College Essay Examples



The hypothesis that asserts that the lexicon of a language affects how its speakers think is referred to as the linguistic relativity hypothesis, or the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. An example of this is the removal of using racist or sexist terms in everyday language. Also, the concept of “person-first terminology” is an example because this involves referring to the person who happens to have a disability rather than letting the disability define them. For example, “An individual with autism” is now preferred rather than “that autistic person”. It does appear that the effects of this may somewhat be malleable, particularly because perceptions can change over time due to increased language experience. For example, Greek speakers living in the United Kingdom will gradually have more exposure to seeing the words “Ghalazio” and “Ble” as similar. Also, language can change in response to technological and social change. 

Though many theories exist to explain the relativity and diversity of language in different countries and groups of people, no specific tool or test to measure if the relativity of language differences to culture and tradition exists. Language disparities in human categorization contribute to variances. For example, languages with and without numerical classifiers or with different gender grammar systems. This suggests that when speakers of one language are exposed to speakers of another, this type of linguistic difference on thought can reduce over time. Also, those living in countries where spoken languages frequently lose pronouns (e.g. Japan) tend to hold more collectivistic beliefs than those in countries where non-pronoun languages (English). The words ‘you’ and ‘I’ inform speakers of the boundaries that exist between the speaker and the other.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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