Benjamin Lee Whorf

Benjamin Lee Whorf was a successful business specialist employed by the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. He was also a language philosopher and visionary. Here is an excerpt from a research proposal he wrote:
The next step will be to use these principles in working out the primitive underlying basis of all speech behavior. This will amount to laying the foundations of a new science, and although this consummation lies some little time in the future I feel that it is quite distinctly in sight. Still further ahead are the possible applications of such a science restoring a possible original common language of the human race or in perfecting an ideal natural tongue constructed of the original psychological significance of sounds, perhaps a future common speech into which all our varied languages may be assimilated, or putting it differently, to whose terms they may all be reduced. This may seem at the present time very visionary, but it would be no more remarkable than what science has already done in other fields when it has got hold of sound principles to point the way, and I believe my work is tending to unfold such principles. And with the ultimate development of these researches will come manifestation of the deeper psychological, symbolic, and philosophical sense contained in the cosmology of the Bible, the starting point and original inspiration of these studies.
That quote from Language, Thought, and Reality. Whorf may be referring to a work The Hebraic Tongue Restored by Fabre DeOlivet.
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Last Updated Jul 02 2019
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