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Post Reply Thought Provoking Question
Posted 1/8/15 , edited 1/8/15
Okay Overall it's a two part question so here you go.

1.Lets say that you are living in a country where your not speaking your first language, however you speak the language of the area your in just as well as your primary language. Would you end up thinking in that language or your first language?

Which leads me into my second question...

2.If we didn't know any languages what would our inner dialogue be?
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Posted 1/8/15
I would think you would continue to think in what whatever comes naturally to you so probably your native language.

Don't think we could have an inner dialogue is we didn't have a language. It would most likely be pictures.
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Posted 1/8/15
1. You probably would eventually begin to think in the new language, if you spent enough time there. It will take quite a while though, a matter of years, with how many years being determined by how young you were when you started.

2. Images.
Posted 1/8/15
The images/pictures makes a lot of sense for my second question never thought about it like that. I've heard that those people who compete in World memory championships think in images so it makes sense that's you could use images as a shortcut since we were doing it since we even developed a language.
Posted 1/8/15 , edited 1/8/15
I'm not really sure, but this is interesting so i'm throwing out what I think.

1) I think that you'd eventually start thinking in the other language as you use it more and more often.

2) I think our inner dialogue would just be made up of "impressions". Eventually, you might construct your own rudimentary language to converse with yourself in. I think pictures and images work to an extent, but not every "thought" has a picture. Like love, or courage, or transience - if we could only think in pictures without language, I can't imagine how anyone would ever think of these things.
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Posted 1/8/15
1) From experience, mostly the second language. Sometimes, it's a mix of both.

2) Our thoughts would use our memories of previously encountered images, sounds, smell, touch, and taste. Those memories would be like the dreams we experience when we sleep. I would think that it would be like watching a movie with only the images and music but the dialog would be garbled nonsense. Also, you can experience something and remember the emotions tied to it without knowing the right words to describe it. Sometimes the most powerful experiences you have are the ones that are hardest to describe with words.
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Posted 1/8/15
Speaking is so unnecessary,

Why was grumbling, gibberish, and pointing not acceptable enough for the growing human of the Rock Ages?
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Posted 1/8/15 , edited 1/8/15
1. Well when I came to the U.S. I started thinking in English instead of Spanish after a while so I guess whichever language you end up speaking more would be the one making up your thoughts

2. Like others said, our inner dialogue would most likely be comprised of images and other sensory information as well as general emotions instead of words
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19 / M / Future Gadget Lab...
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Posted 1/8/15

potentsativa wrote:

Okay Overall it's a two part question so here you go.

1.Lets say that you are living in a country where your not speaking your first language, however you speak the language of the area your in just as well as your primary language. Would you end up thinking in that language or your first language?

Which leads me into my second question...

2.If we didn't know any languages what would our inner dialogue be?


According to most psychologists, your first language will always be the language you are primarily thinking in. I have a friend of mine who speaks English fluently, but thinks in Hebrew because his parents speak to him primarily in Hebrew despite the fact that everywhere else, he's been surrounded by English speakers and interacts with them in English (his parents know English as well, but their English is more broken than his).

Leading to the second question, there have been studies of children who have never been exposed to language in their early years, and thus, missed their critical period upon which they learn a language. Ergo, these children, despite rehabilitation and later exposure, are incapable of learning languages as older individuals and remain mute for the rest of their lives. They can survive and learn basic tasks, but without language, they are incapable of higher abstract thought and live a primordial existence.

This, on the biological level, is due to the pruning of their brain's essential synapses, nerve connections that allows parts of the brain to communicate thought via electrical and chemical impulses, as they grow older. During the critical period, a child is capable of learning any language and can build skills as their brain matures by strengthening their synapses. As they grow older, the reinforced synapses remain while any unnecessary or underused synapses prune and disappear. The period before pruning, as I mentioned earlier, is known as the critical period.

This is also true for a lot of other skills, for some basic skills tend to have critical periods. For example, if a child is constrained to a chair for the first few years of their life, they can end up crippled because they never learned to walk, never built up the synapse for walking, and ergo are incapable of walking despite their legs being able to function. This concept can go for other functions, although higher abstract functions aren't influenced by critical periods or synapses such as learning how to ride a bicycle, which can be learned at any age (assuming you can walk, of course).
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Posted 1/8/15
I think in English and sometimes in Japanese, as I am fluent in English and am learning Japanese.
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Posted 1/8/15
1) You'll eventually end up thinking more and more in the language that you use the most often. It is more about using a particular language than being around that particular language. This may even come at the cost of a reduced functioning vocabulary for your unused (primary in your example) language.

Source: Experience.

2) This doesn't really answer your question (at least not directly). But here is a link to an episode of Radiolab (NPR) called "Words."
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

The entire episode is quite interesting. The most on point is the first segment "Words that Change the World." It is about a woman who teaches a 27-year old man his first words.
Posted 1/9/15 , edited 1/9/15
1. Most likely you'd end up thinking in the local language, especially during social interaction. That said, depending on the individual, he or she may very well revert back to his native language when he's at home alone or reading in that language. Either way, no matter how fluent you become, several historical studies have demonstrated that your second language will never be as deeply ingrained as your first.

I'm bilingual and learned two languages simultaneously from birth. Interesting story, when I was living in Japan for a year+ I challenged myself not to speak/think/read in English during that time, and only live using Japanese. When I returned I forgot half my English vocabulary and now I'm currently studying English to regain what I've forgotten (or rusted)... sad story. I was genuinely suspicious of brain damage until I discovered that it was a common phenomenon among bilingual speakers.
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Posted 1/9/15
1. it doesnt matter as long as youre thinking

2. it depends on how you define language and "inner dialogue"....without getting overly complicated if you want a worthwhile discussion of the definition of language read Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations. if you mean to say by "inner dialogue", how one organizes one's own thoughts I would say that's equivalent to the act of rationalization something that cannot be done without "language".
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Posted 1/9/15
Wut about the multilingual...
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Posted 1/9/15
It would depend how old you are, as its not very easy to change your natural mindset...
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