19th- 20th century linguists’ view on national culture and language

Ever since the linguist, diplomat and philosopher von Humboldt (1767-1835) developed the idea that one’s mother tongue influences the way one looks at the world, theories linking language, culture and thought have been around, sometimes even suggesting that individuals are so determined by their native language that they cannot communicate with one another (the neo-Humboldtian trend). Although American anthropological linguists Sapir and Whorf’s linguistic relativity construct was interpreted as a deterministic theory and rejected throughout the twentieth century, some of its main features are still being investigated in various research fields (neuro-, phsycho-, anthropological linguistics, etc.), such as the idea that the necessities imposed by one’s mother tongue system influences the way chunks of reality are taken in or left out, inducing some researchers to build astonishing theories linking the necessities of a nation’s language system and its inhabitants’ economic behavior.


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