Benjamin Lee Whorf

The very natural tendency to use terms derived from traditional grammar like verb, noun, adjective, passive voice, in describing languages outside of Indo-European is fraught with grave possibilities of misunderstanding.

“The very natural tendency to use terms derived from traditional grammar like verb, noun, adjective, passive voice, in describing languages outside of Indo-European is fraught … Read More

Language is not simply a reporting device for experience but a defining framework for it. So if, from perhaps some unhealthy desire for sympathetic support, you describe your life in negative terms you will find that this will reinforce your mind’s negative emotions and make you unhappy and even more susceptible to feeling unhappy in the future. By simply doing the reverse and focusing on why you are lucky and grateful things are not worse, you will strengthen and increase your mind’s positive emotions and make yourself happy and even more likely to feel happy in the future.

“Language is not simply a reporting device for experience but a defining framework for it. So if, from perhaps some unhealthy desire for sympathetic support, … Read More

We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way – an agreement that holds through our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language.

“We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it … Read More

The world that is coming toward us out of time is going to be very much richer in a mental sense because (among other freedoms) we are going to get a modicum of freedom from linguistic frameworks, from familiar mental habits. Anyone who really knows two or more tongues realizes that even that small enlargement of liberty . . . gives him new perspectives, exercizes his soul anew.

“The world that is coming toward us out of time is going to be very much richer in a mental sense because (among other freedoms) … Read More