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The Link Between Thoughts and Language
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24 / M / Mammago Garage, Y...
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Posted 4/19/08
Well I'm almost fluent in Spanish (and I know English as well, obviously) and often times when I'm thinking to myself my thoughts will be a mix of both languages together. Even though they don't make sense grammatically, I can still understand them as if I was only thinking in one language. So I don't think you really need language to think, but it is impossible to express thoughts without language.
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25 / M / Hayward, CA - OR...
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Posted 4/19/08
This is interesting, it inspires another question that I have:
If people could not express themselves without words or some form of language, does that mean that the idea of "god" came around after people developed languages with which to speak? Would this mean that god didn't exist pre-language?
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24 / M / Mammago Garage, Y...
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Posted 4/19/08
That depends on if you think God is a man-made being or not.
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32 / M
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Posted 4/19/08
Personally, I would say yes, we can think without language.

The reason for that is that human language and communication necessarily came about from a void of language prior to that. People aren't born with a certain language attached to them. If that were true the entire world would use exactly the same language. Language came about from thought, a need to organize thoughts and a need to communicate thoughts. Since thought made language, we can only conclude that we can think without language, though that would probably be inefficient.
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25 / M / Hayward, CA - OR...
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Posted 4/20/08 , edited 4/23/08
Interesting...so I wonder if it is possible for someone to be comprehensive if they know a certain amount of languages.

I think language now, helps us convey our feelings to others, and writing is an even better method because now we can record our thoughts down and someone only has to read them to learn of how we are feeling. This is also a double-edged sword because it could also mean that you can write things that can potentially hurt other people.

I am also betting, that certain languages unlock some kind of mental barrier in our ability to express yourselves. Would knowing more than say, 3 languages cause us to lose our individuality as well?
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24 / F
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Posted 4/23/08
By any chance you are in IB?
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F
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Posted 4/24/08
I really wonder if you can think without language, too.

But what I noticed is this:
Normally, I think in my native language. But when I'm gaming, or on CR, or have just done those things, then I think in English.

It makes me think that thinking without a language is impossible. My thoughts stay the same, but the language changes. I need a language.
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26 / M / Sweden
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Posted 4/24/08
Correct me if i'm wrong but don't we think in pictures? Expressing yourself is another thing but thinking is done with images. Body language stands for a great deal of human communication (like 50%) which enables you to know if a person is angry or happy without knowing what he actually says.
As for the thought process, since sometimes there's not even an equivalent for the word your using in another language that might very well be true.
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46 / M
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Posted 4/24/08
You could process simple thoughts without language but complex stuff like circuitry design, string theory, etc would not be possible without some form of language

You are also constrained by the language itself. If the language had no equivalent, you would be hard pressed to explain a phrase or word in another language in a very short time.

Body language merely transmits the underlying context of the person's words whether it is conscious or not
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F / New York, New York
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Posted 4/24/08
I think you can, because people raised without language (like by animals or in isolation) can't learn human language, but they can still think and reason.

Maybe language is just a way of organizing and communicating events quickly. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to learn from others' experiences.
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23 / F / in my computer
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Posted 7/25/08
we can understand a thought caz there is the language that we knw. if dont hav any language we wouldnt even b able 2 understand alot of things. the only thing we can do is go with basic insticts. but i dont knw this question is pretty hard and amazing. its hard for us caz we r in times everyone has a language, sign language included so everyone thinks w/ the language. but if we knw some1 who does not speak/knw/exposed 2 any language and observed wat they do maybe we will get answers but even cavemen had drawings and sounds to represent wat they want and felt. so i think itz pretty much impossible lol
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25 / F
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Posted 9/20/08
silly not......

language and thoughts are highly correlated............^_^
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25 / M / Bay Area, California
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Posted 7/23/09
I strongly believe we can think without language. I even somewhat remember my wordless thoughts as I was young child. It was mostly all visual interpretations. Tho language helps, I think it's possible to have deep thoughts without language. Tho over time, we eventually unlearn it. Like,I couldn't do it now, even if I tried. I would be like trying to look at words without reading them. Something of the sort..
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Andromeda
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Posted 7/23/09
Think about yourself when you were a little child or think about someone who is deaf and can't speak, Can't they think?

Language may be the usual way to think but absolutely not the only way. good question btw.
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36 / M / Small Wooded town...
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Posted 7/24/09
'Well this is a fact for you...!'

Humans short term is crap compared to the other apes because speach part of are brain cuts into and weakens the short term part of the brain. So speach helps us learn from each other. But it also harms us in other places. Like where you left your car keys.
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