Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Our words define our worlds…

Our words define our worlds…

Mola BogdanGeorgii


Today I would like to share some pretty exciting idea. So, if you have couple of free minutes and ready to explore for yourself some wonders of our mind, please make yourself comfortable and go to next chapter.

Sapir–Whorf hypothesis

There are two definitions of this hypothesis (sctrict and soft):

  • Consciousnessо determined by language. Therefore, cognitive categories determined and limited by our language.
  • Consciousness in pair with linguistic categories has influence to traditions and non-language behavior.

Core of hypothesis

Structure of language has key role in understanding of reality and perception. Different languages provide some differences in perception of such basic categories as quantity, numbers, space, color and time. One of the most notable part of this idea is assumption that people able to speak different languages can use different way of thinking.

This hypothesis focuses on different aspects, mostly on:

  •  Cognitive and intellectual potential 
  • Feeling of time 
  • Color perception
  • Understanding cause-effect relationships
  • Object’s shape perception

Some specialistsdoes not accept this hypothesis, some accept partly, some support. There are some researches has been performed. One of proove idea, other not.


North America Indian’s children categories objects in terms of shape more than children do from England. It is related with grammar specifics of particular verbs. Specialists think that reason is unique grammar structure of Indian language where verb’s form has relation with shapes of objects. Another experiment was performed with children from different cultures (Africa and England) but with the same language (English). Children solved task with toy cubes well despite to fact that cubes are not spread well in Africa and not familiar for local children. (Especially among families with low income).

Opposition of this hypothesis report that research of 78 languages showed that people has very similar perception of colors. Supporters of hypothis said that this result conditioned by eye’s physiology that is the same for any human.   


Today there no exact approvement or refutations of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. During the time it of subject of interest for scientists from different fields. I think complexity related with absence of consist understanding how our mind works. By the way, this idea was source of inspiration for literature. Probably, most well-known reflection of this idea is “Arrival” movie (of cause, I strongly recommend it), which shows hypothesis from interesting point of view. 

By this article, I would like to inspire to find something new, amazing and interesting in such regular thing as our language. I believe that languages are not obstacle but way to enrich our perception and mind. Thank for your attention.


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