differences

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  • The concept that differences in the way a language is grammatically structured affect the way a culture based on that language will organize itself. The concept, which has both strong and weak versions, states that the very thoughts that are possible within the culture are constrained or made likely by the language. Differences in behavior in each culture are the result of these language and thought differences. The basis of this concept is the work of Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Whorf early in the 20th century. Synthesized as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis by other linguists, the idea that language helps organize reality rather than merely being a tool for communicating a reality that already exists was an important break from previous models of language. ...

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