How does human language work? What is the main role of language: speech or thought?

Generally articles / books on human language are logical and rarely result in revelations as a result of their reading. The truth is that we know very little about how human language works. Here are some ideas we know and the complexity of the subject.


What is the point of speaking?


Think about the next situation we face every day. We are part of a discussion on a topic that is not very familiar to us, for example: why we have not been visited by aliens until now.

Although we have never thought seriously about this subject, but we do not have clearly outlined ideas, we will express many opinions on the subject at once. We start talking and words start flowing. We engage in discourse with ideas already formulated (perhaps we know, for example, that planets that host life are far from Earth or require extraordinary technology to travel vast distances in space is) . But what is interesting is the following: thought flows, as if they were already prepared and we spontaneously materialize by pronouncing them.

This is not always the case, but it often happens. There are many cases (perhaps most?) Where ideas come to pieces, waiting to be completed. We keep them in memory, hoping to reach these pieces, to complete them. When we want to activate them and fulfill them, sometimes we don't find them, we forgot them ...

At the same time, it is easier to talk at the same time, than to read the text already written on a sheet of paper! Isn't it amazing? How is this possible? Language use seems to have a wide subliminal component. It seems that the whole idea / phrase comes to be converted directly into sounds (speech). What is the mechanism behind this miraculous process is still a mystery…

This idea brings us to the subject of consciousness, which is widely presented by us in this article: We will most likely never understand what consciousness is. In one moment the senses that come are in the form of a stream, more or less, out of the unconscious. Perhaps, any discussion of consciousness should take into account the lesser known universe of the unconscious.

When did the speech appear?


Based on interpretations of archaeological discoveries, it is estimated that the language appeared 50 or 100 thousand years ago. Homo sapiens is a young species that appeared about 200–250 thousand years ago.

Referring to the language, Darwin said: "Inferior animals differ from humans on the basis of their inferiority and their unlimited ability to relate ideas."

Is this the language of speaking or thinking?


One of the strongest theories about language belongs to Noam Chomsky, an American intellectual. He proposed the idea that language is a type of biological organ, a human being born with a syntax (structure of language) that allows language to be learned. Language is not a tool that humans use for a particular purpose, but rather a biological object, such as the visual system or the immune system.

Chomsky believes that the main feature of language is the ability to associate sounds with ideas, as Darwin said. The relationship between language and thought is therefore the defining element of language. Outsourcing, disseminating ideas through speech or writing, is a secondary aspect. This idea is a powerful and common opinion that language is for communication. Language is for thinking!

We can deepen this idea. Language, depending on how well mastered it is, measures the quality of an idea. A well-structured language with a rich vocabulary provides conditions for complex, nuanced, innovative thinking. A mind that approaches the most important ideas of species (for example, by reading the great books of mankind) provides an opportunity to work with first-class material.

Language uses minimum structural distance


Yes, the subtitle sounds complicated, but here is an example that explains what this is all about.

We have the following statement: "instinctively, vultures that swim". It is a reproduction by eng. "Instinctively, eagles that float."

First, it is worth noting the similarity between constructions between the two languages, Romanian and English, which confirms Chomsky's view that language exists in all as a spontaneous structure.

What is amazing in this sentence? The adverb, "spontaneous", is associated with the verb "swim", not with the second verb "fly" in the sentence, which is the first. Also in the variation of this sentence: "Can flying eagles swim?".

Why is it amazing? Because it would be expected, as it would be simple for the process, that language theory should be "minimum linear distance", that is, the verb should be close to "swim", not "fly". Because things are different, the importance of language structure is demonstrated.

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