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General Science => General Science => Topic started by: somstuff on 31/07/2010 00:35:49

Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: somstuff on 31/07/2010 00:35:49
If one thought in a faster or more concise language than say, English, would s/he be able to formulate ideas faster? Likewise, if the language was more expansive or logical than English, would that improve one's critical thinking skills? In general, how does language impact thought process?
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Joe L. Ogan on 31/07/2010 00:42:43
Hi, Somstuff.  That is a very interesting question.  I shall be interested in the answers.  Did you know that there are 24 different kinds of math?  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bored chemist on 31/07/2010 00:47:56
"If one thought in a faster or more concise language "
This begs  another question.
Do people think in language?
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=33070.0;topicseen
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: neilep on 31/07/2010 00:59:07
you know....In contrast/addition to what i said in another post (BC's link above).........I'm just thinking that when one has that 'eureka' moment !...it's like a sudden realisation of a comprehension. I think when one thinks of an idea ....it is the ' whole' that is perceived and not line by line of a three page essay or doctorate thesis !    I think the use of language here, as the means to thought, is an aid. For it to be the only way to think would be a hindrance.

One can understand a concept..by 'knowing' it ......so...in this case....I believe the only benefit a faster more concise language would yield......... would be in the ability to vocally communicate it...in my opinion.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: somstuff on 31/07/2010 01:08:57
^^ Hmm, I'm still not quite sure after reading that. It seems like after we "languagise," we are able to formulate more complex thoughts (via language), so if we had a more complex language we would think in an even more complex way.

^ So you're saying we think up an idea and use words in our head merely to...I don't know, convert the idea to a verbal description? This makes sense, but it still seems like the language is necessary to explain the thought, not just to others, but to yourself.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: neilep on 31/07/2010 01:17:46
I'd better clarify someting first...I always say "in my opinion" because I'm not a scientist....nor an academic...I'm not an expert or a consultant...in fact..I tend to ask a lot more questions here than I answer so what I am saying is please do take all I say with a pinch of salt because even a layperson has more knowledge than little ole me.

I do think though that once we have mastered a language we can use it as a tool to supplement the thought process by introducing key words and/or phrases which enable us to comprehend what we are thinking. Yes, with the aid of language we can then use it as a tool to formulate even more complex thoughts...which once understood would take more than a few words to explain yes ?.......but...when you've understood it/grasped it...you then ' know it'....however.....to pass on your understanding would need you to then explain it......that process takes a lot longer than the actual understanding once the knowledge has been learned !......see what I mean ?
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: somstuff on 31/07/2010 02:06:27
Okay, I think I got most of that. But I thought of something else:

I don't think language at all affects your ability to think critically. I think it's just translating the impulsive ideas that we get into a language. Consider this- Think in your mind the follow words: "The man will go to the store." In the back of your mind while you "say" this sentence, your thinking, but it's not in language. The thoughts, if actually translated, would be like "Why is this guy making me say this", or your picturing the key words in the sentence, and all the while simultaneously forming opinions about what your reading, me (the writer), and maybe other ideas that you come up with. These secondary thoughts don't need to be translated because you "know" them. The point of saying the sentence was to make you "speak" in your mind, and realize that thinking was still going on in the background that you "know" these thoughts and don't need to translate them. I don't know, that might seem really obvious or it might not make any sense at all, but I believe all thoughts arise as these impulses and that the language aspect of your thoughts cannot influence these influences, it's merely the translation of them for the purpose of communication.

On a separate note, do you know what I mean by the "impulsive" ideas? If so, how does this correlate to your brain. Where/what is your consciousness? How can we think, how do nerves and brains and stuff translate to thoughts? Where's the transition from physical to mental?! Lol, sorry for yelling.

EDIT: Try repeating the sentence, and at the same time think about thinking. I don't know, it's hard to explain what I mean.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: LeeE on 31/07/2010 10:46:15
I agree with what BC said in that other thread: we think in terms of concepts and not in terms of words.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: neilep on 31/07/2010 13:34:48
Okay, I think I got most of that. But I thought of something else:

I don't think language at all affects your ability to think critically. I think it's just translating the impulsive ideas that we get into a language. Consider this- Think in your mind the follow words: "The man will go to the store." In the back of your mind while you "say" this sentence, your thinking, but it's not in language. The thoughts, if actually translated, would be like "Why is this guy making me say this", or your picturing the key words in the sentence, and all the while simultaneously forming opinions about what your reading, me (the writer), and maybe other ideas that you come up with. These secondary thoughts don't need to be translated because you "know" them. The point of saying the sentence was to make you "speak" in your mind, and realize that thinking was still going on in the background that you "know" these thoughts and don't need to translate them. I don't know, that might seem really obvious or it might not make any sense at all, but I believe all thoughts arise as these impulses and that the language aspect of your thoughts cannot influence these influences, it's merely the translation of them for the purpose of communication.

On a separate note, do you know what I mean by the "impulsive" ideas? If so, how does this correlate to your brain. Where/what is your consciousness? How can we think, how do nerves and brains and stuff translate to thoughts? Where's the transition from physical to mental?! Lol, sorry for yelling.

EDIT: Try repeating the sentence, and at the same time think about thinking. I don't know, it's hard to explain what I mean.


The thing is when you ask one to think in your mind the following words ""The man will go to the store.""...I DO think in the language because you are asking me to read the words...it's akin to reading this post or a book........If you had asked me to imagine the concept of a man going to the store then I would just have to think about the concept and would probably use visualisation as the aid..I would not have imagined it as a written sentence...but I think I see what you mean when you say in the back of your mind you're simultaneously forming opinions. The secondary thoughts do not need translating them because we have already understood the concept of the man going to the store which was instigated b the words in the sentence.

Ok...so what you are saying is that if the words "The man will go to the store." utilised a shorthand version i.e. was written down using a more concise language then the concept would have been understood earlier. In this case I agree....say that the only way to convey the concept was to say " the gentleman will travel a journey to visit the retail establishment" then your version is clearly far more concise and thus the comprehension of the concept is intially quicker..........OK..I do see what you mean !


As far as asking about nerves and stuff in the brain....this is way out of my purview....you're asking one of the biggest mysteries of all time as to how does a physical biological entity manifest what appears to be independent thought.....I say ' what appears to be' because there are people who are of the ilk that every thought we manifest believe it's all part of some programming !....I'll leave that one to the more established academic thinkers here !







Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: neilep on 31/07/2010 13:38:58
I agree with what BC said in that other thread: we think in terms of concepts and not in terms of words.

yep..that's what I fundamentally believe in....I've been saying that ' language' can be used as a supplement as an aid.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Joe L. Ogan on 31/07/2010 15:17:30
Are you saying that you come up with a concept without putting it into words?  Can you please give an example?  But then, of course, you must put it into words to give an example.  How do you ever communicate a concept?  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bored chemist on 31/07/2010 15:40:10
I am currently stripping down an old van de Graff generator to clean and repair it. I realised that I hadn't been paying attention and so I didn't know which way round the two uprights went- was the chamfered bit on the inside or the outside?

I was cleaning them anyway because they needed it and I figured I could put them together again and, if they didn't fit, I could turn them round.
Suddenly I noticed that the screw holes that hold them in place were not on a horizontal line, but diagonal. With that, and the marks left from where they were fitted in the first place I could tell which way round they went.

I realise I have;t done a very good job of putting that into words.
That's my point; I can "see" how they fit- I don't need any language for that.

I could also "explain" this idea to anyone, no matter what language they spoke, by showing them the holes.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: neilep on 31/07/2010 16:15:39
great example BC !
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: LeeE on 01/08/2010 13:02:10
When one uses an analogy to explain a concept, one is using words that do not directly relate to that primary concept.  Instead one is using words that literally apply to something completely different but which, if it's a good analogy, will communicate the original concept.

In the context of analogies then, it clearly seems to be the concept that is most important, and not the words.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Joe L. Ogan on 02/08/2010 18:43:17
I agree with what BC said in that other thread: we think in terms of concepts and not in terms of words.

yep..that's what I fundamentally believe in....I've been saying that ' language' can be used as a supplement as an aid.

Hi, To those of you who think only in terms of concepts, do you dream in terms of concepts also?  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bored chemist on 02/08/2010 20:49:12
I don't often remember dreams well. What I remember are people, things, and images.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: defkhan1 on 23/08/2010 15:51:41
I'm not sure one always thinks in language, so what language you speak, and it's relative efficiency might have little to do with the speed of thought.  I myself think more in images and patterns when examining a deep problem.  The language is applied if I have to translate that information in order to elucidate it, and sometimes, that can seem an impossible task.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: peppercorn on 23/08/2010 17:33:43
Not exactly pertinent to the OP, but I wonder if a study could be carried out to see if multilingual people are more prone to make intuitive jumps in other areas of their lives when coming up with solutions.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bored chemist on 23/08/2010 19:23:57
Fine idea, but it reminds me of this cartoon.
http://site.ecfs.org/bass/
How do you test for intuitive leaps?
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: peppercorn on 23/08/2010 19:50:11
Fine idea, but it reminds me of this cartoon.
http://site.ecfs.org/bass/
How do you test for intuitive leaps?

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fsite.ecfs.org%2Fbass%2Fpicture%248&hash=8a88fedac9717f222fb719783a641dd6)

LOL


Quote
How do you test for intuitive leaps?
Beats me!  .... if only I spoke a second language.
Title: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Joe L. Ogan on 27/08/2010 22:05:08
I did not realize that so many people thought only in concepts.  I think in concepts also but that is only the first step for me.  I then explain it to myself in language.  I may even discuss it with myself and explore the thought of being either right or wrong.  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Monox D. I-Fly on 10/01/2019 03:38:46
Did you know that there are 24 different kinds of math?
Wait, what? Explain!
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bored chemist on 10/01/2019 10:18:06
Did you know that there are 24 different kinds of math?
Wait, what? Explain!
That's the problem with necromancy; the author isn't here any more.
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: alancalverd on 10/01/2019 11:14:05
It has been suggested that the form of Chinese and Japanese counting numbers lend themselves better to speed mental arithmetic than their western variants. It is also the case that learned jargon can trigger a complex semiautomatic response, so it is arguable that some languages might produce a shorter time from input to output.
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bored chemist on 10/01/2019 12:43:02

It has been suggested that the form of Chinese and Japanese counting numbers lend themselves better to speed mental arithmetic than their western variants. It is also the case that learned jargon can trigger a complex semiautomatic response, so it is arguable that some languages might produce a shorter time from input to output.
I wonder if a comparable study has been made about French

* French Numbers.png (102.36 kB . 991x903 - viewed 598 times)
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: alancalverd on 10/01/2019 14:01:09
Not to mention onze, douze, treize....vinget-et-un, vingt-deux.... when our oriental friends say tenone, tentwo....twotenone....
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Bill S on 11/01/2019 17:51:28
Quote from: OP
If one thought in a faster or more concise language than say, English, would s/he be able to formulate ideas faster? Likewise, if the language was more expansive or logical than English, would that improve one's critical thinking skills? In general, how does language impact thought process?

I think the language we use makes little (if any) difference to our speed of thought.  Probably, our familiarity with the language we are using makes more difference to the ease with which we organise and express our ideas than does the nature of the language; discounting those “primitive” languages that might lack the necessary vocabulary. 

Quote from:  Joe L. Ogan
    I did not realize that so many people thought only in concepts.  I think in concepts also but that is only the first step for me.  I then explain it to myself in language.  I may even discuss it with myself and explore the thought of being either right or wrong.

That sounds like a description of my thought process. :)

If I’m writing notes about something I’m trying to understand, I tend to write as though explaining to some one else. 
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Monox D. I-Fly on 12/01/2019 07:04:22
I wonder if a comparable study has been made about French

* French Numbers.png (102.36 kB . 991x903 - viewed 598 times)
You think that's bad? Try deciphering Roman numeral.
XLIX = Ten subtracted from fifty plus one subtracted from ten = (–10 + 50) + (–1 + 10) = 40 + 9 = 49
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: alancalverd on 12/01/2019 12:26:49
And now multiply! II x II = IV you can do on your fingers, but how can you prove the hypotenuse of a III IV triangle to be V? What do ancient Greek numerals look like, for Pythagoras' sake? How on earth did builders estimate numbers of bricks, or make right-angles before Arabic numbers?
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: Rodin1880 on 12/01/2019 22:47:06
To use a faster language you would have to think faster, but that doesn't mean that the faster thinking is a result of the faster language, more than likely the opposite would be the reality...
Quality of thought, something that is rare today, is the next question, speed doesn't usually result in better thought, in fact "sleeping on it" usually creates the best quality of thought...
A larger diversification of words was suggested but if you take the time to look at our English language you'll see that we DO have a large diversity that most people don't recognize as being different words, such as "Apparent", "Obvious", and "Evident"... They are apparently the same, some might say obviously the same, but few know they are evidently different...
I recently met a young Chinese Migrant, well versed in English. I mentioned "television" and he couldn't come to terms with my limitation of the subject... His confusion being apparent, I inquired, and he explained that there is more "television" than what the cable company supplies... The transfer of visuals also comes from DVD's BluRay, and many other forms, including his smart phone which he pointed at as he explained... While he knew what a "TV" is, he didn't realize that "TV" means television...
Title: Re: Think faster with faster language?
Post by: alancalverd on 13/01/2019 00:19:13
Not sure about your last point. Television is seeing at a distance, so a live image on a mobile phone certainly counts as television, as does a CCTV feed to a monitor. But why necessarily live, since almost no public broadcast TV is live and a fair bit of it consists of high quality film and digital recording - no different from a DVD? Is there a significant difference between a "home cinema" and a modern public cinema with digital projection? Where do you draw the line?