Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

From an article in the New York Times by Guy Deutscher, describing linguistics view of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, seventy years on. Taken from his book Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. Spotted on Lambda the Ultimate.
For instance, some languages, like Matses in Peru, oblige their speakers, like the finickiest of lawyers, to specify exactly how they came to know about the facts they are reporting. You cannot simply say, as in English, “An animal passed here.” You have to specify, using a different verbal form, whether this was directly experienced (you saw the animal passing), inferred (you saw footprints), conjectured (animals generally pass there that time of day), hearsay or such. If a statement is reported with the incorrect “evidentiality,” it is considered a lie. So if, for instance, you ask a Matses man how many wives he has, unless he can actually see his wives at that very moment, he would have to answer in the past tense and would say something like “There were two last time I checked.” After all, given that the wives are not present, he cannot be absolutely certain that one of them hasn’t died or run off with another man since he last saw them, even if this was only five minutes ago. So he cannot report it as a certain fact in the present tense.
I wish all scientists were trained in this language!

Just scientists? I think this language should be made everybody's first language!
Is it just language, or can terminology also shape how you think?

I posited this idea in a community of mine and was lambasted, the linguists saying that Sapir-Whorf was a fools errand.
Reminds me of the "Stranger In A Strange Land" fair witnesses.
Well yeah, Sapir-Whorf has indeed been pretty much discredited. For an analysis of this latest re-incarnation, check here:

Reminds me of Gulliver's Travels when he meets the horse-people (Houyhnhnms) and they don't have a way to lie in their language.
The linguuistic is very interesting."The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc [English Socialism], but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought--that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc--should be literally unthinkable, at least as far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect method. This was done partly by the invention of new words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever...A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no more know that ‘equal' had once had the secondary meaning of "politically equal," or that ‘free' had once meant "intellectually free," than, for instance, a person who had never heard of chess would be aware of the secondary meanings attaching to ‘queen' or ‘rook.' There would be many crimes and errors which it would be beyond his power to commit, simply because they were nameless and therefore unimaginable."
The Peruvian grammar issue you're talking about has a linguistic name - "degree of belief" particle.

I first discovered it studying Inuit languages. Then discovered a slightly different form in Algonquin. Then I discovered it again studying Quecha - the Mayan language. It's a grammatical structure that appears to have withstood the test of time as indians migrated from Bering sea to South America. There is no degree of belief particle in Japanese or Chinese or Russian - so I'm not sure where the grammar started.

Sapir-Whorf has been discredited as your readers note. But I suspect just as Lamarck is coming in vogue again (repurposed as "genetic assimilation" in evolution and apparently wholly unexpected by the Darwinists) so will Sapir-Whorf.
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