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Abstract

The idea that natural languages shape the way we think in different ways was popularized by Benjamin Whorf, but then fell out of favor for lack of empirical support. But now, a new wave of research has been shifting the tide back toward linguistic relativity. The recent research can be interpreted in different ways, some trivial, some implausibly radical, and some both plausible and interesting. We introduce two theses that would have important implications if true: Habitual Whorfianism and Ontological Whorfianism. We argue that these offer the most promising interpretations of the emerging evidence.