• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is language used to label thoughts or are thoughts molded by the formation of language?

Extracts from this document...


Benjamin Meza Period 7 11/05/01 Topic #2: To what extent do the names and labels we use in the pursuit of knowledge affect the conclusions we reach? Is language used to label thoughts or are thoughts molded by the formation of language? In the pursuit of knowledge we formulate our ideas by attaching names and labels to the thoughts we conceive. This dependence on language is common to both thought and communication. As a form of communication, language is restricted to those universal terms, which can be understood by all people in their limited scope of perception. Therefore, a precipice is reached where the limitations of language affect formulated concepts, confining them to the minute window of understanding which all humans share. George Steiner explained it best when he wrote: "Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence."1 In defining concepts, language also ties meaning to other preconceived definitions and from this there evolves a impedance to true accuracy. Therefore, it is possible to say that despite the attempt by all languages to describe all possible realities, in the rendering of thoughts the use of names and labels skews to a great extent the realm of possible meaning, often times diverging from one's original intent. ...read more.


Empedocles reconciled the three aforementioned diverging theories by making earth, water, air, and fire the primordial elements.4 This conclusion arrested the progress of science for many years until Mohammedan alchemists in the search for a way to transmute base metals into gold, began to discover elements for which no names existed.5 Only later when the first "chemists" began to define such base concepts with new vocabulary, did a deeper understanding of chemistry emerge. The idea that language is essential to thought has been approached from the fictional field also. In his novel, 1984, George Orwell developed an entirely new language called "newspeak." The premise for newspeak was a language which could be strictly regulated and which would not permit the conception of revolutionary ideas. For example: "the word goodthink, meaning, very roughly, 'orthodoxy,' or, if one chose to regard it as a verb, 'to think in an orthodox manner.'"6 In this manner, not only did Orwell create new words but simplified the concepts which the Ingsoc government (New "English Socialist" totalitarian Order) deemed acceptable, making it easier for the expression of orthodox ideas and impossible for revolutionary ones. ...read more.


In this instance it is the difference in cultural and geographic conditioning that confuses the transmission of ideas, or even accurate illustrations of objective reality. The goal of each area of knowledge and medium of communication is to assign more accurate names and labels to loftier and more obtuse concepts. A mathematical or scientific representation of, "it is a hot day" may seek to find the objective reality by reducing the level of relativism. This would be done by assigning a number to the temperature of the day: "It is 80?F outside." Even in a scientific representation, however, one may describe the temperature as 26.67?C or 299.82K, with each being completely accurate but associated with a different reference point: Fahrenheit with freezing point of salt water; Celsius with freezing point of distilled water; and Kelvin with absolute zero. Artists could try to illustrate the heat of the day by painting a canvas with reds and oranges like fire. There are an infinite number of ways to represent an infinite number of shades of the same idea. In every case, there exists a direct correlation between the labels and names we give concepts, and, the conclusions we reach from using different labels and names. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    The Language used in School Reports

    3 star(s)

    Within the subject Mathematics, there are the subheadings of "Number", "Using and Applying", "Shape and Measures" and "Handling Data." These are the main topics that the curriculum requires all schools to follow. The use of them on the report makes it far easier for parents (who may not be aware of the requirements)

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    I was happily married for thirteen years before my ex had a Mid Life Crisis (see, girls do it too!). But I'm over that 'hump', dusted myself down and already attacking life again with a positive attitude. I have three super kids (aged 14, 12 and 10)

  1. Why the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588.

    in the way they wanted, stop helping the Dutch rebels and hand over money to cover the cost of the invasion and the damage done to Spanish towns in the new world. Philip thought his plan was flawless, but was yet to discover it certainly was not.

  2. In what ways might language be used as an instrument of oppression?

    In this version it is clear that the reference is more generalized, but it is also possible to signal more confidently that there are female as well as male persons within the tale. However, Cameron does point out that although it is easy to make such changes on a small

  1. Creative writing and commentary. It was the year 2015 and Earth was exploring ...

    And then when I met you, it made up my mind for sure" Rachel smiled at him "Well I like you to, but what do you mean 14 of my years? And do you mean that you would have gone around killing humans if you didn't meet me?"

  2. Language investigation into the language used by George Bush on the day of and ...

    Also 'God bless America.' 9/11 - Speech to Congress, televised 9PM Praise for the services, thanks to international support, stating difference between Al Qaeda and the people of Afghanistan. Bush's Hope that life will 'return to normal.' 9/12 - Bush meets security team 10.53 AM A report posted on the White House website detailing his meeting with the security team.

  1. Free essay

    GNVQ Business Promotion Unit 7

    This summer service is being re-launched, and I will be producing a promotion plan for it. Promotion objectives: * Increase the number of summer students: increasing the number of students in the Modern School of English would obviously mean more income, which means the amount of profit will increase.

  2. The topic of religious language has many facets for exploration. The area of research ...

    Complex prosodics perhaps an indicator of a middle- or upper-class upbringing; sophisticated fluency an indicator of a well-practised preacher. However while conclusions such as this may be drawn, the accuracy of such conclusions remains in doubt. (1589) Grammar Sentence types and structure: The first word of the first line is a first person plural pronoun ("our").

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work