Language and Thought

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Do we think in words? We have all had times when we realized we were conversing with ourselves; we may have talked to ourselves before. Therefore, we sometimes think in words. But for the rest of time, do we think in an internal conversation or in a nonlinguistic fashion? There is one early hypothesis proposed by John B. Watson said that thinking is a form of internal speech. John B. Watson is the founder of behaviorism. For Watson, we cannot think without language.
There is a relationship between language and thought. The principle of linguistic relativity said that the structure of a language affects thought processes and the ways in which its speakers are able to conceptualize their world like their world view. Language can affect out thought and influence the way we think, but it is not apply in every case. There might be other factors involved as well.
I heard an example of linguistic relativity from my mother. My mother's friend's mother was sick and stayed in hospital for treatment for a long time. A doctor saw her and, at the end of the visit, told her in parting, "Take it easy." He meant it as an informal way of saying goodbye, nothing more. But this my mother's friend's mother took it as medical advice, promptly took to her bed, and refused to get out for the next two weeks, until the doctor returned from what turned out to be an ill-timed vacation. By that time the little lady was so weak from her self-imposed inactivity that she was unable to walk. I found this video about language and thought.

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I am still wondering about other factors influence our thinking.

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This page contains a single entry by yingx037 published on October 23, 2011 11:57 PM.

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