Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 15:32:29 MST


Subject: Re: thinking in language

The following is from a personal post (I hope you don't mind, Vicki)

by VR:

I think in English--there's no question of that--with occasional

bits of Spanish and non-verbal thought. The question, I think, is

to what extent some people's mental constructs do not consist of

words, phrases, or sentences--that is, of language in some meaningful


I too would like to know. The problem is that any investigation of

non-verbal thought conducted via language is biased. Yet, it is

primarily through language that we are taught to do such

investigations. Intuitively (non-verbally) we know that there is a

lot going on outside of language; but it is difficult to articulate

or to quantify. Quantity identification too is a product of language

and/or culture. (We see evidence of that among peoples who do not

have words or numbers to equal 35, 187, or 659,213,445.3349777321 for

example.) New age philosophy, mystics, and prophets of all time,

relate learning outside of language. We may spiritually discern

things out of the reach of language. But how is it measured? It is

the problem of apples and oranges. How are they compared? Maybe I

would not feel so hopeless about such findings if we humans were

better at communicating complex thinking outside of language. I find

myself very motivated by my own non-language thinking, but cannot put

my words into it enough to articulate it according to language

standards. I say I do something because it feels right, not because

I logically justify it. Isn't that a form of non-language thinking?

If so, it may also be an example of the break-down between verbal and

non-verbal thinking. "It feels right" may just be another way of

saying, "The language center in me finds the reason coding

undiscernable," "In/out error," or "Unable to retrieve file." Any

ideas of how to bridge or mend these damaged sectors?