Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 11:14:14 EST

From: Undetermined origin c/o LISTSERV maintainer


Subject: non-linguistic thinking

He reasons quite well with abstractions (and is a computer programmer

by profession). As for "how," I'm really not sure--since he's not

thinking in English and I am, it's hard for him to explain this to me.

The most noticeable sign of how he's thinking is that if he says

something odd, and I ask him to repeat it, he will repeat it word for

word, because he's already done the translating. For example, he once

said he wanted a ham sandwich on roast beef (meaning he wanted a ham

on rye), and when I said something like "run that by again" he

cheerfully did so. The tricky thing for a lot of us, and maybe particularly

linguists, to remember is that English is a system of abstract reasoning,

Chinese is another, and so on--but that not all systems of abstract

reasoning are languages. (It's possible that someone could construct

a grammar of what my friend is using--but I don't think anyone yet has.)

Vicki Rosenzweig

vr%acmcr.uucp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

New York, NY