Sapir, Edward


Sapir, Edward
born Jan. 26, 1884, Lauenburg, Pomerania, Ger.
died Feb. 4, 1939, New Haven, Conn., U.S.

Polish-born U.S. linguist and anthropologist.

He was a founder of ethnolinguistics, which considers the relationship of culture to language, and a principal developer of the American (descriptive) school of structural linguistics. He became widely known for his contributions to the study of American Indian languages. His best-known work is Language (1921).

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▪ American linguist
born Jan. 26, 1884, Lauenburg, Pomerania, Ger.
died Feb. 4, 1939, New Haven, Conn., U.S.

      one of the foremost American linguists and anthropologists of his time, most widely known for his contributions to the study of North American Indian languages. A founder of ethnolinguistics, which considers the relationship of culture to language, he was also a principal developer of the American (descriptive) school of structural linguistics.

      Sapir, the son of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, was taken to the United States at age five. As a graduate student at Columbia University, he came under the influence of the noted anthropologist Franz Boas, who directed his attention to the rich possibilities of linguistic anthropology. For about six years he studied the Yana, Paiute, and other Indian languages of the western United States.

      From 1910 to 1925 Sapir served as chief of anthropology for the Canadian National Museum, Ottawa, where he made a steady contribution to ethnology. One of his more important monographs concerned cultural change among American Indians (1916). He also devoted attention to Indian languages west of the continental divide. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1925 and in 1929 suggested that the vast number of Indian languages of the United States and Canada and certain of those of Mexico and Central America could be classified in six major divisions. In 1931 he accepted a professorship at Yale University, where he established the department of anthropology and remained active until two years before his death.

      Sapir suggested that man perceives the world principally through language. He wrote many articles on the relationship of language to culture. A thorough description of a linguistic structure and its function in speech might, he wrote in 1931, provide insight into man's perceptive and cognitive faculties and help explain the diverse behaviour among peoples of different cultural backgrounds. He also did considerable research in comparative and historical linguistics. A poet, an essayist, and a composer, as well as a brilliant scholar, Sapir wrote in a crisp and lucid fashion that earned him considerable literary repute.

      His publications include Language (1921), which was most influential, and a collection of essays, Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality (1949).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SAPIR, EDWARD — (1884–1939), U.S. ethnographer, anthropologist, and linguist. Born in Lauenburg, Germany, Sapir, the son of an Orthodox rabbi, was taken to the U.S. in 1889. He was educated in New York and in Germany. He studied with franz boas , and it was Boas …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sapir,Edward — Sa·pir (sə pîrʹ), Edward. 1884 1939. American linguist and anthropologist noted for his studies of Native American languages and his theories on the ways in which language shapes our perceptions. * * * …   Universalium

  • Sapir, Edward — (1884 1939)    American anthro pologist. Born in Lauenberg, Germany, he went to the US at the age of five. He studied at Columbia University and became chief of the Division of Anthropology in the Geological Survey of the Canadian National Museum …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Sapir, Edward — ► (1884 1939) Lingüista y antropólogo estadounidense. Fundador de la etnolingüística. Sus estudios en la Universidad de Colombia con Franz Boas le atrajeron al campo de la antropología lingüística. El lenguaje, obra publicada en 1921, es una… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Сепир Эдвард / Sapir, Edward — (1884 1939). Изучение языка американских индейцев стало существенным вкладом Сепира в зарождавшуюся лингвистическую антропологию …   Психологическая энциклопедия

  • Sapir — Sapir, Edward …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • SAPIR (E.) — SAPIR EDWARD (1884 1939) Né en Allemagne, Edward Sapir vient très jeune aux États Unis où il fait d’abord des études d’allemand puis d’anthropologie et de linguistique (à New York puis à Columbia University). Sapir étudie alors les langues… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Edward Sapir — Infobox Scientist name = Edward Sapir box width = image width = caption = Edward Sapir. Photograph by Florence M. Hendershot, Chicago, Ill. birth date = birth date|1884|1|26|mf=y birth place = Lauenburg, Prussia death date = death date and… …   Wikipedia

  • Sapir–Whorf hypothesis — In linguistics, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (SWH) (also known as the linguistic relativity hypothesis ) postulates a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands… …   Wikipedia

  • Edward Sapir — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sapir. Edward Sapir Linguiste occidental XXe siècle …   Wikipédia en Français


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