1936 GMP E. Sapir

1936 GMP EDWARD SAPIR

GOLD MEDAL OF PHILOLOGY 1936


Edward Sapir (January 26, 1884 February 4, 1939) was an American anthropologist-linguist, who is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in the early development of the discipline of linguistics.

With his linguistic background, Sapir became the one student of Boas to develop most completely the relationship between linguistics and anthropology. Sapir studied the ways in which language and culture influence each other, and he was interested in the relation between linguistic differences, and differences in cultural world views. This part of his thinking was developed by his student Benjamin Lee Whorf into the principle of linguistic relativity or the "Sapir-Whorf" hypothesis. In anthropology Sapir is known as an early proponent of the importance of psychology to anthropology, maintaining that studying the nature of relationships between different individual personalities is important for the ways in which culture and society develop.

Among his major contributions to linguistics is his classification of Indigenous languages of the Americas, upon which he elaborated for most of his professional life. He played an important role in developing the modern concept of the phoneme, greatly advancing the understanding of phonology.


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