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Rhetorical Implications of Linguistic Relativity

Theory and Application to Chinese and Taiwanese Interlanguages


Kristopher Kowal

Popular readings of Benjamin Lee Whorf's «principle of linguistic relativity» focus almost exclusively on the controversial notion that language constrains or determines thought. Recent scholarship has only begun to assess the creative epistemological and pragmatic dimensions of Whorf's theory of language, and their compatibility with the ideas of his contemporaries in rhetoric, philosophy, and psychology. This book provides a new reading of Whorf which situates his writings among those of Bakhtin, Vygotsky, and Wittgenstein. Exploring the ramifications of linguistic relativity for rhetorical theory, the philosophy of language, and interlingual discourse analysis, the author re-accentuates Whorf's belief in the need to overcome linguacentrism and ethnocentrism through an «enlightened multilingual awareness».