A Short History of Linguistics - TEXTETC
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (the 'Korzybski' annexation came later) claims that the structure of a language defines the way a person behaves and thinks, must surely have it wrong according to many cognitive scientists, including Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker, and others. Although the basic hypothesis of linguistic determinism surely has flaws, one should not overly criticize the first people who began thinking about this interesting subject. After all the subject refers to a hypothesis, not a theory, and certainly not fact (yet).
A brief history of twentieth-century linguistics
In the case of Robert Wilson's article on E-prime, perhaps he could have avoided the confusion by not mentioning the Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski Hypothesis at all (of course Wilson wrote this long before Pinker et al, so lets not blame him for lack of prophetic powers). After all, the weak interpretation doesn't require it, and I think the reader will surely understand that if you don't have the words to describe your ideas, then you simply can't convey your ideas to others (at least not through language). Moreover, if you use words that convey false ideas, then you can't help but create errors in communication. Wilson's take on the Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski Hypothesis and his analogy of GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT refers to the software (the words and beliefs), and not the firmware (the language instinct). He implies a weak view of the hypothesis. In the case of E-prime, the user attempts to get rid of unnecessary and misleading words. This has nothing at all to do with changing the basic underlying structure of language. If you use the wrong words to convey your ideas, you will almost certainly guarantee wrong answers, which could lead others into believing falsehoods.
Theargument made by Eric Lenneberg against the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is that“linguistic and non-linguistic events must be separately observed and describedbefore they can be correlated” (Carroll, 1956:28).He argues that there is no way to definelanguage as influencing thought when there is no distinction between these twoevents and that the evidence which supports language as influencing thought isbased purely on linguistic differences.