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What comes first.. thought or language? watch

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    :\ And why? I can't get my head around which comes first because to me they appear to be hand in hand.

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    Thought? Surely you need thought to be able to learn language?
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    Hmm, yeah, I think they do. Because they say when you can start thinking in a language, you're truly fluent. When you're absolutely tiny, though, and can't speak I'm pretty sure you still have thoughts in an imagery-based world, so I'll go with that.
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    People born deaf can think. QED.
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    OK I was having a conversation with somebody relating to this recently. Basically I have autism, and I remember being able to 'speak in my head' and understand what people were saying to me and talking about, before I was able to speak.
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    Thought. Language just expresses the thought.

    Most people have had a thought that they can't really define in words, which kind of shows that you can have thought without language.
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    Thought. Babies cry when they're hungry etc.
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    (Original post by ily_em)
    Thought. Language just expresses the thought.

    Most people have had a thought that they can't really define in words, which kind of shows that you can have thought without language.
    Possibly. However to what extent does the language(s) we speak influence our cognitive processes?
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    I would say thought comes first.
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    In evolutionary terms, the two arose together. Whilst it is possible to have very limited thoughts without having the capacity to understand language, the concept of having an internal monologue - what we generally imply when we say "thinking", is impossible.

    Deaf people can "think" because language is not just hearing words - it can be reading them as well. Recent research suggests that humans are born with an inbuilt understanding of syntax (the idea of subjects and verbs etc) and it's simply up to the parents to provide the necesary vocabulary. So to some extent, its correct to say that infants actually have some intrinsic limited language ability before they can speak.
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    (Original post by py0alb)
    In evolutionary terms, the two arose together. Whilst it is possible to have very limited thoughts without having the capacity to understand language, the concept of having an internal monologue - what we generally imply when we say "thinking", is impossible.

    Deaf people can "think" because language is not just hearing words - it can be reading them as well. Recent research suggests that humans are born with an inbuilt understanding of syntax (the idea of subjects and verbs etc) and it's simply up to the parents to provide the necesary vocabulary. So to some extent, its correct to say that infants actually have some intrinsic limited language ability before they can speak.
    That would make sense. Language is such a complex and unique form of communication it could only be part of our genetic make up.

    I vaguely recall seeing scientists rearing male song birds in isolation. Without their parent teaching them to sing to attract a female they produced a horrendous chirping noise. However by I think the third or fourth generation they had learnt to sing as well as their free roaming relatives. Despite never hearing the song.
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    (Original post by Liptease)
    Possibly. However to what extent does the language(s) we speak influence our cognitive processes?
    There is quite a lot of debate about this issue. I find this article quite interesting: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/boro...y09_index.html.

    You could also take a look at The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker; it's a great read!
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    Thought, I can think about things without using words/language. Alot of people think in images.
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    It's a difficult one, that. I'm personally in favour of linguistic relativity ie language influences thought ... but I would say that you need thought processes to start with in order to learn how to communicate with one another. You're not just born with the ability to use language, IMO... but everyone is born with the ability to think (well, most)
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    (Original post by ily_em)
    There is quite a lot of debate about this issue. I find this article quite interesting: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/boro...y09_index.html.

    You could also take a look at The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker; it's a great read!
    That was awesome!
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    obviously thought. language can influence those thoughts though.
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    Thought.

    Contrary to the old saying, we do think before we speak.
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    Perception. Perception turns into thought once language has been learnt. For example, imagine that your language didn't have the word or notion for love. That doesn't mean you can't feel it or it doesn't exist, it's just that you haven't stored it in a systematised way e.g. word, until that word has been used to mean the notion of love.

    I suppose a popular culture example would be the saying "Words can't describe it". Also don't forget, thinking isn't in words or sounds (unless you're talking about the inner voice), it's also in images which infants can very well detect. Thought definitely comes first.
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    Some times I exhale the colour thought is before language, so thought must come first, at least some of the time.
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity
 
 
 
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