comment by Pattern ·
2020-01-09T02:49:40.631Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
the Kesselman Estimative words
Page 80 of the pdf, marked 71 in the text page numbers.
I don't believe the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis so beloved of 20th century thinkers & SF, or that we can make ourselves much more rational by One Weird Linguistic Trick.
"Much more rational" is a tall order. While there is supposedly empirical evidence for the weak version of the hypothesis, it's hard to find and obtain, particularly anything substantial or recent. (See 'At length' for more on this. Or don't, it's mostly a dead end after Forms.))
In the post, this part rendered with the 2 asa subscript but the rest (020) as it appears when quoted here.
Example: here are 3 versions of a text; one stripped of citations and evidentials, one with them in long form, and one with subscripts:
The first and the third were easier to read than the second.
The wikipedia page on Linguistic Relativity has this to say on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis:
The hypothesis of linguistic relativity...
also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis...
is a principle claiming that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition, and thus people's perceptions are relative to their spoken language. ...
The principle is often defined in one of two versions: the strong hypothesis, which was held by some of the early linguists before World War II, and the weak hypothesis, mostly held by some of the modern linguists.
The strong version says that language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories.
The weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.
The brief section Forms:
Main article: Linguistic determinism
The strongest form of the theory is linguistic determinism, which holds that language entirely determines the range of cognitive processes. The hypothesis of linguistic determinism is now generally agreed to be false.
This is the weaker form, proposing that language provides constraints in some areas of cognition, but that it is by no means determinative. Research on weaker forms has produced positive empirical evidence for a relationship.
So what is this one source that there is empirical evidence?
This* (Supposedly retrieved** as of 2011, though it's google books, so I'm guessing it hasn't changed.)
It doesn't allow direct text copying, so here is some of it retyped***:
The current consensus among linguistic anthropologists is that a mutually influential relationship exists among language, thought and culture...
most linguistic anthropologists working in this area maintain that the influence of language on culture and thought is more likely to be predispositional than determinative.
So well known (though often terribly misunderstood) are Whorf's ideas on this topic that contemporary scholars in many different fields often label influences of language on thought as "Whorfian effects...
Whorf's most famous study case study involved a comparison between the Native American language of Hopi and "Standard Average European" (SAE) languages such as English in the ways that time and matter are categorized. ...
The overall patterns of these linguistic differences lead, Whorf argued, to dramatic differences in habitual cultural behavior...
Although many of Whorf's broad claims about Hopi language and culture have been challenged, [link to something not available in the preview]...
[And that's as much as I got out of the preview, ending here: https://books.google.com/books?id=2vmHpB2YvXsC&lpg=PP1&pg=PT75#v=onepage&q&f=false]
According to this summary of the book:
language should be investigated “not only as a mode of thinking but, above all, as a cultural practice, that is, as a form of action that both presupposes and at the same time brings about ways of being in the world”
So a dead end. Back to wikipedia:
The gold standard of psycholinguistic studies on linguistic relativity is now finding non-linguistic cognitive differences in speakers of different languages (thus rendering inapplicable Pinker's criticism that linguistic relativity is "circular").
Recent work with bilingual speakers attempts to distinguish the effects of language from those of culture on bilingual cognition including perceptions of time, space, motion, colors and emotion. Researchers described differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in perception of color, representations of time and other elements of cognition.
Empirical research section:
Lucy identified three main strands of research into linguistic relativity.
It's not clear who Lucy is.
Recent research with non-linguistic experiments in languages with different grammatical properties (e.g., languages with and without numeral classifiers or with different gender grammar systems) showed that language differences in human categorization are due to such differences. Experimental research suggests that this linguistic influence on thought diminishes over time, as when speakers of one language are exposed to another.
Other domains section:
Therapy and self-development
Main articles: General semantics and Neurolinguistic Programming
Sapir/Whorf contemporary Alfred Korzybski was independently developing his theory of general semantics, which was aimed at using language's influence on thinking to maximize human cognitive abilities.
APL programming language originator Kenneth E. Iverson believed that the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis applied to computer languages (without actually mentioning it by name). His Turing award lecture, "Notation as a tool of thought", was devoted to this theme, arguing that more powerful notations aided thinking about computer algorithms.[non-primary source needed]
Apparently Ruby was inspired by this, but the connection isn't clear. While there are constructed languages for a few purposes, there are no links to studies on their effects.
That last source, Notation as a tool of thought, has a wayback link.
The name of the book is Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology.
** That date is for the book as a whole, and this is wikipedia.
*** The pages appear to contain images rather than text: