What Comes First Language or Thought?

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TOK ESSAY: WHAT COMES FIRST LANGUAGE OR THOUGHT?

The first thing that I was reminded of by this topic is the man and the woman question. We have always been wondering who came first in the world: man or woman? Scientifically it has not been proved yet that who came first. We cannot just come to a conclusion regarding who came first. The same is valid to knowledge and thought. Knowledge and thought are both inter-linked. I will be dealing each concept separately so that we can come to know the relationship between language and thought.

Language is the major tool of acquiring knowledge. It is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Thoughts, on the other hand, are forms conceived in the mind, rather than the forms perceived through the five senses. Thoughts are the processes by which these concepts are perceived and manipulated.

Our ex-president Dr. Abdul Kalam once said that there is a distinction between the conscious and the unconscious mind. He compared the human mind to a potato. Just as a potato has only 10 percent of its body above the ground, our mind has only a fraction of all the information and thoughts stored on the upper surface of consciousness. A much bigger part is hidden below in the unconscious mind. The conscious thinking is easy to be used while the unconscious thinking has to be converted into conscious thinking before it can be applied. However, this is possible to a limit because not all of the unconscious thinking can be translated into language and then applied.

According to me, language depends on thought. Thinking is possible without language because language is always limited from fully expressing thought. Thinking does not always require language, as there are different ways of thinking. The Bloom’s taxonomy (in the homework dairy) clearly mentions all the important stages of the thinking process. These include knowledge, comprehension,...
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