In what language would we think if we wouldn't know how to speak?

Discussion in 'Mind Games' started by Wolfman's Brother, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Just came to my mind on my stoner adventure.

    :daisy: :sunny: :)
  2. slappysquirrel

    slappysquirrel Senior Member

    we all do have the same language somehow,, we speak it everyday,, is this even a question???
  3. slappysquirrel

    slappysquirrel Senior Member

    BODY LANGUAGE!!!! peace be with you bro
  4. lively_girl

    lively_girl Member

    You would be thinking in pictures.
  5. Emanresu

    Emanresu Member

    Some psychologists coined the phrase 'mantalese' to refer to the 'language' of thought. It is an error to think that people think in their native languages. Of course it is possible to 'speak' inside your mind, (for example right now I am thinking to myself 'This is an English sentence') but that is not the underlying basis of thought.

    If thoughts and language were identical that would lead to some very strange situations. You would have to say, for example, that no human ever had a thought until language developed (and just how would languages be created if the people creating them couldn't think?). You would have to say that infants don't think until they learn their first word, and then you would have to say that their thoughts consist only of a single word.

    Clearly then, even though we can think in our native languages, this cannot be the base level of thought, and there must be thinking occurring 'below' that level. I imagine it is much more similar to how a computer works, with thoughts corresponding to changing voltages and patterns of activity within the mental substrate according to a sort of binary logic.

    The same goes for mental pictures. When I hold an image in my mind, that cannot be a basic phenomena. There must be underlying information processing activities occurring which allow the particular image to be rendered, and which allow the connection between the image and its meaning to me (such as that it is an image of my friend, and that I have a particular emotional response to viewing it).

    For more ideas on this concept check out How the Mind Works by Stephen Pinker.

    Slappysquirrel and lively_girl have brought up good points. In the absence of an explicit language we would depend much more greatly on body language, and we would probably largely depend on mental images to stand in as explicit thoughts (though for the reasons mentioned those would not be the basis of thought, just the explicit aspect of thinking). I would add to those ideas that emotions would also play a greater role in the explicit level of thought.
  6. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    I've often wondered if people that learn english from spanish or some scandinavian language,etc, continue to think in their original language and go for the translation in their minds before they speak english or just think straightaway in english. It has been said that english is capable of being the most expressive.
  7. oh you mean laughter

    GLENGLEN Lifetime Supporter

    The Language The Cave Men Used, Eye Contact, And

    Lots Of Grunts...:)

    Cheers Glen.
  9. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Ugh-mugga-bugga mooga. Means = me want clam. Passed down in my family from 2 1/2 million years ago. We still use it.
  10. FlyingFly

    FlyingFly Dickens

    I actually think in english(which is not my native), while using it or while speaking with other english person.

    Imo it is the only way to speak fluently.
  11. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Banned

    What kind of lame telepathy is that?
  12. FlyingFly

    FlyingFly Dickens

    What if you are blind from birth?
  13. lively_girl

    lively_girl Member

    If you want to speak a language fluently, you have to be thinking in it as well, no doubt about it.
    Thinking in two languages at the same time or translating between them is much more difficult than speaking them separately.

    Haha, great minds think alike and all that. :)

    Then you would remember the sound, taste, the feel of and the past experience with objects around you and chose one or a combination of those sensations for abstract thinking. Sound and rhythm seem to be the best choice to me.
  14. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    sequence and relationship diagrams.

    those are what i actually think in anyway. just as i was already doing before this body was born, while i was in it waiting for it to be, and how i was able to crack the code that was the speach of people i could hear around me, to analyze it, having been motivated by how powerful as an infante i observed spoken language to be.
  15. -fleur-

    -fleur- Member

    If you're not only interested in this topic when ur stoned ;), you can search for some papers about feral children. With regard to feral children: [FONT=&quot]"[...] in the light of the recent finding that general neglect during the first five years of life leads to a permanently smaller head circumference, smaller brain size, and impaired ability to learn language and to develop normal social behaviour [/FONT] "Muñoz & Singleton 2011: 3
    Furthermore, deaf subjects who were not exposed to ASL until their adulthood might be interesting for you, too. Or perhaps, you've heard of Genie? There are also some experiments in which young kids have been deprived of language and turned out to have many problems aside from the incapability of speaking.
    Try searching the authors "Munoz and Singleton" or "Singleton and Ryan" if you wanna know more about it.
    Generally spoken, the development of linguistic abilities is closely related to the whole development of a child.
  16. Jimmy P

    Jimmy P bastion of awesomeness

    We've created language as a way to express what goes on in our mind. It's true that you can have internal monologue where you're "speaking" to yourself, and in this case you would use a spoken language. But we do have a default internal "language" that is universal to all humans.. That's why there are certain concepts you will find in all languages, and there are certain words you'll only find in a few languages that express concepts we can all relate to.

    Basically what Emanresu said.

    English is my 3rd language, I speak 3 others fluently and another 3 conversationally. As I gained proficiency in English beyond that of my mother tongue, I did start to "think" in English. In periods of learning new languages, I would by default start to think in that language. I'd sometimes speak 4-5 languages throughout the work day, and when I came home from work after that, my thoughts could manifest in any one of those languages, and not uncommonly in a bunch of them around each other.. (This is very mentally tiring.. Tripping in such periods also gets REALLY weird)

    I do not think in one language and then translate to another. I think that's why I have such an easy time of learning languages. My girlfriend does this, and she really struggles to pick up new langauges and remember new words.

    And English is a fantastic language. It's very easy to learn the basics, but near impossible to truly master. It's a language in which you can express yourself incredibly accurately.
  17. BeachBall

    BeachBall Nosey old moo

    It's interesting ... but the point is clearly illustrated by the difference between the Latin of, say, Cicero and the Latin of Bede.

    They both wrote grammatically correct Latin. BUT ... Cicero was an ancient Roman, thinking in Latin; whilst Bede was an Anglo Saxon thinking in, essentially, English. AND IT SHOWS!!! Boy does it show!!

    I'm English. The thought processes behind Cicero's Latin are thoroughly alien to me. But the thought processes behind Bede's Latin are instantly recognizable to me. And as a result, his writing is so much more accessible to me.
  18. Reducted

    Reducted Member

    If we did not have a language to speak, we would still be able to associate sounds, visualizations, sensations and emotions together in our brain. The problem would be that no one would be able to teach us anything, thus denying one their greatest asset, social relationships. Without the guidance of others, we may not even attain self awareness.

    It would be really cool to experiment on babies and have them grow up with no species to teach them. But they would die unless we fed them, and they wouldn't learn how to find food without someone to teach them :s.
  19. LetLovinTakeHold

    LetLovinTakeHold Cuz it will if you let it

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