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What is the difference between linguistic determinism and linguistic relativity?I know...

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studentinib | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 15, 2012 at 3:10 AM via web

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What is the difference between linguistic determinism and linguistic relativity?

I know that they are both part of the Sapir Wharf hypothesis but i cannot understand the exact difference between them

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 15, 2012 at 3:21 AM (Answer #1)

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There is a subtle, but very important difference between these two ideas.  You should think of linguistic determinism as one subset of linguistic relativity.

Linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language has an impact on the way that its speakers view the world.  Because we can only really think of the world through the use of language and words, it seems to make sense that the structure of our language would have an impact on how we perceive the world.

Linguistic determinism does not disagree with this general idea.  Instead, it goes beyond it.  Linguistic determinism argues that the structure of language does not simply affect our way of looking at the world; it actually determines how we look at the world.

Therefore, linguistic determinism is simply a "harder" version of linguistic relativity.

Sources:

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studentinib | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 15, 2012 at 3:27 AM (Answer #2)

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Thank you!

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