Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Sapphire Wolf

I have friended ozarque the lj of Suzette Haden-Elgin, the linguistic SF writer. She is a gentle, intelligent elder. Nice to see people like that coming onto lj.

A well-known idea in the philosophy of language is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. This is the claim that ideas within a culture are structured (or even limited) by the words which are available to express them. It's kind of almost corny in linguistics. Anyway, you can imagine that it's a key idea in stories about translation, in particular translation between alien languages.

Anyway, someone in the comments to the ozarque journal refers to it as the Sapphire Wolf hypothesis. It must be the same thing. I'm not posting this to mock the person. I just think it's wonderful that a linguistics theory has gained its own identity, and with a name that's so... non-academic. But obviously we know what they mean. Hey - is this self referential or what?

'Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' is a short story by Borges, where Berkleyan idealism is true, and people's ideas about the world can alter physical reality. Combine that with Sapphire Wolf (er, Sapir-Whorf) and you have this story: 'Prisoners of Uqbaristan' in which language is the basis of global war. And with Borges on their side, the Argentines are winning.

As the Argentine anarchist says in Gravity's Rainbow 'I am the Gaucho Bakunin', 'No, you're more like the Gaucho Marx'

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