This article explains Benjamin Whorf’s theory of language and the controversies surrounding it. It also gives some interesting examples that support Whorf’s position based on new research about geography and space. Whorf announced Native American languages impose on their speakers a picture of reality that is totally different from ours, so their speakers would simply not be able to understand some of our most basic concepts, like the flow of time or the distinction between objects (like “stone”) and actions (like “fall”). For decades, Whorf’s theory dazzled both academics and the general public alike. In his shadow, others made a whole range of imaginative claimsRead More →

The word “hygge” does not translate into English. What conclusions can you draw about cultural differences based on the idea that there is no English word for “hygge”? How ‘hygge’ can help you get through winter Denmark is the happiest country on Earth, according to the United Nations, which may seem odd for a small, subarctic kingdom where the winter sun often sets before 4 p.m. Yet Danes are almost defiantly merry. Not only did their country rank No. 1 in both the 2013 U.N. The vague cultural concept doesn’t translate easily into English, but it has helped Denmark become the ‘happiest country on Earth’Read More →