What is the difference between linguistic determinism and linguistic relativity? I know that they are both part of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, but I cannot understand the exact difference between them.
The main difference between the concepts is the amount of flexibility that each conveys about human abilities. As the term suggests, “linguistic determinism” indicates that certain features within a culture “determine” the language that its members learn and the underlying concepts expressed through that language. However, the degree to which culture corresponds to human beings’ natural abilities became an issue with this line of thinking. Edward Sapir believed that the patterns that people learn as babies cannot be altered. The need to modify Sapir’s claim became apparent because of the association between what is natural with different cultural characteristics. Such an association allows for the inference that some human groups are more capable of complex thought, a division that some interpreters might attribute to race.
Whorf’s modification of the theory was significant because it emphasize culture, or environment and upbringing, over nature, or innate capability. An...
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