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What Is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?

Paul Kay and Willett Kempton
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 86, No. 1 (Mar., 1984), pp. 65-79
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/679389
Page Count: 15
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What Is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?
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Abstract

The history of empirical research on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is reviewed. A more sensitive test of the hypothesis is devised and a clear Whorfian effect is detected in the domain of color. A specific mechanism is proposed to account for this effect and a second experiment, designed to block the hypothesized mechanism, is performed. The effect disappears as predicted. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is reevaluated in the light of these results.

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