Concept

Standard Average European

Summary
Standard Average European (SAE) is a concept introduced in 1939 by American linguist Benjamin Whorf to group the modern Indo-European languages of Europe with shared common features. Whorf argued that the SAE languages were characterized by a number of similarities, including syntax and grammar, vocabulary and its use, as well as the relationship between contrasting words and their origins, idioms, and word order, which all made them stand out from many other language groups around the world which do not share these similarities, in essence creating a continental sprachbund. His point was to argue that the disproportionate degree of knowledge of SAE languages biased linguists towards considering grammatical forms to be highly natural or even universal, when in fact they were only peculiar to the SAE language group. Whorf contrasted what he called the SAE tense system (which contrasts past, present and future tenses) with that of the Hopi language of North America, which Whorf analyze
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