Applying The Theory Of Linguistic Relativity To Music: An Initial Exploration

Caitlin Mannion, Elvira Sanatullova-Allison, Marat Sanatullov


Language and music are essential facets of the human experience and, as such, are unique in being ubiquitous throughout cultures. This paper is a new attempt to apply the theory of linguistic relativity, which holds that language and culture are mutually reflective and generative, to the relationship between music and culture. Since both language and music are communicative devices and often affect one another, this paper compares and contrasts these two cultural products as well as suggests implications for further exploration of the interface of these two universal social constructs and the human cultures which produced them. The discussion entertained and the conclusions drawn in this paper may be of particular interest and value to a spectrum of scholars and practitioners ranging from linguists and musicologists to language and music educators.



Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis; Cultural Theory; Musical Relativity; Folk Music; Communication

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ISSN: 1792-2518
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