Hopi language time and space relationship

PHL Some Observations about Whorf's "Relation"

hopi language time and space relationship

dichotomy of ' form ' and ' substance,' our notions of 'time,' 'space,' and 'matter,' .. In my study of the Hopi language, bore a relation to Hopi culture, and the. The Hopi time controversy is the academic debate about how the Hopi language .. Immanuel Kant considered the categories of time and space to be universals underlying all .. "The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language". In my study of the Hopi language, what I now see as an opportunity to The right answer is: Newtonian space, time, and matter are value of.

They were impressed with his work on the linguistics of the Nahuatl language and encouraged him to participate professionally and to undertake field research in Mexico. In Edward Sapirthe foremost expert on Native American languages, started teaching at Yaleclose to where Whorf lived, and Whorf signed up for graduate-level classes with Sapir, becoming one of his most respected students.

At this time it was common for linguists to base their descriptions of a language on data from a single speaker. Whorf credited Naquayouma as the source of most of his information on the Hopi language, although in he took a short field trip to the village of Mishongnovi on the Second Mesacollecting some additional data.

After his death his full sketch of Hopi grammar was published by his friend the linguist Harry Hoijerand some essays on Native American linguistics, many of which had been previously published in academic journals, were published in in the anthology Language, Thought, and Reality by his friend psychologist John Bissell Carroll.

Here he writes that I find it gratuitous to assume that a Hopi who knows only the Hopi language and the cultural ideas of his own society has the same notions, often supposed to be intuitions, of time and space as we have, and that are generally assumed to be universal.

hopi language time and space relationship

In particular he has no notion or intuition of time as a smooth flowing continuum in which everything in the universe proceeds at an equal rate, out of a future into a present and into a past After a long and careful analysis the Hopi language is seen to contain no words, grammatical forms, construction or expressions that refer directly to what we call 'time', or to past, present or future Whorf argues that all Hopi nouns include the notion of a boundary or outline, and that consequently the Hopi language does not refer to abstract concepts with nouns.

This, Whorf argues, is encoded in Hopi grammar, which does not allow durations of time to be counted in the same way objects are. So instead of saying, for example, "three days", Hopi would say the equivalent of "on the third day", using ordinal numbers. Whorf argues that the Hopi do not consider the process of time passing to produce another new day, but merely as bringing back the daylight aspect of the world.

His first published writing on Hopi grammar was the paper "The punctual and segmentative aspects of verbs in Hopi", published in in Languagethe journal of the Linguistic Society of America.

This analysis was repeated in a letter to J. Carroll, who later published it as part of his selected writings under the title "Discussion of Hopi Linguistics". Whorf described assertions as a system of categories that describe the speaker's claim of epistemic validity of his own statement. Whorf acknowledges that these "translate more or less [as] the English tenses", but maintains that these forms do not refer to time or duration, but rather to the speaker's claim of the validity of the statement.

In Whorf's analysis, by using the reportive form the speaker claims that the event has in fact occurred or is still occurring, whereas by using the expective form the speaker describes an expectation of a future event.

Hopi time controversy

Whorf says that the expective can be used to describe events in the past, giving the meaning of "was going to" or "would". A central claim in Whorf's work on linguistic relativity was that for the Hopi units of time were not considered objects that can be counted like most of the comparable English words that are described by nouns a day, an hour etc. He argued that only the Hopi word for "year" was a noun, the words for days and nights were ambivalent between noun and verbs, but that all other cyclic events and periods were described by adverbial particles used as modifiers for the sentence [30] Whorf's inspiration from Einsteinian physics[ edit ] In his interpretation of Hopi time Whorf was influenced by Einstein 's theory of relativity, which was developed in the first decades of the century and impacted the general Zeitgeist.

The most salient points involve the concepts of simultaneity and spacetime.

hopi language time and space relationship

In his Special Relativity paper, Einstein maintained that two given events can legitimately be called simultaneous if and only if they take place at the same point in time and in the same point in space. No two events which take place at a spatial distance from one another can legitimately be declared to be simultaneous in any absolute sense, for the judgement of simultaneity or non-simultaneity will depend on the physical circumstances to be exact: This difference is no artifact; each of the observers is correct and is wrong only to the extent he or she insists that another observer is incorrect.

Hermann Minkowskiin his seminal address to the Congress of German Physicists, translated Einstein's mathematical equations into geometric terms. Heynick points to several passages in Whorf's writings on the Hopis which parallel Einsteinian concepts such as: They are recepts from culture and language.

That is where Newton got them. In the weaker version, the then new questioning of the nature of time and space brought about by the Einsteinian revolution in physics enabled Whorf to approach the Hopis and their language unburdened by traditional Western concepts and presumptions. The stronger version is that Whorf under the influence of Einstein tended inadvertently to "read into" his linguistic and cultural data relativistic concepts where they perhaps were not.

In Stuart Chase —an economist and engineer at MIT who had followed Whorf's ideas with great interest, but whom Whorf himself considered utterly incompetent and incapable of understanding the nuances of his ideas [37] —published "Some things worth knowing: Here he repeated Whorf's claim about Hopi time, but arguing that because of the Hopi view of time as a process, they were better able to understand the concept of time as a fourth dimension.

hopi language time and space relationship

If you were a Hopi Indian, you would have none, the Hopi have no concept of time". However, the key and challenging question is: Whorf is raising the possibility that the theories by which I mean in these cases the collection of relevant -- and partly false -- beliefs that these individuals had were shaped by their language.

The degree to which this is the case is the degree to which we should accept something like a robust form of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The Hypotheses Whorf raises the possibility that he can use Hopi, and compare it to "SAE" standard average European to test the idea that: Please note that there are in fact there are at least five hypotheses here after all, maybe language shapes our view of matter but not time, or etc. The idea is that Hopi is very different from the relatively similar European languages.

He hopes to show systematic patterns of difference. We are at the disadvantage that we don't know Hopi, and so must assume his account is accurate.

Hopi language

So, since I cannot evaluate his claims about Hopi. I will here just state them. SAE applies number to real and imaginary things.

hopi language time and space relationship

We say, for example, "Ten days" when of course there are never present at once as a group ten days. In Hopi, plurals are reserved for things that can form a present group.

Hopi time controversy - Wikipedia

For example, regarding time, you have to say, "On the tenth day. SAE has individual and mass nouns. Hopi lacks vague mass nouns: This means they are not inclined like SAE speakers to imagine a difference between matter and form. We treat cycles just like other objects, with undistinguished nouns. Hopi treats phases with constructions like adverbs. We say, "in the morning," as if morning were like a space; he claims Hopi say something like "while the morning phase is occuring.

Temporal forms of Verbs. Our three tenses in SAE leads us to see time "in a row.