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 age|1939|2|4|1884|1|26|mf=y
death_place = New Haven, CT, United States
residence =
citizenship = flagicon|USA American
nationality =
ethnicity =
field = Linguistics, Anthropology
work_institutions = University of Chicago
Columbia University
Yale University
alma_mater = Columbia University
doctoral_advisor =
doctoral_students =
known_for = Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
author_abbrev_zoo =
prizes =
religion = Jewish
footnotes =

Edward Sapir (IPAEng|səˈpɪər), (January 26 1884 – February 4 1939) was a Jewish-German-American anthropologist-linguist, a leader in American structural linguistics, and one of the creators of what is now called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. He is arguably the most influential figure in American linguistics, influencing several generations of linguists across several schools of linguistics.

Life and work

Sapir was born in Lauenburg in Pomerania to an orthodox Jewish family.

He received both a B.A. (1904) and an M.A. (1905) in Germanic philology from Columbia, but his linguistic interests proved to be much broader.

In the next two years he took up studies of the Wishram and Takelma languages of Southwestern Oregon, and received his Ph.D. in anthropology in 1909.

While a graduate student at Columbia he met his mentor, anthropologist Franz Boas, who was probably the person who provided the most initial impetus for Sapir's study of indigenous languages of the Americas.

He arranged Sapir's employment in 1907-08 researching the nearly extinct Yana language of northern California, to which he returned briefly in 1915 to work with Ishi, the monolingual last surviving speaker of Yahi (southern Yana).

In the years 1910-1925 he built and directed the Anthropological Division in the Geological Survey of Canada, in Ottawa. When he was first hired, he and Marius Barbeau were the only two, and the first two, full-time anthropologists in Canada.

Among the many accomplishments of this very productive period are a substantial series of publications on Nootka and other languages, and his seminal book "Language" (1921), still important today and eminently readable.

As he was leaving for a teaching position at the University of Chicago, one of very few research universities then in the United States, he enabled Leonard Bloomfield to obtain support from Ottawa to do fieldwork on Cree, essential to his project of historical reconstruction in Algonkian.

Bloomfield moved to Chicago in 1927 to teach Germanic languages. It appears (Darnell 268-272) that they were congenial but not close. From 1931 to his death Sapir was at Yale University, where he became the head of the Department of Anthropology.

He was one of the first who explored the relations between language studies and anthropology. His students include Fang-kuei Li, Benjamin Whorf, Mary Haas, and Harry Hoijer, but it was one not formally his student who he came to regard as his intellectual heir, a young Semiticist named Zellig Harris (who for a time dated his daughter).

Some suggestions of Sapir about the influence of language on the ways in which people think were adopted and developed by Whorf, initially while he was substitute teaching in the classroom during Sapir's illness. It was felt that stimulating and challenging ideas would attract students to this fledgling field. During the 1940s and later this became known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Some support may be found in late work of Harris.

Sapir died of heart problems in New Haven, Connecticut, on February 4, 1939, at age 55.

His special focus among American languages was in the Athabaskan languages, a family which especially fascinated him: "Dene is probably the son-of-a-bitchiest language in America to actually "know"...most fascinating of all languages ever invented" (Krauss 1986:157).

Among the languages and cultures studied by Sapir are Wishram Chinook, Navajo, Nootka, Paiute, Takelma, and Yana.

Although noted for his work on American linguistics, he was also prolific in linguistics in general, as depicted by his book "Language", which provides everything from a grammar-typological classification of languages (with examples ranging from Chinese to Nootka) to speculation on the phenomenon of Language drift and the arbitrariness of associations between language, race, and culture. He was a pioneer of the Yiddish (his native language) studies in the United States (cf. Notes on Judeo-German phonology, 1915).

He was also involved in the international auxiliary language movement. In his paper [http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5037/sapir.html "The Function of an International Auxiliary Language"] , Sapir argued for the benefits of a regular grammar and advocated a critical focus on the fundamentals of language, unbiased by the idiosyncrasies of national languages, in the choice of an international auxiliary language.

He was the first Research Director of the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA), which presented Interlingua in 1951. He directed the Association from 1930 to 1931, and was a member of its Consultative Counsel for Linguistic Research from 1927 to 1938. [F. Peter Gopsill. "International languages: A matter for Interlingua". British Interlingua Society, 1990.] Sapir consulted with Alice Vanderbilt Morris to develop the research program of IALA. [Falk, Julia S. "Words without grammar: Linguists and the international language movement in the United States, "Language and Communication", 15(3): pp. 241-259. Pergamon, 1995.]

elected publications

Books

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Herder's "Ursprung der Sprache"
publisher = University of Chicago Press
date = 1907
location = Chicago
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ASIN: B0006CWB2W

* Citation
first = Edward
last = Sapir
author-link =
first2 =
last2 =
author2-link =
editor-last = Modi
editor-first = Jivanji Jamshedji
editor2-last =
editor2-first =
contribution = On the etymology of Sanskrit asru, Avestan asru, Greek dakru
contribution-url =
title = Spiegel memorial volume. Papers on Iranian subjects written by various scholars in honour of the late Dr. Frederic Spiegel
year = 1908
pages = 156–159
place = Bombay
publisher = British India Press
url =
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors = Curtin, Jeremiah
title = Wishram texts, together with Wasco tales and myths
publisher = E.J. Brill
date = 1909
location =
pages =
url = http://www.archive.org/details/wishramtexts00sapirich
doi =
id = ASIN: B000855RIW

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Yana Texts
publisher = Berkeley University Press
date = 1910
location =
pages =
url = http://www.archive.org/details/yanatexts00sapirich
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A sketch of the social organization of the Nass River Indians
publisher = Government Printing Office
date = 1915
location = Ottawa
pages =
url = http://www.archive.org/details/sketchofsocialor00sapiiala
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Noun reduplication in Comox, a Salish language of Vancouver island
publisher = Government Printing Office
date = 1915
location = Ottawa
pages =
url = http://www.archive.org/details/nounreduplicatio00sapirich
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Time Perspective in Aboriginal American Culture, A Study in Method
publisher = Government Printing Bureau
date = 1916
location = Ottawa
pages =
url = http://www.archive.org/details/timeperspectivei00sapirich
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Dreams and Gibes
publisher = The Gorham Press
date = 1917
location = Boston
pages =
url = http://www.archive.org/details/dreamsgibes00sapirich
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Language: An introduction to the study of speech
publisher = Harcourt, Brace and company
date = 1921
location = New York
pages =
url = http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/12629
doi =
id = ASIN: B000NGWX8I

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors = Swadesh, Morris
title = Nootka Texts: Tales and ethnological narratives, with grammatical notes and lexical materials
publisher = Linguistic Society of America
date = 1939
location = Philadelphia
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ASIN: B000EB54JC

* Citation
first = Edward
last = Sapir
authorlink =
editor-last = Mandelbaum
editor-first = David
editor2-last =
editor2-first =
contribution =
title = Selected writings in language, culture and personality
pages =
publisher = University of California Press
year = 1949
location = Berkeley
url =
doi =
id = ASIN: B000PX25CS
accessdate =

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors = Irvine, Judith
title = The psychology of culture: A course of lectures
publisher = Walter de Gruyter
date = 2002
location = Berlin
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 978-3110172829

Essays and articles

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Preliminary report on the language and mythology of the Upper Chinook
journal = American Anthropologist
volume =
issue = 9
pages = 533–544
date = 1907
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Some fundamental characteristics of the Ute language
journal = Science
volume =
issue = 31
pages = 350–352
date = 1910
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Some aspects of Nootka language and culture
journal = American Anthropologist
volume =
issue = 13
pages = 15–28
date = 1911
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = The problem of noun incorporation in American languages
journal = American Anthropologist
volume =
issue = 13
pages = 250–282
date = 1911
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = The Na-dene languages: a preliminary report
journal = American Anthropologist
volume =
issue = 17
pages = 765–773
date = 1915
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Do we need a superorganic?
journal = American Anthropologist
volume =
issue = 19
pages = 441–447
date = 1917
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = The grammarian and his language
journal = The American Mercury
volume =
issue = 1
pages = 149–155
date = 1924
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Culture, Genuine and Spurious
journal = The American Journal of Sociology
volume = 29
issue = 4
pages = 401–429
date = 1924
url =
doi =10.1086/213616
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Memorandum on the problem of an international auxiliary language
journal = The Romanic Review
volume =
issue = 16
pages = 244–256
date = 1925
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Sound patterns in language
journal = Language
volume =
issue = 1
pages = 37–51
date = 1925
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = The function of an international auxiliary language
journal = Psyche
volume =
issue = 11
pages = 4–15
date = 1931
url = http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5037/sapir.html
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Internal linguistic evidence suggestive of the Northern origin of the Navaho
journal = American Anthropologist
volume =
issue = 38
pages = 224–235
date = 1936
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Grading: a study in semantics
journal = Philosophy of Science
volume =
issue = 11
pages = 93–116
date = 1944
url =
doi =
id =

* cite journal
last = Sapir
first = Edward
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = The relation of American Indian linguistics to general linguistics
journal = Southwestern Journal of Anthropology
volume =
issue = 1
pages = 1–4
date = 1947
url =
doi =
id =

Bibliographies

* cite book
last = Koerner
first = E. F. K.
authorlink =
coauthors = Koerner, Konrad
title = Edward Sapir: Appraisals of his life and work
publisher = John Benjamins
date = 1985
location = Amsterdam
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 978-9027245182

* cite book
last = Cowan
first = William
authorlink =
coauthors = Foster, Michael K.; Koerner, Konrad
title = New perspectives in language, culture, and personality: Proceedings of the Edward Sapir Centenary Conference (Ottawa, 1-3 October 1984)
publisher = John Benjamins
date = 1986
location = Amsterdam
pages =
url =
doi =
id =

* cite book
last = Darnell
first = Regna
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Edward Sapir: linguist, anthropoligist, humanist
publisher = University of California Press
date = 1989
location = Berkeley
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 978-0520066786

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors = Bright, William
title = Southern Paiute and Ute: linguistics and ethnography
publisher = Walter de Gruyter
date = 1992
location = Berlin
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 978-3110135435

* cite book
last = Sapir
first = Edward
authorlink =
coauthors = Darnell, Regna; Irvine, Judith T.; Handler, Richard
title = The collected works of Edward Sapir: culture
publisher = Walter de Gruyter
date = 1999
location = Berlin
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 978-3110126396

References

External links

* [http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/biomems/esapir.html National Academy of Sciences biography]
* [http://www.bartleby.com/people/Sapir-Ed.html Edward Sapir Collection at Bartleby.com ] at www.bartleby.com
* [http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Sapir/Documents.html Robert Throop and Lloyd Gordon Ward: Mead Project 2.0 ] at spartan.ac.brocku.ca
*http://www.yale.edu/linguist/Sapir.html
* [http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/pqrst/sapir_edward.html Edward Sapir ] at www.mnsu.edu
* [http://www.interlingua.com/historia/biographias/sapir.htm Interlingua: Communication Sin Frontiera. Biographia, Edward Sapir]
*
* [http://www.sapir.ac.il ìéîåãé ðéäåì, ëìëìä , òéöåá, äðãñàé, îùàáé àðåù - îëììú ñôéø ] at www.sapir.ac.il Sapir College

Persondata
NAME=Sapir, Edward
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American linguist and anthropologist
DATE OF BIRTH=birth date|1884|1|26|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=Lauenburg, Prussia (now Lębork, Poland)
DATE OF DEATH=death date|1939|2|4|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH=New Haven, Connecticut


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Edward Sapir — um 1910 Edward Sapir (IPA: [/səˈpiɹ/]) (* 26. Januar 1884 in Lauenburg i. Pom.; † 4. Februar 1939 in New Haven) war ein US amerikanischer Ethnologe, Lingui …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward Sapir — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Edward Sapir (1884 1939) fue un antropólogo lingüista estadounidense. Es una de las figuras de referencia de la lingüística estructural, y uno de los creadores de la hipótesis de Sapir Whorf. Nació en Lauenburg,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Edward Sapir — (1884 1939) fue un antropólogo lingüista estadounidense, un líder en la lingüística estructural, y uno de los creadores de la hipótesis de Sapir Whorf. Nació en Lauenburg, Alemania. Fue el pupilo de Franz Boas, profesor de Benjamín Whorf. Enseñó… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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

  • Edward Sapir — noun anthropologist and linguist; studied languages of North American Indians (1884 1939) • Syn: ↑Sapir • Instance Hypernyms: ↑anthropologist, ↑linguist, ↑linguistic scientist …   Useful english dictionary

  • 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

  • Sapir — may refer to:*Places **Sapir, Israel, a moshav in Israel*People **Edward Sapir, American anthropologist linguist **Pinchas Sapir, Israeli politician and minister:incompletelist …   Wikipedia

  • Sapir — ist der Name folgender Personen: André Sapir (* 1950), belgischer Wirtschaftswissenschaftler Edward Sapir (1884–1939), US amerikanischer Ethnologe und Linguist Pinchas Sapir (1906–1975), israelischer Politiker der Arbeitspartei und Minister …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sapir — Эдуард Сепир (англ. Edward Sapir, 26 января 1884 4 февраля 1939)  американский лингвист и этнолог. Содержание 1 Биография 2 Лингвистические достижения 3 Сочинения …   Википедия

  • 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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”