Benjamin Whorf

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Benjamin Lee Whorf (April 24, 1897 – July 26, 1941) was an American linguist, anthropologist, and chemical engineer. Although he never took an academic appointment, his work greatly influenced studies of language, culture, and thinking. He is best known as one of the creators of what came to be called the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, which was fundamental to the development of the field of ethnolinguistics. This thesis, although controversial, drew attention to the relationship between grammatical structure and people's thinking and cultural values.


  • The Phonetic Value of Certain Characters in Maya Writing, Periodicals Service Co., 1933
  • Loan-words in Ancient Mexico, New Orleans: Tulane University of Louisiana, 1943
  • John Carroll (editor), Language, Thought, and Reality. Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956, 1962, 1978.