Owrd Thought

Topics: Human, Thought, Cognition Pages: 3 (909 words) Published: December 4, 2012
There is a word, then thought and language
Language is the main method of human communication which can be spoken or written, and it consists of use words in structured way. According Linguist Susanne K. Langer’s essay “Language and Thought”, “Language is the highest and most amazing achievement of the symbolistic human mind… The birth of language is the dawn of humanity. The line between man and beast- between the highest ape and the lowest savage – is the language line.” The line separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. When we can imagine, dream, and have morality, ethics, and arts, animals can only eat, survive, and reproduce. Language contains the symbol of thought. Before we speak we think about it, imagine, visualize, and remember. In other words we use symbols to think, communicate, and conceive. However, we also can react without symbolizing, just by a sign. Langer distinguishes between signs and symbols in order to show that humans are different from animals because of language. I support her argument because language is directly connected with a symbol. Langer starts her essay with defining a sign term; “A sign is anything that announces the existence or the imminence of some event, the presence of a thing or a person, or change in the state of affairs.” A sign is often a warning of something, or something we directly encounter, or something meant to give direction. Thunder is a sign of rain; a punch in the nose is a sign of anger. In the most obvious example there are street signs, like warning curve ahead or stop signs. A migration of birds can be taken as a sign that there is winter or spring ahead, or a rainbow during ordinary day could be a sign that good luck is coming. The author says that “If man had kept to the straight and narrow path of sign using, he would be like the other [nowadays] animals”. How good man tried to use signs to build better social system like ants do, he would always have lived life of highly sign-using...
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