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Encyclopedia > Edward Sapir
Edward Sapir

Edward Sapir. Photograph by
Florence M. Hendershot, Chicago, Ill.
Born January 26, 1884(1884-01-26)
Lauenburg, Prussia
Died February 4, 1939 (aged 55)
Flag of the United States New Haven, CT, United States
Citizenship Flag of the United States American
Field Linguistics, Anthropology
Institutions University of Chicago
Columbia University
Yale University
Alma mater Columbia University
Known for Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
Religion Jewish

Edward Sapir (IPA: /səˈpɪər/), (January 26, 1884February 4, 1939) was an American anthropologist-linguist, a leader in American structural linguistics, and one of the creators of what is now called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. He is arguably the most influential figure in American linguistics, influencing several generations of linguists across several schools of linguistics. Image File history File links Edward Sapir. ... is the 26th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1884 (MDCCCLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... LÄ™bork (Kashubian/Pomeranian: Lãbórg; German Lauenburg) is a town (town 1341) on the rivers Leba and Okalica in Middle Pomerania region, north-western Poland with some 37,000 inhabitants. ... For other uses, see Prussia (disambiguation). ... is the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... “New Haven” redirects here. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ... Alma Mater Columbia University in the City of New York is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ... “Yale” redirects here. ... Alma Mater Columbia University in the City of New York is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ... In linguistics, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (SWH) states that there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... is the 26th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1884 (MDCCCLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... See Anthropology. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Structuralism as a term refers to various theories across the humanities, social sciences and economics many of which share the assumption that structural relationships between concepts vary between different cultures/languages and that these relationships can be usefully exposed and explored. ... In linguistics, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (SWH) states that there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. ...

Contents

Life and work

Sapir was born in Lauenburg, Prussia, now Lębork in Poland, in 1884 to an orthodox Jewish family. He received both a B.A. (1904) and an M.A. (1905) in Germanic philology from Columbia, but his linguistic interests proved to be much broader. In the next two years he took up studies of the Wishram and Takelma languages of Southwestern Oregon, and received his Ph.D. in anthropology in 1909. While a graduate student at Columbia he met his mentor, anthropologist Franz Boas, who was probably the person who provided the most initial impetus for Sapir's study of indigenous languages of the Americas. He arranged Sapir's employment in 1907-08 researching the nearly extinct Yana language of northern California, to which he returned briefly in 1915 to work with Ishi, the monolingual last surviving speaker of Yahi (southern Yana). Anthem Preußenlied, Heil dir im Siegerkranz (both unofficial) The Kingdom of Prussia at its greatest extent, at the time of the formation of the German Empire, 1871 Capital Berlin Government Monarchy King  - 1701 — 1713 Frederick I (first)  - 1888 — 1918 William II (last) Prime minister  - 1848 Adolf Heinrich von Arnim... LÄ™bork (Kashubian/Pomeranian: Lãbórg; German Lauenburg) is a town (town 1341) on the rivers Leba and Okalica in Middle Pomerania region, north-western Poland with some 37,000 inhabitants. ... A Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or program in the arts and/or sciences. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (see link for calendar). ... A Master of Arts is a postgraduate academic masters degree awarded by universities in North America and the United Kingdom (excluding the ancient universities of Scotland and Oxbridge. ... For other uses, see 1905 (disambiguation). ... Germanic philology is the study of the Germanic languages particularly from a comparative or historical perspective. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Takelma was the language spoken by the Takelma people. ... Official language(s) (none)[1] Capital Salem Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 9th  - Total 98,466 sq mi (255,026 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 2. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Franz Boas Franz Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942[1]) was one of the pioneers of modern anthropology and is often called the Father of American Anthropology. Born in Germany, Boas worked for most of his life in North America. ... Indigenous languages of the Americas (or Amerindian Languages) are spoken by indigenous peoples from the southern tip of South America to Alaska and Greenland, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. ... The Yahi were a group of Native Americans who lived in Northern California in the Northern Sierra Nevada, on the western side of the range. ... Ishi in 1914 Ishi (c. ... The Yahi were a group of Native Americans who lived in Northern California in the Northern Sierra Nevada, on the western side of the range. ...


In the years 1910-1925 he built and directed the Anthropological Division in the Geological Survey of Canada, in Ottawa. When he was first hired, he and Marius Barbeau were the only two, and the first two, full-time anthropologists in Canada. Among the many accomplishments of this very productive period are a substantial series of publications on Nootka and other languages, and his seminal book Language (1921), still important today and eminently readable. As he was leaving for a teaching position at the University of Chicago, one of very few research universities then in the United States, he enabled Leonard Bloomfield to obtain support from Ottawa to do fieldwork on Cree, essential to his project of historical reconstruction in Algonkian. Bloomfield moved to Chicago in 1927 to teach Germanic languages. It appears (Darnell 268-272) that they were congenial but not close. From 1931 to his death Sapir was at Yale University, where he became the head of the Department of Anthropology. The Geological Survey of Canada or GSC is part of the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada. ... Marius Barbeau Credit: J. Alex Castonguay/Library and Archives Canada/C-034447 Charles Marius Barbeau (March 5, 1883 – February 27, 1969), also known as C. Marius Barbeau, or more commonly simply Marius Barbeau, was a Canadian ethnographer and folklorist who is today considered a founder of Canadian anthropology. ... Nuu-chah-nulth (also called Nootka) is a Wakashan language spoken in the Pacific Northwest on the west coast of Vancouver Island from Barkley Sound to Quatsino Sound in British Columbia by the Nuu-chah-nulth people. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ... Leonard Bloomfield (April 1, 1887 - April 18, 1949) was an American linguist, whose influence dominated the development of structural linguistics in America between the 1930s and the 1950s. ... Cree is the name for a group of closely-related Algonquian languages spoken by approximately 50,000 speakers across Canada, from Alberta to Labrador. ... The Algonquian (also Algonkian) languages are a subfamily of Native American languages that includes most of the languages in the Algic language family (the two Algic languages that are not Algonquian are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California). ... “Yale” redirects here. ...


He was one of the first who explored the relations between language studies and anthropology. His students include Fang-kuei Li, Benjamin Whorf, Mary Haas, and Harry Hoijer, but it was one not formally his student who he came to regard as his intellectual heir, a young Semiticist named Zellig Harris (who for a time dated his daughter). Li Fanggui (李方桂, pinyin: Lǐ Fāngguì; Wade-Giles: Li Fang-Kuei, Fang-Kuei Li) (1902-1987), Chinese American linguist. ... Photo of Benjamin Lee Whorf as a young man. ... Mary Rosamund Haas (born January 12, 1910; died May 17, 1996) was an American linguist who specialized in North American Indian languages, Thai, and historical linguistics. ... Harry Hoijer Harry Hoijer (September 6, 1904 - March 11, 1976) was a linguist and anthropologist who worked on primarily Athabaskan languages and culture. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... Zellig Sabbetai Harris (October 23, 1909 - May 22, 1992) was an American linguist, mathematical syntactician, and methodologist of science. ...


Some suggestions of Sapir about the influence of language on the ways in which people think were adopted and developed by Whorf, initially while he was substitute teaching in the classroom during Sapir's illness. It was felt that stimulating and challenging ideas would attract students to this fledgling field. During the 1940s and later this became known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Some support may be found in late work of Harris. In linguistics, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (SWH) states that there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. ...


Sapir died of heart problems in New Haven, Connecticut, on February 4, 1939, at age 55. “New Haven” redirects here. ...


His special focus among American languages was in the Athabaskan languages, a family he was especially fascinated by: "Dene is probably the son-of-a-bitchiest language in America to actually know...most fascinating of all languages ever invented" (Krauss 1986:157). Among the languages and cultures studied by Sapir are Wishram Chinook, Navajo, Nootka, Paiute, Takelma, and Yana. Although noted for his work on American linguistics, he was also prolific in linguistics in general, as depicted by his book Language, which provides everything from a grammar-typological classification of languages (with examples ranging from Chinese to Nootka) to speculation on the phenomenon on language drift and the arbitrariness of associations between language, race, and culture. He was a pioneer of the Yiddish (his native language) studies in the United States (cf. Notes on Judeo-German phonology, 1915). Areas in which Athabaskan languages and Eyak and Tlingit are traditionally spoken Athabaskan or Athabascan (also Athapascan or Athapaskan) is the name of a large group of distantly related Native American peoples, also known as the Athabasca Indians or Athapaskes, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western... The Dene are a group of First Nations that live in the Arctic regions of Canada. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Reading Adahooniigii — The Navajo Language Monthly Navajo or Navaho (native name: Diné bizaad) is an Athabaskan language (of Na-Dené stock) spoken in the southwest United States by the Navajo people (Diné). It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages (the majority of Athabaskan languages are spoken... The Nuu-chah-nulth (pronounced New-cha-nulth) (also formerly referred to as the Nootka, Nutka, Aht, West Coast, T’aat’aaqsapa, Nuuchahnulth) people are indigenous peoples of Canada. ... “Piute” redirects here. ... Takelma was the language spoken by the Takelma people. ... The Yahi were a group of Native Americans who lived in Northern California in the Northern Sierra Nevada, on the western side of the range. ... Nuu-chah-nulth (also called Nootka) is a Wakashan language spoken in the Pacific Northwest on the west coast of Vancouver Island from Barkley Sound to Quatsino Sound in British Columbia by the Nuu-chah-nulth people. ... Yiddish (ייִדיש, Jiddisch) is a Germanic language spoken by about four million Jews throughout the world. ...


He was also involved in the international auxiliary language movement. In his paper The Function of an International Auxiliary Language, Sapir argued for the benefits of a regular grammar and advocated a critical focus on the fundamentals of language, unbiased by the idiosyncrasies of national languages, in the choice of an international auxiliary language. He was the first Research Director of the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA), which presented Interlingua in 1951. He directed the Association from 1930 to 1931, and was a member of its Consultative Counsel for Linguistic Research from 1927 to 1938.[1] Sapir consulted with Alice Vanderbilt Morris to develop the research program of IALA.[2] An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a language used (or to be used in the future) for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common native language. ... The International Auxiliary Language Association that existed from 1924 to 1954 was a notable proponent of international auxiliary languages. ... IALA can stand for: International Association of Lighthouse Authorities International Auxiliary Language Association This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Interlingua is an international auxiliary language (IAL) published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA). ... Alice Vanderbilt Morris (1874 - 1950), born Alice Vanderbilt Shepard, was the daughter of Elliot Fitch Shepard (1833-1893) and Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt (1845-1924). ...


Selected publications

Books

Sapir, Edward (1907). Herder's "Ursprung der Sprache". Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ASIN: B0006CWB2W. 


Sapir, Edward (1908), "On the etymology of Sanskrit asru, Avestan asru, Greek dakru", in Modi, Jivanji Jamshedji, Spiegel memorial volume. Papers on Iranian subjects written by various scholars in honour of the late Dr. Frederic Spiegel, Bombay: British India Press, pp. 156-159


Sapir, Edward (1909). Wishram texts, together with Wasco tales and myths. E.J. Brill. ASIN: B000855RIW. 


Sapir, Edward (1921). Language: An introduction to the study of speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace and company. ASIN: B000NGWX8I. 


Sapir, Edward; Swadesh, Morris (1939). Nootka Texts: Tales and ethnological narratives, with grammatical notes and lexical materials. Philadelphia: Linguistic Society of America. ASIN: B000EB54JC. 


Sapir, Edward (1949), Mandelbaum, David, ed., Selected writings in language, culture and personality, Berkeley: University of California Press, ASIN: B000PX25CS University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. ...


Sapir, Edward; Irvine, Judith (2002). The psychology of culture: A course of lectures. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3110172829. 


Essays and articles

Sapir, Edward (1907). "Preliminary report on the language and mythology of the Upper Chinook". American Anthropologist (9): 533-544.  The American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. ...


Sapir, Edward (1910). "Some fundamental characteristics of the Ute language". Science (31): 350-352.  Science is the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ...


Sapir, Edward (1911). "Some aspects of Nootka language and culture". American Anthropologist (13): 15-28.  The American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. ...


Sapir, Edward (1911). "The problem of noun incorporation in American languages". American Anthropologist (13): 250-282.  The American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. ...


Sapir, Edward (1915). "The Na-dene languages: a preliminary report". American Anthropologist (17): 765-773.  The American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. ...


Sapir, Edward (1917). "Do we need a superorganic?". American Anthropologist (19): 441-447.  The American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. ...


Sapir, Edward (1924). "The grammarian and his language". The American Mercury (1): 149-155.  To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Sapir, Edward (1924). "Culture, Genuine and Spurious". The American Journal of Sociology 29 (4): 401-429.  The American Journal of Sociology (AJS) is one of the most important scientific journals in the field of sociology and the first U.S. scholarly journal in the field. ...


Sapir, Edward (1925). "Memorandum on the problem of an international auxiliary language". The Romanic Review (16): 244-256. 


Sapir, Edward (1925). "Sound patterns in language". Language (1): 37-51. 


Sapir, Edward (1931). "The function of an international auxiliary language". Psyche (11): 4-15.  Psyche (ISSN: 1039-723X) is a refereed electronic journal dedicated to supporting the interdisciplinary exploration of the nature of consciousness and its relation to the brain. ...


Sapir, Edward (1936). "Internal linguistic evidence suggestive of the Northern origin of the Navaho". American Anthropologist (38): 224-235.  The American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. ...


Sapir, Edward (1944). "Grading: a study in semantics". Philosophy of Science (11): 93-116. 


Sapir, Edward (1947). "The relation of American Indian linguistics to general linguistics". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology (1): 1-4. 


Bibliographies

Koerner, E. F. K.; Koerner, Konrad (1985). Edward Sapir: Appraisals of his life and work. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ISBN 978-9027245182. 


Cowan, William; Foster, Michael K.; Koerner, Konrad (1986). New perspectives in language, culture, and personality: Proceedings of the Edward Sapir Centenary Conference (Ottawa, 1-3 October 1984). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 


Darnell, Regna (1989). Edward Sapir: linguist, anthropoligist, humanist. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520066786.  University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. ...


Sapir, Edward; Bright, William (1992). Southern Paiute and Ute: linguistics and ethnography. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3110135435.  This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Sapir, Edward; Darnell, Regna; Irvine, Judith T.; Handler, Richard (1999). The collected works of Edward Sapir: culture. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3110126396.  This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


References

  1. ^ F. Peter Gopsill. International languages: A matter for Interlingua. British Interlingua Society, 1990.
  2. ^ Falk, Julia S. "Words without grammar: Linguists and the international language movement in the United States, Language and Communication, 15(3): pp. 241-259. Pergamon, 1995.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Edward Sapir
Persondata
NAME Sapir, Edward
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION American linguist and anthropologist
DATE OF BIRTH January 26, 1884(1884-01-26)
PLACE OF BIRTH Lauenburg, Prussia (now Lębork, Poland)
DATE OF DEATH February 4, 1939
PLACE OF DEATH New Haven, Connecticut

  Results from FactBites:
 
Edward Sapir, January 26, 1884—February 4, 1939 | By Regna Darnell and Judith T. Irvine | Biographical Memoirs (3928 words)
Sapir's first professional appointment, in 1907, was as a research assistant at the University of California, Berkeley, where fellow Boas student Alfred Kroeber had a mandate to map the enormous cultural and linguistic diversity of the state.
Sapir's conception of grammatical process and his interest in the study of meaning as integral to the theory of grammar contrast sharply with the work of the Bloomfieldians.
Sapir's discussions of the role of meaning in grammatical form and the relationships of these to the use of language in formulating and conveying ideas have been taken as his contribution to what is often called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
Sapir, Edward Criticism and Essays (695 words)
Sapir is remembered for his anthropological investigations into linguistics, particularly the languages of Native Americans, as well as his strong interest in aesthetics and general cultural creativity.
Sapir was born in Lauenburg, Pomerania—now Poland—in 1884.
During his lifetime Sapir was highly regarded for his work on language—his groundbreaking studies of Native American languages broke the myriad of languages down into six categories—and for his insistence that discussion of a wider culture was necessarily connected to discussion of the individual within that culture.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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