How do/did people who never learned a language think?

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How do/did people who never learned a language think?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

In the most extreme cases, isolated from both language and culture, they may not think much at all, at least not in the way we think of conscious thought. There was a famous case which of course I now forget the name of, but when asked what he thought prior to learning language the man would mime being “dumb” and “ignorant”, and refused to speak about that time.

Clearly there is enough thought to *live* (find food, hide from predators), but it’s hard to say what level of planning or reflection occurs.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Language is not required to think. Language is to convey to others what you’re thinking. Animals do not have a structured language as human, yet they can think and solve problems.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

So actually language is not only to communicate to others, but also to yourself. Language has this amazing ability to help shape and structure consciousness, it allows you to form thoughts, and ongoing cohesive mental processes.
This is why we attribute national characters to countries etc, like germans are rigorist or Italians are warm, this is partly explained because a language is like a tool that helps you build your psyche and intellect.
Also why humans have progressed this far, language is what allows us to develop further than other animals can do, not because other animals are innately dumb but because they don’t have a language to structure and develop their thinking

Anonymous 0 Comments

Abstract thought without words is possible. If you’ve ever had a moment where you don’t know the word for what you’re thinking, then you’ve experienced being able to think without language.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Helen Keller wrote a very poignant account of living as a nonverbal child, having lost her hearing and sight as a young toddler, before acquiring more than a few words (most of which she forgot).

She has intense sensory and emotional memories of her experience, but also writes of deep frustration at being unable to really communicate or understand the world around her. Children are naturally more concrete than abstract thinkers before a certain age, but she was old enough to begin abstract thinking before she re-acquired language, and she definitely considered her lack of language to have dramatically affected her inner life:

“Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbour was. “Light! give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul.”

You can find the full text of her autobiography online, “The Story of My Life:”

https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/keller/life/life.html#I

Anonymous 0 Comments

Language isn’t required for thinking. I heard that some people think all their thoughts verbally, like talking to themselves, but plenty of people think without words. You can examine a problem and think of a solution in a non-verbal way. Thinking through concepts and images is actually a lot more efficient and faster than verbal thinking, which is slower because it has to be linear.