Edward Sapir

Edward Sapir (January 26th 1884 – February 4th 1939) was a Jewish anthropologist-linguist who cornered the developing discipline of linguistics in America. Sapir was born in Lauenburg in the Province of Pomerania into a family of Jews born in Lithuania. His father, Jacob David Sapir, worked as a cantor and the family’s first language was Yiddish. In 1888, when Sapir was four years old, the family moved to Liverpool, England, and in 1890 to the United States, to Richmond, Virginia. He studied Germanic linguistics at Columbia, where he was guided by fellow tribesman Franz Boas. Sapir argued that all of the world’s languages have equal aesthetic potentials and grammatical complexity. Therefore his argument must be that all the worlds’ races have equal potential. To justify this global ability must be levelled to the lowest common denominator. Sapir was also active in the international auxiliary language movement. The term is used to refer to planned or constructed languages proposed specifically to universalise the use of language across the globe. It is on par with the eradication of racial and cultural diversity.

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