Re: Origin and function of language

Thomas Clarke (
10 Jul 1996 13:42:35 GMT

In article <> (Richard Foy) writes:
> In article <4rcl5r$>, MSCob <> wrote:
> >A poster wrote:

> >If the German language is a language that is rich in authoritarian
> >convepts etc it could increase the probabilty of such things as the
> >Holocaust. Also if the English language were a language of love of
> >country as contrasted wtih duty to country it could lead to an edge
> >in war along with of course a great productive capacity.

> I do not know of any literature that proves that language struture
> can influence behavior. However, I think that what you say is true
> and another part of the concept.

I think the poster must have got wind of the Sapir-Worf hypothesis.
[I just windowed over to the card catalog and the following book
lists the Sapir-Worf Hypothesis as one of its subjects:
Grace, George William, _The linguistic construction of reality_,
London ; New York : Croom Helm, 1987.]

Its a speculative hypothesis dating back to the 30's that language
determines how one thinks. I don't its very widely accepted, but
there is probably a grain of truth there.

For an entertaining version see Robert Heinlein's _Stranger in a Strange
Land_ wherein a human who learns the Martian language aquires extraordinary
powers over reality.

Tom Clarke