To analyze this concept, we must first know the definitions of language and thought. In the most basic terms from my understanding is that language is a means of communication by labelling our thoughts with words or symbols. In addition, our thoughts are defined as the power to think and imagine. Transferring thoughts would not only mean communicating to others, but also thinking within one's mind or dealing with an experience. From these meanings, we can now understand why language is needed for us to think, for without language, we cannot attach anything to our sense perceptions and experiences. Our power to think and imagine cannot exist if there are no labels to transfer it. Many authorities in language have attempted to identify a definition for language, others see it as an indefinable concept that cannot be an all-embracing definition, nevertheless there are some definitions in which people define Language such as:
Web Definitions of Language
- A systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols (www.wordnetweb.princeton.edu)
- A language is a particular kind of system for encoding and decoding information (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language)
- A form of communication using words either spoken or gestured with the hands and structured with grammar, often with a writing system (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/language)
- Signs, movements or sounds that express ideas or feelings (www.ldoceonline.com/Linguistics-topic/language)
Web Definitions of Thought
- The act or process of thinking (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/thought)
- The product of mental activity; that which one thinks (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/thought)
- An idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind (Google definition)
- Any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought)
From the sixth Web definition of language, we see that language “expresses ideas and feelings” which reside in our thought. Our idea and feeling are invisible actions which can only be understood by an individual that possesses it, if not communicated. But the only way they can be expressed is to communicate them to other parties with the use of language in either verbal or non verbal. For example, a scientist who has new discovery can only expresses his ideas about the discovery by means of communicating it to others and thus improving the development of the society in Science and Technology.
There are also elements of language that make it easier for us to understand the world we live in. Abstractions in language help us to classify ideas into groups so that we may generalize or specify parts within a label. For instance, a car is made up of many parts such as the engine, the wheels, the body, etc. We call it a car instead of "an engine driving the wheels with a body attached to carry passengers", to make it easier for us to transfer the thought within our mind and to others. Also, by calling it a car, we have differentiated the object from a train or a bike, both being other types of transportation. Again, our world is divided into pieces so the human mind can understand it bit by bit. From seeing a car to measuring the temperature, language offers an explanation to our experiences and is a powerful tool to help us think.
All the labels within any language have a role in the way we, as human beings, think and process our experiences. With the direct control that languages possess over thoughts, a person could easily control other disciplines to their advantage. However, not only words and labels themselves have an influence on our minds but the way they are said can have an influence of how we identify people. Once one learns language, it is difficult to think complex or abstract thoughts without somehow relating to language. Immediate sensory input that is recognized by the brain still constitutes thought, but is not interpreted linguistically until shortly after, however, babies are born with photographic memories until they learn language. They soak up input like a sponge; while all sensory information is useful to them, sight is the most useful tool for learning, and concepts are understood visually until the capacity for language starts to form.
To this end Language can be concluded to be power due to its influence on all areas of knowledge. A Philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein states that “the limit of language is the limit of knowledge”. From Ludwig statement, it can be deduced that language is power since it is significant in every areas of development because it plays large role for basic awareness of each development areas. So with all things considered, language is a lot more powerful than we think. Without it, we would not be able to handle any thought. Through the direct link between our thoughts and our language, we can be extremely influenced by the usage of labels and their sounds. Through such things as limiting one's vocabulary or using ambiguity, one can effectively control other disciplines. An important thing to realize is that by understanding the power of language, we can learn how to use it more effectively and we can reduce its influence on our thoughts. Human kind's quest for knowledge is only limited by our language and its ability to control what we can and cannot know. We need language to think and interpret everything we experience and to put it into perspective.