Rather odd that you should mention Sapir-Whorf. I was just emailing a well-known science fiction writer about that very thing.
To me, the Whorfian hypothesis has always seemed related to the Lacanian idea of deferred action memory. One difference is that Lacan's idea is actually correct: He rightly identifies memories which are seemingly impossible to locate until some other cluster of memories makes the missing ones suddenly available (this can be as true in historical writing and literary criticism as it is in psychology and linguistics). Whereas S-W is disproved every time someone correctly identifies and describes a thing for which they had had no specific word.
Originally Posted by theducks
If you have ever walked the halls at M$ in Mountain View, you would hear languages and accents from all over the world (+ advanced geek
). String an 'English' sentence together might be hard for some.
Whatever you might think of Meisler's syntax in expository writing = coding
thesis, it's unfair to refute an argument he's not actually making. Meisler hasn't ever
advanced the depressing and xenophobic idea that English is the only language in which a logical person may express ideas gracefully -- if he had, I wouldn't have linked to him.
In terms of your example of multilingual coders with special difficulties in English, Meisler is arguing that, for example, an English-challenged Russian or Indonesian coder might be a perfectly graceful writer in their native language and that that
is what matters. No one should presume that English is normative and the only logical language (particularly when it's far less logical than many others -- French, Italian, Romanian, etc.). Meisler's point is that being able to write and think well in at least one language is mandatory, not that the language in which one thinks need be his alone.