RE: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (was: RE: Allowing the sweet voice of reason into our lives)

From: Mitchell, Jerry (3337) (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 12:12:32 MDT

> My take on the Sapir-Worf hypothesis is that it is a one-way
> relationship
> which people try to apply both ways. If you know the word
> for something,
> then you know that concept. If you don't know a word for
> something, then you
> may have difficulty with a concept. People go too far and
> say that you
> can't understand the concept without the word.

I dont see how your mind could represent a concept without tagging some form
of identification onto it. That which cannot be referenced, cant be recalled
for use.

> Words also shape the way you think. A lot of people don't
> question words
> and names, and therefore accept inaccurate or imprecise
> words. Here's a
> good example: What color is the sky? Almost every one says
> "blue" because
> that is the word that is always associated with the sky.
> However, I will
> tell you that it is "blue-green". Before you argue, go to a
> paint program
> and look at the color that computers call "cyan". "Cyan" is
> the same color
> as the sky, but if you look up it's definition, it is equal
> parts of blue
> and green. The sky is half way between green and blue, yet by English
> tradition, we always call it "blue".

I thougt of a pretty neat explanation to this old "are you seeing the same
color as I am" question. I think everyone would agree theres a certain
transition of the colors through the spectrum. Light colors to dark colors I
would call it. Your reds, yellows, orange on one side all possess this fuzzy
attribute of lightness. Blue, green, etc... over on the other side seem
darker. So, if we were all seeing different colors, there wouldnt be a
smooth transition from light to dark, but a random stratification of colors.
Something like a blue sandwiched between a red and yellow would look rather
out of place in a rainbow. What do you think, make any sense?

Jerry Mitchell

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