Language and Mind

January 6, 2007

There is a most interesting discussion at a learned linguist’s blog at the reading of which I recommend. Was language before thought? I do not think so. Language had to come after at the beginning of times, although logically enough language has had to intermingle with thought as the human being went on perfecting the way to share his thoughts and ideas.

Thought comes before language but language has become so an intrinsic part of our being, as intrinsic as thought is, that if you try to convince somebody of this peculiarity in our life they may stare and dismiss it as sheer nonsense. And it is not nonsense.

Nonsense is whatever is not anything that leads us to consider our origins and our faculties, mental, linguistic and otherwise.

We as persons should take ourselves in earnest and if not often – because that seems a waste of time to some – at least occasionally think of our evolution through the millions of years that the humankind has lasted to reach the stage where we live today.

Perhaps by doing so we may some time end up by knowing ourselves a little bit.


5 Responses to “Language and Mind”

  1. Jose said

    I am sorry I must hone my skill in questions of links.


  2. Richard said

    “Moral Minds” by Marc Hauser is strongly recommended – especially by that ‘Einstein of Modern Linguistics’ – Noam Chomsky.

  3. Richard said

    To my mind, language is an instinct (“The Language Instinct” by Stephen Pinker), so I guess thought was before language.

    Language seems to be the conscious expression of thought – as if Man became consciously aware of thought through language.

    When we were in the caves, in the trees, or in the water, we must have had thoughts (just like ‘Lucy’ – our dog – lying here now), and we communicated through our instincts (like ‘Lucy’).

    Later, apparently, we drew pictures…and then language took shape…like a snowflake takes shape.

    Personally, I think we developed – like a snowflake – our moral instincts (minds).

    Food for thought…and thought for food…

  4. MrZhisou said

    I think language was probably a catalyst in us developing brains big enough to cope with rational thought above and beyond matters of instinct. The bigger brain meant more complex language was possible, and it could be used to describe things more complicated than “fire” and “look out, a dinosour’s about to bite your head off” which then fuelled the catalyst accelerating the brain development (those better able to communicate would be more successful at survival).

  5. christianzionismexposed said

    Totally aside, when do all of you have time to read so many blogs? You all reference other blogs and it amazes me!! No wonder you are so well informed. I’m at about 3 sites total because of time constraints and still end up spending awhile at each every day and feeling time-challenged constantly.

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