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Subject: Re: The influence of language on thought ( 29 of 58 )
Posted by Simon

If you are limited in language, then wouldn't you necessarily be limited in your ability to think complex thoughts?

No, I don't think that is true. The abstractions that our brains use to classify information are manifold and language is just one of them. There are many other ways that this is achieved, images, sounds, smells, tactile experiences, tastes and more.

It might often be the case that one or more of these other abstractions will be more suited to a brain's internal handling of a problem than language. Feynman spoke of this when first trying to understand some of the wierder parts of particle physics, "furry tennis balls", that kind of thing.

What a limited language will do, though, is impair a person's ability to communicate those complex thoughts. This is where the problem is. Although language is not essential for the internal juggling of information, it is very important (though still, I think, not exclusively so) when trying to update one's own mind or that of another with new memes.


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