The Whorfian Hypothesis and
Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 1
Does language dictate how we perceive
Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 2
What we mean
What we say
Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 3
THINK ABOUT THIS…
Think of these situations and what people say in
English. Do we say the same in Chilean Spanish ?
When you come into a store: ‘how can I help you?’
When you see a person you know: ‘what a wonderful shirt, you look great on
When you finish a phone conversation : ‘have a good one! Bye now.’
It’s your birthday : ‘Make a wish!’
When you feel someone is not smart enough : ‘you know what they say,
there’s one born every minute’
When a student has completed a task rather succesfully : ‘right on! great job,
keep it up!’
When you feel someone, for example, a colleague, is great : ‘You’re
something else or You’re the man!’
When someone is working or trying something beyond their limitations : ‘you’re
burning the candles at both ends!’
When introducing yourself: ‘excuse me, is this seat free? Can I introduce
myself? my name is .. ‘
Responding to positive feedback: ‘Thank you, you’re so sweet!’
When someone is too anxious about the future : ‘ cross the bridge when you
come to it’
Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 4
Think of these situations and what people say in Chile.
Do we say the same in English ?
Looking at a friend’s work or listening to his / her comments : Que bacán!
Expressing disappointment : Erih terrible eh pollo!
Showing you’re upset since you can’t get your work done
with your classmate : Súbete a la micro, tas mas perdiooo/aaaaa!!!
Bumping into a classmate at the cafeteria : Hola, que onda? tai como
bajoneá / ó!
Gossiping about someone’s look : Mírale la pintita… !
Being overly wise : Qué onda…? como no cachai lo que nos dijo el profe? tas
Thanking someone : Que wena, te pasaste de buena onda!
Breaking up with a friend or lover : 10-4, xao contigo!
Showing you don’t care : Shao, ni ahí con con el profe!
Thinking you are not doing your best at something : Soy terrible… no le doy a
At a store, a sales person approches you : que quiere comprar?
Respoding to sales staff : No si estoy mirando no mah, perdón.
Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 5
share your work on slides 3 and 4 with a
discuss key questions :
How does language change between English and
Chilean Spanish when expressing what we feel, think
Do our expressions reveal something about how
English and Chilean Spanish speakers view aspects
of the world? How ? How come?
Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 6
Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Why so? Why not?
‘While language clearly influences our thought, it does not
determine the types of concepts we can think about’
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Mauricio Miraglia, Instructor, slide 7