SPUG: Musing on Language and Culture

BenRifkah Bergsten-Buret mail.spammagnet at gmail.com
Fri Dec 17 15:35:05 PST 2010

On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 7:04 PM, Michael R. Wolf <MichaelRWolf at att.net>wrote:

> Very interesting to me, these inseparable notions of Language and Culture.
You're talking about linguistic relativity :
IANAL(inguist) but I believe it gained traction when studied by Edward Sapir
and and Benjamin Whorf. The ill named Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis which,
simplified, draws a direct correlation between culture, language and
cognitive tendencies. It proposes a causal relationship in that the language
itself can have a direct impact on the way speakers think and therefore on
the culture they create.

This idea blew me away the first I heard of it (can't remember where) and
I've found from my experience that programming languages are great evidence
to support the hypothesis. When learning a new language every developer I
know approaches tasks from the perspective of their previous languages until
they grok the zeitgeist of the new language.

WNYC's RadioLab did an episode a while back that explored the inseparability
of language and culture in some unique situations:

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