The Whorf Theory Complex

A critical reconstruction

| The University of Western Australia
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027245694 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781556196188 (USA) | USD 180.00
 
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ISBN 9789027245700 (Eur) | EUR 44.00
ISBN 9781556196195 (USA) | USD 66.00
 
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At last — a comprehensive account of the ideas of Benjamin Lee Whorf which not only explains the nature and logic of the linguistic relativity principle but also situates it within a larger ‘theory complex’ delineated in fascinating detail. Whorf’s almost unknown unpublished writings (as well as his published papers) are drawn on to show how twelve elements of theory interweave in a sophisticated account of relations between language, mind, and experience. The role of language in cognition is revealed as a central concern, some of his insights having interesting affinity with modern connectionism. Whorf’s gestaltic ‘isolates’ of experience and meaning, crucial to understanding his reasoning about linguistic relativity, are explained. A little known report written for the Yale anthropology department is used extensively and published for the first time as an appendix. With the Whorf centenary in 1997, this book provides a timely challenge to those who take pleasure in debunking his ideas without bothering to explore their subtlety or even reading them in their original form.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
vii
Preface
xi
Chapter 1. Introduction and Overview
1.1 The Early Work: 1924–1930
1
1.2 1931–1941: The Final Years
9
1.3 Misread, Unread, and Superficially Treated
14
1.4 The Theory Complex: An Overview
23
1.5 Elements of the Complex Summarized
30
Chapter 2. Linguistic Thinking: Points, Pattern, Linkage, and Rapport
2.1 Patternment
34
2.2 Points in the Pattern
42
2.3 Emergent from a Field of Causes
53
2.4 Linguistic Thinking
65
2.5. Form and Substance, Process and Content: Cutting through the Dichotomies to Linguistic Thinking
72
Chapter 3. The Logic and Development of the Linguistic Relativity Principle
3.1 The Linguistic Relativity Principle
84
3.2 Raw Experience
89
3.3 Isolates of Experience: the Nonlinguistic Configuration of Experience
96
3.4 A Canon of Reference, the Same for all Observers
109
3.5 The Biological Segmentation of Reality
118
3.6 Different Essentials from the Same Situation
122
3.7 The Yale Report and Configurative Linguistics
128
3.8 An Analysis of Hopi Stems: Gestalt Theory in the Service of Linguistics
136
3.9 Overview of the Yale Report
143
Chapter 4. Of Covert Categories, Cryptotypes, and the Internalized Linguistic System
4.1 A Whorfian Psycholinguistics
160
4.2 Marking and Grammatical Classes
165
4.3 Terminological Anomalies
168
4.4 Grammatical Meaning and The Problem of Levels in Linguistic Description
172
4.5 The Data of Utterances
186
Chapter 5. Abstractive Processes and the Question of Universals
5.1 Abstractive Processes in Cognition
193
5.2 Experiential, Conceptual, and Linguistic Universals
211
Chapter 6. Metalinguistics: The Intercalihration of Agreement through Language Awareness
6.1 Introductory Comments
224
6.2 Three Kinds of Agreement
225
6.3 Metalinguistics
228
6.4 Language Awareness as an Augmentative Function in Cognition
238
6.5 Different Order Systems, Different Logics, and the Progress of Science
245
Appendix: “The Yale Report”
251
References
281
Index of Names
301
Index of Subjects
304
“[A]n informative contribution to the history of linguistics, and also to current linguistics, since the better understanding of Whorf’s writings which it provides sheds light, as Lee points out, on many areas of research, both current and potential. [...] Lee is keen to point out that Whorf‘s notions of patternment and entrenchment have their echoes in more recent thinking, in particular connectionist models of cognition: this is an intriguing parallel, which one may hope will be explored in greater detail in future. [...] Though the Whorfian hypothesis will presumably continue to be a source of controversy, this volume brings us the most detailed and instructive survey of Whorf’s thinking to date.”
“[...] a valuable addition to the extant on Whorf, and a necessay corrective to pervasive misconstruals of his ideas. An essential read for all scholars interested in the topic – especially cognitivists.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  96021119 | Marc record