The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and 37 Snows

I've heard this concept batted around dorm rooms my entire semi-adult life, but I until now not had the words for it.  The hypothesis in brief: given that one thinks in the language he speaks, do the limitations of that language become the limitations of his thought?  

The common (and discredited) example is that the Chinese have a weakness for hypotheticals because their language lacks a subjective voice.  A more positive example would be that the Eskimo have a greater appreciation for the nuances of snow because they have 37 words for the stuff to our English uno.  This is also a myth (both the idea that the Eskimo only speak one language, that we have only one snow, and that they have many words for it/them).  

Still, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis endures despite no real evidence in part because it seems right in the mind, because the extreme opposite example (language has no impact) has no tread,  and because most everyone can think of a personal example.  In much the same way that a particularly good poem can isolate an emotion that must preexist (if it is to be noticed and universal), a particularly good word may make a rough, complex gist simple and clear.  

Some good words: agape, updo, piquant, lackadaisical, pork barrel, political correctness, jumbo shrimp, democracy, bias, tetris. 

A good word overused starts behaving badly.  The verb 'to be' is somewhat useful, but it can often lead to passivity or aggressive overstatement (consider the nuance: 'Superbad is the best' vs. 'I like Superbad the best').  E-Prime is an English variant that eliminates the word to be in most cases.  This might sound foolish (give them to be and they'll be after I next), but if you agreed with Sapir-Whorf then you must agree with E-Prime's intent.  And it does not half-bad sound.  

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