Lupine Sapir-Whorf allusions

(That’s the adjective /lúpàjn/; the noun referring to a flower in the pea family is /lúpǝn/ — but this is not the Lupine Express.)

Francis Barlow’s illustration of the fable, 1687

Today’s morning name: the phrase the boy who cried Whorf. A paranomasic play — wolf vs. Whorf — on the boy who cried wolf, as in the Aesop fable, alluding to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis on the relationship between language and thought.

Oh, I thought on coming to full consciousness, surely someone has messed Whorfianly with the formulaic phrase.

And so they had; here I’ve just picked the first one that came up in googling: the heading The boy who cried Whorf, in Anthropology for Dummies by Cameron M. Smith, p. 48.

Then I tried some other formulaic expressions (again picking just one occurrence, the first one to come before my eyes):

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?: my first hit here was especially nice, since I know the author: “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Whorf? Crosslinguistic Differences in Temporal Language and Thought” by Daniel Casasanto, in the journal Language Learning. I first encountered DC via my Stanford grad student Laura Staum (now Laura Staum Casasanto).

keep the wolf from the door: from the Word Worry Will blog, “Keeping the Whorf from the door” by Bill Collopy on 11/2/12.

a wolf in sheep’s clothing: “a Whorf in sheep’s clothing”, in Shared Reality: What Makes Us Strong and Tears Us Apart by E. Tory Higgins, p. 12.

No doubt there are other wolfs that have morphed into Whorfs.

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