Benjamin Lee Whorf biography

Benjamin Lee Whorf

Anthropologist, Academic

1897 – 1941

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Who was Benjamin Lee Whorf?

Benjamin Lee Whorf was an American linguist and fire prevention engineer. Whorf is widely known as an advocate for the idea that because of linguistic differences in grammar and usage, speakers of different languages conceptualize and experience the world differently. This principle has frequently been called the "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", after him and his mentor Edward Sapir, but Whorf called it the principle of linguistic relativity, because he saw the idea as having implications similar to Einstein's principle of physical relativity.

Throughout his life Whorf was a chemical engineer by profession, but as a young man he took up an interest in linguistics. At first this interest drew him to the study of Biblical Hebrew, but he quickly went on to study the indigenous languages of Mesoamerica on his own. Professional scholars were impressed by his work and in 1930 he received a grant to study the Nahuatl language in Mexico; on his return home he presented several influential papers on the language at linguistic conferences. This led him to begin studying linguistics with Edward Sapir at Yale University while still maintaining his day job at the Hartford Fire Insurance Company.

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Born
Apr 24, 1897
Winthrop
Also known as
  • Уорф, Бенджамин Ли
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Yale University
Died
Jul 26, 1941
Hartford

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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"Benjamin Lee Whorf." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Jul 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/benjamin_whorf>.

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