Whorf, Benjamin Lee, 1897-1941

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1897-04-24
Death 1941-07-26
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Linguist: received a Social Science Research Fellowship for a field trip to Mexico, 1930; studied at Yale University with Edward Sapir, 1931-1936; lecturer on anthropology at Yale, 1937-1938; author of numerous articles on languages, linguistics, science and religion.

From the description of Benjamin Lee Whorf papers, 1914-1957 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145078609

From the description of Benjamin Lee Whorf papers, 1898-1957 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702182476

Benjamin Lee Whorf, linguist: born 1897, received a Social Science Research Fellowship for a field trip to Mexico, 1930; studied at Yale University with Edward Sapir, 1931-1936; lecturer on anthropology at Yale, 1937-1938; author of numerous articles on languages, linguistics, science and religion, died 1941.

Benjamin Lee Whorf had a brief but important career as a pioneering scholar of the Nahuatl, Maya, and Hopi languages and as a theoretician about the influence of language on thought and perception. Researchers should consult Language, Thought, and Reality for a biographical sketch and bibliography by John B. Carroll,¹ but these are some principal events and periods in his life:

  • 1897: born in Winthrop, Massachusetts
  • 1918: received the B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1919 - 1941 : employed as a fire prevention engineer by the Hartford Fire Insurance Company
  • 1920: married Celia Inez Peckham
  • [1924 - 1928] : studied Hebrew
  • 1925: wrote "Why I Have Discarded Evolution"
  • 1928: read "Aztec Linguistics" and "An Aztec Account of the Period of the Toltec Decline" at the Twenty-Third International Congress of Americanists
  • 1930: took a field trip to Mexico, supported by the Social Science Research Council
  • 1931: began studies with Edward Sapir at Yale University
  • 1932: began his linguistic analysis of Hopi
  • 1933: published The Phonetic Basis of Certain Characters in Maya Writing
  • 1936: published his first article on Hopi, "The punctual and segmentative aspects of Hopi," in Language
  • 1937 - 1938 : was a Lecturer in Anthropology at Yale
  • 1940 - 1941 : published three articles for a non-professional audience in Technology Review
  • 1941: died on July 26 after some months' illness

¹Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, Comp. John B. Carroll, (Cambridge, Mass.: The M. I. T. Press, 1956).

From the guide to the Benjamin Lee Whorf papers, 1898-1971, (Manuscripts and Archives)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w68k7v96
Ark ID:
w68k7v96
SNAC ID:
10534229

Subjects:

  • Indians of Mexico--Languages
  • Nahuatl language
  • Aztec language
  • Semitic languages
  • Mayan languages--Writing
  • Language and languages
  • Mayas--Writing
  • Linguistics
  • Mayan languages
  • Hopi language
  • Religion and science--1926-1945
  • Indians of Central America--Social life and customs
  • Anthropology--Research--United States
  • Hebrew language
  • Indians of North America
  • Indians of Mexico--Social life and customs
  • Indians of Central America--Languages

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)