In what all Languages can you do your thinking? and why?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by geek, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. geek Registered Member

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    So what are thoughts, really................fragments of language?
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    My native language is English so that's the one I use for thinking. I have studied a few others and I can carry on a conversation in some of them, but my vocabulary is small. It would severely constrain my thoughts.

    Alzheimer's does not affect all the areas of the brain equally. So as I continue to age, perhaps I'll find it easier and more useful to think in Spanish or Esperanto.
     
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  5. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    Have you ever considered, what are deaf people's dreams like? I mean those who have never heard, and may be young enough not to have been trained in any language? I suppose they are an action montage, but I don't know. Any thoughts? Similar to the OP.
     
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  7. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Not all of my thoughts are in words. Some are images.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The internet ought to be a paradise for the deaf. I wonder if we have any deaf members.

    On the other hand, despite being an extremely verbally-oriented person, my dreams are not dominated by speech.

    I wonder if deaf people dream in ASL? I know that reading and writing seldom occur in dreams because they use a part of the brain that is almost never activated during sleep.

    It's been said that you can consider yourself to have learned a foreign language well if it appears in your dreams. This means that you are actually thinking in that language. Apparently translation is another process that uses a part of the brain that's dormant.
     
  9. geek Registered Member

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    Our thoughts are more in a language we are most familiar with, and vice versa. ie we cant think in latin if we dont know the language.

    Means,Even if someone has the intellect/capacity to think, we cant actually think or plan if we dont know/ been taught a language. we'd just be relyin on our reflexes always......

    To humanity, what'd have come first? thoughts(the key to intelligence and science) or language?
     
  10. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    English, French and Classical Myuunian.
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You don't need language to think, but language helps you think more intricately. Obviously a lot of thought goes into planning physical activities.

    Musicians, carpenters, sculptors, obviously many people spend much of their day thinking in ways other than language.

    Fortunately we've been able to observe this phenomenon by teaching ASL (American Sign Language) to our closest relatives, the chimpanzees and gorillas.

    In the wild they perform very complicated, coordinated tasks, so it's clear that they're thinking. When they learn ASL, they can share their thoughts with others. This makes the entire community stronger.

    Anthropologists and archeologists say it's very likely that the technology of spoken language was invented about 70KYA. This is when we see an explosion of complicated, coordinated activities that could not possibly have been performed by people who were also using their hands to signal.

    It's interesting that only 10,000 years later, humans finally migrated out of Africa and established communities that survived and prospered. In a strange place with different weather, food, predators, etc.--that would be difficult to do without speech.
     
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know if it qualifies as a language but understanding (as opposed to symbol manipulation) and thought formation takes place at a deeper level than any spoken language. Fraggle gave one piece of evidence for this POV: "Fortunately we've been able to observe this phenomenon by teaching ASL (American Sign Language) to our closest relatives, the chimpanzees and gorillas." The apes give strong evidence of complex planning / thoughts with no spoken "surface" language as they too have a "deep language." For example after some futile attempts to get some bananas tied to the ceiling of their cage by leaping up, will assemble from available objects in, or even outside their cage they can reach, into a platform they can climb higher on. etc.

    Other strong support for idea that thought / understanding takes place a deeper than surface language level come from people who are fluent bi-lingually. They may learn something from the radio or in a newspaper and then cease to hear or read it and only minutes later can not tell you which of their surface languages communicated the new information to them. Their "surface language" is just an information vehicle, like a book.

    Except for formal symbol manipulation processes, surface languages are much like books - ways your deeper language ideas and thoughts can be expressed to others. You would not say type on a page is a thought process. Nor should you say a surface language is part of your thought process, although because you don't have any conscious access to the true level of your thoughts, it seems like you are thinking in your surfaces language (or one of them if you have several)
     
  13. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I have no "language" that I use when thinking, my synapses are firing away combining themselves with others forming thoughts.
     
  14. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, that is obvious to those of us who have tried to read your post.

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    Does it sound anything like this:


    [video=youtube;SdA2CJ_WJeM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdA2CJ_WJeM[/video]
     
  15. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    As stated by others thinking doesn't require language, in fact language is an "after touch" to confirm a decision. I've asked the question here before out of curiousity what percentage of members hear an internal monologue when living day to day, compared to those that hear nothing but just act on instinct alone, the results were mixed. I'm still pretty sure that a monologue output is a sign of an external influence.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I think this is a case of "everybody's different." When I'm not occupied with a physical task, a non-stop monologue takes place in my mind. Sometimes it veers off into other languages, typically reviewing something I just "said" in English using the paradigms of another language.

    The more different the better, which is why it's often in Chinese. Although Chinese syntax is quite similar to English (subject-verb-object as opposed to, say, the topic-description syntax of Japanese) the minutiae of its grammar usually result in having to think about the expressed thought in a different way. For example, Chinese nouns and pronouns have no gender, and its verbs have no tenses. If it's necessary to state, for example, that a particular person is female or that a particular event will occur in the future, you just add words meaning "female" or "tomorrow/next year." You soon discover that genders and tenses are not necessary most of the time and you begin to wonder why our particular language convinced us that they are.

    (Yes, gender is not quite as overbearing in English as it is in Spanish or Russian, but still we have to decide between "he" and "she," often dithering about it and sputtering something like "they" or "he or she." Or between "waiter" and "waitress." My favorite example was a note on the wall above the sinks in a children's bathroom in a church. It read, "Everyone should wash their face after eating."

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  17. geek Registered Member

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    Ok, Internal monologue: Do you mean to say that besides"you" there is something within/inside "you", that actually influences you on your day to day life,thinking,action,decisions you make, etc, tellin you to do something elsemore (good/bad), than you originally want to.

    That you mean total neglect of "it" may be total/part disappointment.

    And to your question: 'what percentage of members hear an internal monologue when living day to day, compared to those that hear nothing but just act on instinct alone' .

    How many people do actually hear it and how many did not?
     
  18. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    In telepathy I experience thoughts translated from other languages to English instantly. Have I said people have responded to my thoughts before.
     
  19. geek Registered Member

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    Has modern science explored: During evolution,what'd have come first, to us humans ? Thoughts (the key to intelligence and science) or language?
     
  20. river Valued Senior Member

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    Pictures of thinking
     
  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Personally, I think of thought as a two-stage process: the first stage is more-or-less pictorial; the second stage is to verbalize the thought either orally or on paper. Language, in a sense, is a "dumbing down" of the "pure" thought, which diminishes it to some extent but also makes it more practical to implement it and/or communicate it.
     

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