6.30.2005

Language and Thought

How could you explain the relationship between language and thought, if there's any? Give whys, please

54 comments:

Ahmet Çıkar said...

The integration between language and thought is undeniable...The items of thought (...style of life,point of view,philosophy towards anything...)are all shaped by language.So the vice versa is valid for the state of language;I mean the improvements in any kinds of language (verbal,non-verbal,signal etc..) have the effects of thought.For instance someone coming from the eastern part of anatolia (like me)is initially unable to adapt the regional thought of istanbulians...When I saw a boy kissing his sweetheart on the bus,it was hard for me to accept and tell in my own ''words''.To me it was a shamefull act even to be onlookeer at that crime scene::::)))

oktay kurt said...

To me the relationship between language and thought is like the one between mum and her baby...Considering the mum as thought,it will not be surprising to see what the baby performs is actually what the mum wants to see...Of course the case is not the dominance of thought on language...For istance someone desiring to understand the mum can have a sight on baby...Also the baby shows how the mum is...

Anonymous said...

Thought and Language
Most researchers on language development examine the relationship between language and thought.
Before talking about language and thought, we should ask these questions:
What is the relationship of language to thought?Can we speak without thought? What is the relation of thought to culture?Is thought a cultural and historical artifact?
Which comes first, thought or language? It's like the chicken and egg question. Do we learn to think before we speak, or does language shape our thoughts? We need to understand the relation between language and thought.

To me language and thought are separate things. If thought and language are same things, everybody thinks same things. But according to context, culture and life experinces each person has a different standpoint. Therefore (for example) while people are translating a poem or other things from English into Turkish, actually they don’t have same meaning.

I think thought comes first and thought is possible without language, but language is impossible that does not convey thought. The idea comes before the words that are used/not used to describe concept.

To me, the natural language might be the medium of thought. I think thought without language is limited. Because unless people use the langua

duygu dinçer (pdr) said...

Thought and Language
Most researchers on language development examine the relationship between language and thought.
Before talking about language and thought, we should ask these questions:
What is the relationship of language to thought?Can we speak without thought? What is the relation of thought to culture?Is thought a cultural and historical artifact?
Which comes first, thought or language? It's like the chicken and egg question. Do we learn to think before we speak, or does language shape our thoughts? We need to understand the relation between language and thought.

To me language and thought are separate things. If thought and language are same things, everybody thinks same things. But according to context, culture and life experinces each person has a different standpoint. Therefore (for example) while people are translating a poem or other things from English into Turkish, actually they don’t have same meaning.

I think thought comes first and thought is possible without language, but language is impossible that does not convey thought. The idea comes before the words that are used/not used to describe concept.

To me, the natural language might be the medium of thought. I think thought without language is limited. Because unless people use the language to tell their opinions they don’t encourage themselves or their mind. As people tell about their mind people’s emotional, social and cognitive functions can progressive.
However, language is a developmental process. It influences our culture and even our thought processes.In other words, language acts like a polarizing lens on a camera in filtering reality. We can see the real world only in the categories of our language as the medium of thought.

Infants are born with a language-independent system for thinking about objects. These concepts give meaning to the words they learn later. Before babies learn to talk they use body language to tell their needs and thoughts.(Like laughing...) But while the babies are using it, they think how they can show their needs.

In contrast I think language provide that learner takes responsibility of her/his own thought, too. Because while we are speaking we pay attention to what we are saying and thinking... However in concept learning and recognizing the objects of concepts the role of language is very important.

On the other hand I think thought a cultural artifact. Because the culture shapes people’s thought. People decide about lots of things according to culture. The culture influences people’s standpoints in a society.

However visitors to another society can bring their own culture's categories and interpret everything in those terms. In contrast, they can suspend their own culture's perspective in the new society. By doing this, they gain more profound understanding of the other culture.
I want to finish my comments by this sentence:
“ A word devoid of thought is a dead thing, and a thought unembodied in words remains a shadow."

Duygu Dinçer

duygu dinçer (pdr) said...

üzgünüm düşünce ve dil ilişkisini iki kere yollamışım biri anonymous olarak gözüküyor.

Elif Manış said...

To me,language and thought effect each other.Thought effect language,for example; if there is a politic problem, and people cannot speak the language after years this language may be forgotten.Such as; a Turkish child may not speak Turkish if s/he lives in Greece where is not allow to speak Turkish (it is only an example,I don't know the Greece politic).Also if there is a country which is effectif on economi,politic,trade,technology, art...etc it is effect the other countries languages.For example; UAS effect the other countries, such as Hollywood is a symbol for the other movies, USA music effect the other musics(such as the other countries sing their songs in English in the competition)...etc so for the international communication most of the countries learn English.And the other contries use a lot of words which come from the language(English).
Also language effect thought, because each language has a culture, and when you learn the language you learn the culture indirectly.For example; when you learn English you learn fast-food culture and you may start to eat them.So this language's culture effect your culture and thought.

Tansel Sarıbeyoğlu said...

I think it is obvious that there is a relationship between language and thought.

When we look at the babies we can see that they are doing something consciously before they start to speak. They weren't speaking but they could pull the blanket in order to get the toy which is on the blanket.This shows us that thoughts don't come from language . I think we can say that language takes its source from thoughts.

Also our thougts affect our words . If we think positive about something we choose words that reflect positive meanings. To illustrate in religious bayrams we say that we 'sacrifice' sheeps, goats, cows but they think that we 'kill' them. This shows that there is relationship between thoughts and language.

When we translate something from one language into another, our thoughts about the words affect our statements.

Culture is an important point that affects our thoughts because a person's point of view is shaped by the culture and our point of view affects our language.

For all of these reasons I can say that there is a strong relationship between language and thought.

birol namal said...

The interaction between language and thought is so apparent.However it is difficult to point out which one is dominant.To me; thought directs language. Language is a product of thinking.For instance, babies can reach the other side of the bed in order to get their toys. This shows that although unable to use language, human can think. Thought creates shapes of all concrete and abstract items,, then language gives them names. Briefly, language and thought have been in a dense relation throughout the existence.

Anonymous said...

To me,in some ways there is a relationship between language and thought.Language is a tool to express or share our feelings and thoughts with other people.If we want to share our thoughts with people,we should choose correct sentences that will include the meaning that we want to tell.To do this,we consider the word order,the grammar structure and vocabulary that we used.

When we translate from one language into another,we can not give the same meaning as in the first language.For example,a poem written in English.After translating it into Turkish,the meaining can change.

There is another problem in tranlation.One language may,as a matter of its grammatical structure,make it necessary to express certain things that another language leaves open.For example,the third-person pronouns of English require us to specify the gender of the individual we are talking about ("He","she"or"it");whereas in Finnish or ASL,a single third-person pronoun suffices for all gender.As you can see mismatches in tranlation inevitably occur.

In a way,language and thought are separated from each other.For example,French and English have different grammatical structures.But we can give the same thought with different grammatical structures in two languages.In the character of thought tho hang out with famous dead people (Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison).

Tonight our last big night in Paris had to end with dinner in Montmartre. We made it home around midnight and were exhausted knowing the morning was going to come soon and our time in Paris and Amy´s time in Europe was coming to an end. Amy left at 8:30am for airport and I hopped on a train to Berlin around 11:00am.

No more Paris, but I will be back.
t at 8:30am for airport and I hopped on a train to Berlin around 11:00am.

No more Paris, but I will be back.

müjgan çalışkan said...

To me,in some ways there is a relationship between language and thought.Language is a tool to express or share our feelings and thoughts with other people.If we want to share our thoughts with people,we should choose correct sentences that will include the meaning that we want to tell.To do this,we consider the word order,the grammar structure and vocabulary that we used.

When we translate from one language into another,we can not give the same meaning as in the first language.For example,a poem written in English.After translating it into Turkish,the meaining can change.

There is another problem in tranlation.One language may,as a matter of its grammatical structure,make it necessary to express certain things that another language leaves open.For example,the third-person pronouns of English require us to specify the gender of the individual we are talking about ("He","she"or"it");whereas in Finnish or ASL,a single third-person pronoun suffices for all gender.As you can see mismatches in tranlation inevitably occur.

In a way,language and thought are separated from each other.For example,French and English have different grammatical structures.But we can give the same thought with different grammatical structures in two languages.In the character of thought there is no change,only there is a difference in the linguistic garb.

A second reason for keeping language separate from thought is that the syntactic structure of language is built out of things like nouns and verbs,prepositional phrases and tenses.But thought is not built out of such units-thought concerns things like objects,actions,proporties,and times.Also the language we hear in our heads while thinking is a conscious manifestation of the thought-not the thought itself.
When we don't think in a language,we often experience our thought as visual images,pictures in the head.But visual images aren't adequate as a vehicle of thought.Rather,like things we say to ourselves in our minds, they are a way that thought can manifest itself in consciousness

As we know, we can store the meanings of words in our heads but not the meanings of all the sentences that we can speak.We can contruct so many English sentences in our heads and all of these sentences express different thoughts.We can give the same thought in a different use of a language or in other words in that language.

While we are thinking,there can be lots of thoughts in our mind,but according to our standpoint,we share only one of our thoughts with other people.

Our culture sometimes shapes our thoughts.Something negative according to other cultures can be positive in our culture.Then our positive thoughts are reflected positively by the language.

Lets talk about babies for a while,during 12 months they can not speak,but they can express their needs by using their body languages.When they start speaking,the parents point to things while naming them.By the way children acquire the meanings of words.While babies are playing with their toys,they are speaking to themselves(internal speech)because of their developmental process.

As you can see,language is separated from thought.But sometimes there is a relationship between them :)

ibrahim akkaya said...

Language and thought are two phenomenon that influence eachother in many aspects.But in my opinion, thought is dominant to language.That is, our thoughts shape our deeds, and language is a tool to express our thoughts.For example, a musician use his/her songs to show his/her love to his/her beloved(verbal language), a baby cry for milk or food(body language), an author write a book to express his feelings about Communism, etc.

gamze baklacı said...

language and thought are very close concepts whıch completes the other one. the reasons for thıs thoughts:
-to express our thoughts, we use language. wıthout language, the thoughts can not be transfer to the other people.
-by means of language, we can concretize the thought.
footnote: yes, language and thought are very close concepts, as ı said before. but, in deed, they are different; because, even wıthout language, there is thought. by gamze baklaci

serdal uyanıker said...

Language and thought are seperate things I think. In order to think we do not need language. There are lots of ways to express our feelings and language (so speaking) is only a way of this. So language is a tool to express our feelings and thoughts. Think a man who cannot speak or hear...Can't he think so???
serdal uyanıker-3231010025

baaar yückcell said...

1) No one can deny the relationship between language and thought.But in this relationship, thought is independent and language is dependent subject.Because thought can exist indepen-dently.Even if we do not express or tell our thoughts,it doesn’t mean that we do not think.We can tell our thoughts by set of actions.For example,if we think about reading a newspaper, go-ing and buying it explains what we think.
Another point is that;language is limited by what we think.On the other hand,thought is not limited.We can think the things that we can not explain by the help of language.For example the term “telephone”arose after the invention of telephone.It was thought before and could not be explained by the language until this term was found.
The last point I want to mention about is that;thought effects the language but language doesn’t have any effect over it.Because,I think,language apperaed because of thoughts, needs. It was created and developed by thinking over it.Thought helped and stil helps the devlopment of language.Words’ mental relationships,grammar rules are depend on detailed linguistic thoughts and analysis.Language just explains them in an easier way.It is a tool.

(researches still continue)

CeReMo said...

There were lots of titles that we talked about in the lesson.Some of these are "internal speech,body language,culture,translation,concept and standpoint".This terms can help us to understand the relationship between the language and thought.
For example;internal speech is inside the brain but reflects itself outside as a real language,also body language is a reflection of the thoughts inside the person but with gestures and mimics.
Culture is another factor that influence the thoughts of the people when they are identifiying the language I mean what they are going to say.
Translation is one of the other factors that tells us the connection between language and thought,because without thought you can't understand the real meaning and can't translate.Concept and standpoint are the last two important factors which helps us to see how can thoughts takes place when using language.
Thoughts always have an important role on language and our thoughts identifies our language's boundaries.

Emrah Bozdemir said...

i think language and thought are totally relevant to each other.language is the only way of expressing what we think.On the other hand,language is the production of thought.
These two inseperable conceptions helps each other to proceed.When we have difficulty in expressing our thoughts,we produce some new words.At the same time,we use language when we think.For example;we say"I will go to the dentist tomorrow",and we do it.
As a conclusion they are totally bound to each other and help each other to work

medetbek said...

In my opinion language is dependent to thought. We use language to explain our thoughts. If we were not to be able to think we would not need to use language. It is obvious that thought is independent from language. Thought enlarges language. People invent new things by thinking and name these new concepts. For example, when a new technology is invented you have to give a name to it.

erdem inciguz said...

like all other aspects concerning human life language and thought are completely different but severely related subjects of research. Different, because their birth was independent from each other; on the other hand, related because language identifies restrictions of thought. You can't think of something that you know nothing about. That is language's role. As we all know, the developmental process of language has taken so ling time and is still going on. The effect of thought is just to fasten or barry this development. What I mean with the term 'development' is perhaps the least effort law or influency of languege. As a conclusion, with or without thought language would have been in our lives but thought couldn't have survived without the language. I think it would be true to match the language to brainn that controls the body, and the thought to the hands and feet that makes the brain active.

hüseyin türkmen said...

Language is a tool that we use to communicate and understand each other so it can be said that our thoughts are expressed by means of language.When we forbid language of people we can prevent them from thinking, producing and going on living their cultural values so we can say that language is a powerful tool.
When we use language(during speaking), we also support it by using gestures and mimics.This is called ‘body language.’ Sometimes body language is more effective than words. Eg. An angry look.
When translating a text into another language, we should try to understand what the writer want to meant otherwise we can not translate the target text correctly. So we should know the writer’s thought to use the correct language in translation.

betty said...

Language and thought are closely related. It is true that one can think without talking. And you have observed, as I have, that some people can talk without thinking! Let's think about thinking. Do you think with words?
Of course NOT!!!Language is a tool that you can express what you feel and thought.Because when the human-being exists,there was no language.They were figuring out their thougts with different ways such as pictures,drawings and etc...
On the other hand,these kinds of ways caused to appear the language.because they weren't satisfied with the other primitive ways of communication.
that s the reason why the thought is effective on the language and both are not seperated...
Let's think about it.!when you want to say something,first,you think,then pour the words to define it clearly.in fact,you are doing the same thing in every moment of your life unconciously...
At last,you are when you think and express it via the language...
İn other words:
I THİNK,THEREFORE I AM...:)

Anonymous said...

akgül dartılmak said
language and thought can be seen as a whole and they aren't separeted also they effect each other.For example in ancient times wheh people live in cave they communicate with sounds like cry,bellow we understand from that their language devolopment shows us thought development.Also we can say that they use these sound and body language because they satisfy their needs.when they create and run into new things,their thought develop and this change can be seen in the language.

alavastron said...

what people think they can express them according to the language limits. whenever the people think the language will change because these two elements effect each other. The people who can enlarge their thought they can realise the language and use more efficiently.

ömer yiğit said...

It is certain that there is a link between thought and language but seeing many researchers who have different opinions about the topic, it seems doubtful to say which one is dominant. But regarding a man who is able to think but deaf and dumb, it sounds more logical that thought is the overpowering component in this connection. In my opinion thought is the target to express and language is the formidable and abstruse way of expressing our emotions, thought, ideas etc.

meleknazir said...

Both language and thought reflects each others.Thought shape language and language shape thought,also.
F.E.If we can't speak,can't use language,we can not comminicate that's why power of thought can't develop.But we can use language,we can comminicate that is why thought develops.With processing of thougt, language also develops because each inventions or each new idea needs to be a name,needs to be talked.They look like a chain and their developmantal follows each others.

Anonymous said...

In my point of view-to me:)-the first step of action is thought as we can see the same in the relationship between language and thought.
Nothing but the natural items would exist on earth if we hadn't been keen on thought.(so that doesn't clearly mean that i name language exactly in the aspect of nurture:) )
What i mean is that languge is the result of thought and thought can never be the result of language.
There are a lot of people who have a real capasity of thought but have never owned the ability of speech(dumb people).If it were the result of the language,they would never think...
We always experience the moments when we think i don't mean these but i say all:)that means thought can never be the result of language.we usually don't think exactly the same as what we say.while we have lots of thought in our minds we can't reflect the same to the language.what we say is never in our mind...like i am doing now:)

altan carıkçıoğlu said...

Hi!!! the anonymous above is me.
the one who is the confused:)

derya turan said...

all things considered, we all know strong relation between language and thought for this reason both are intimate.Language gives shape to thought,for instance letter,words,sentence are concrete form of thought.In other words you think with words and image.All of these,words-image-sound-sentence,are communication vehicle and subordinate language.ıt is impossible to consider language without thought or thought without language.to me precise,we dont forget owing to language puting order our thoughts...

hakki incecik said...

I think language is a tool that is given human naturally and it can be shaped by the culture and the other things.

hakki incecik said...

(firstly, sorry to send the wrong one!:)
language and thought are the two which are inseparable because we can not consider one without other. If there is not language, there won't be thought or the opposite. We need language to think and we need thoughts to use our language. For example: if I want to do sth firstly, I think about it, even if it's quickly or slowly.

Anonymous said...

Up to me there are certainly a direct relationship between language and thoughts.Alanguage can not be without thought and thought can not be without language.These two things complete each other.In order to be able to tell our feelings and thoughts language is an important tool.It is quite important that we should use right grammatical sentences while expressing our feeling and thoughts in language.In addition to this some thoughts can be diffirent among people in diffirent regions.A person who has come from eastern part of Anatolia may have diffirent and difficult situation in big cities like Istanbul and Ankara because some thoughts may show differences according to some conditions.3231050053 Zeynep Gökoğlan

Anonymous said...

actually i want to look all these relations that we try to make comments are related each other. we can not sperate them, so i will build my hypothesys on what i said before. actually i do not have to write anything else. why?
beceuse as i do now i think all the time, and the language helps me explain what i think. that is to say, my brain works, i think, i explain. the harder my brain works, the more thoughts i have. however how are you able to know what i know if would have not been using the language as now?3231040098

Shashi said...

Hi,
I come across this post after i started introspecting on a real experience with me which i have blogged at http://shashimused.blogspot.com/2007/12/does-thought-need-language.html; and expectedly i started recving comments of different opinion.

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