Interpretation of Whorf from Different Perspectives

Yanlong Wang


The paper interprets Whorf’s notion by turning to his original writings.  Specifically, the paper makes a detailed analysis of Whorf’s notion from anthropological linguistics, which largely deals with his famous distinction between overt category and covert category and his detailed description of the American Indian language Hopi; contrastive linguistics, which implies Whorf’s research pedagogy by which the major differences between Hopi and English were found; and psycholinguistics which shows that Whorf would like to explore the deeper internalized meaning of language so as to uncover the true nature of language in the process of thinking.   Therefore, the writer aims to have access to Whorf by rereading his original works and demonstrates what he has actually done in relation with those disciplines mentioned above.

Keywords: Whorf, anthropological linguistics, contrastive linguistics, psycholinguistics

Full Text:



Carroll, D. W. (2008). Psychology of language. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Carroll, J. B. (Ed.). (1956). Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.

Chomsky, N.(2012). The Minimalist Program. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press; The MIT Press.

Foley, W. A. (2001). Anthropological linguistics: An introduction. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

House, J. (2000). Linguistic relativity and translation. In M. Putz & M. H. Verspoor (Eds.), Explorations in linguistic relativity (PP. 69-88). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Lee, P. (1996). The Whorf theory complex. Amsterdam and Philedelaphia: John Benjamins.

Lee, P. (2000). When is ‘linguistic relativity’ Whorf’s linguistic relativity? In M. Putz & M. H. Verspoor (Eds.), Explorations in linguistic relativity (PP. 45-68). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Liu, R. Q. & Feng, Z. X. (2002). The theories and schools of linguistics. Nanjing: Nanjing Normal University Press.

Sapir, E. (1921). Language: An introduction to the study of speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace

Sapir, E. (1964). Conceptual categories in primitive languages. In Hymes, D.(ed), p.128

Wardhaugh, R. (2000). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Pan,W. G & Tan, H. M.(潘文国, 谭慧敏),2005,《对比语言学:历史与哲学思考》,上海:上海教育出版社。

Shen, X.L. (申小龙), 2008,《汉语与中国文化》,上海:复旦大学出版社.

Yao, X.P.(姚小平), 2002,人类语言家沃尔夫的遗产—读《论语言、思维和现实》,《外语教学与研究》(1):75-77.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.