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Hardcover | Out of Print | 290 pp. | 5.3 x 7.9 in | February 1956 | ISBN: 9780262230032
Paperback | Out of Print | 290 pp. | 5.3 x 7.9 in | March 1964 | ISBN: 9780262730068
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Language, Thought, and Reality

Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf


The pioneering linguist Benjamin Whorf (1897–1941) grasped the relationship between human language and human thinking: how language can shape our innermost thoughts. His basic thesis is that our perception of the world and our ways of thinking about it are deeply influenced by the structure of the languages we speak. The writings collected in this volume include important papers on the Maya, Hopi, and Shawnee languages as well as more general reflections on language and meaning.

About the Author

Benjamin Lee Whorf, originally trained as a chemical engineer, began his work in linguistics in the 1920s and became well known for his studies of the Hopi language. He studied with the famous linguist Edward Sapir at Yale University, formulating with him the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis of linguistic relativity.


“An essay showing why Hopi is superior to English as a scientific language, a criticism of Basic English as Complex English, and an account of the semantics of fire prevention are not only readable but delightful.”—The New Yorker