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Fwd: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

No idea whether anyone wants to respond to this guy. He isn't asking for anything, but I'm not sure what i can say in response.


Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 03:06:11 +0200 (MEST)
From: G van Gasteren <gevangasteren@gmx.net>
To: lojbab@lojban.org
Subject: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Dear Lojban-secretary,

It was a delight to discover your project!
I made your site a Favorite in my browser and, who knows, will have a go at
learning Lojban soon.

One thought that came up while reading your lojbroch.html was that it is
actually possible to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and that is has been done
to a certain extent:
I have been learning to read Devanagari script and pronounce the Sanskrit
sounds, and when I first started to read Sanskrit texts (without understanding
them, or very little of it), I noticed some effect. Later I found out that
this effect is much stronger when I know a text by heart and 'read' it only

So, when I read articles about EEG research studies, that the EEG became
more orderly during reading aloud of Sanskrit texts, I could agree with them
from personal experience. Actually, the test persons were given different
languages' texts (in every case not understanding the text's meaning), and the
effect was strongest with Sanskrit.

This fits with what Indian teachers have said, that in Sanskrit, the SOUND
of a word already contains the MEANING of that word, and that hearing, and
especially reading, Sanskrit purifies one's consciousness.

I'm sorry to say that I don't know anymore where I read those articles. Of
course, what they ddn't test is the effect of an orderly grammar, or anything
connected to the meaning of a text, but they did show that the language we
speak really influences the way we think.

With best wishes,

G van Gasteren

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lojbab                                             lojbab@lojban.org
Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
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Artificial language Loglan/Lojban:                 http://www.lojban.org