3 Replies to “Rediscovering Benjamin Lee Whorf”

  1. I taught Whorf’s ideas in a number of courses. Some of Whorf’s early work was done in collections held by the Watkinson library in the Wadsworth Atheneum. He supposedly stopped in while walking to and from work between Hartford and Wethersfield. The Watkinson Library is now at Trinity College. Materials related to Whorf are collected together there, including, as I recall, a rare document from Mexico that someone had photocopied for Whorf.

  2. Jim, thanks for this great article! What a fascinating figure. In addition to his theory of linguistic relativity, I believe Whorf was first to propose that the Mayan hieroglyphics had phonetic value in a paper, “The Phonetic Value of Certain Characters in Mayan Writing,” published in 1933 by the Peabody Museum. The idea was quickly dismissed by more influential scholars but, when the hieroglyphics were deciphered in the 1980s, the glyphs were discovered to also record a spoken language.

  3. Jim, your piece on Benjamin Lee Whorf was truly engaging! It brilliantly delved into linguistic complexities and Whorf’s unexpected career, sparking thoughts about balancing work and personal pursuits. Great exploration!

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