How Language Affects Critical Thinking

Topics: Thought, Critical thinking, Logic Pages: 2 (732 words) Published: October 25, 2005
How Language Affects Critical Thinking
George Bernard Shaw once said, "England and America are two countries separated by the same language" (The Quotations Page). Certainly this quote personifies the paradox that is the English language. The same words have different meanings, changes are created by society instead of scholars, and a limited vocabulary can often represent a limited mind. In an attempt to further understand language and the affect it has on critical thinking, this paper will explore two different queries and investigate the impact of language on thinking. Aristotle called metaphors, "the fundamental figure of speech," and referred to its use as, "…the true mark of genius" (Kirby, Goodpaster &, Levine, 2002, p. 82). If that is believed to be true, how would different metaphors impact the way a child is raised? If a parent were to view the raising of a child as growing a tree, they would attempt to cultivate the child's personality through application of tree-like characteristics. Initially, the soil would need to be prepared for the growth of the child. Therefore, the home would be readied for the arrival of the child. The environment would be prepared by creating a safe and loving environment. Next, good roots would be established through a strong family and moral belief system. The parents would be sure to encourage the child to develop strong ties to his family and community. This would lead to the growth of a strong trunk, meaning a child who could grow into a productive adult and be a giving and functioning member of society. Finally, the child would be empowered to develop his or her own unique personality, much like the leaves of a tree.

The same type of child rearing could be applied in other metaphoric contexts. The building of a house or the making of a Stradivarius violin would involve the same system as the growing of a tree. In building a house, the land would be prepared, much like the soil for a tree, for the...

References: Kirby, G. R., Goodpaster, J. R., & Levine, M. (2002). Critical Thinking. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing.
The Quotations Page (2002). Quotations by Subject: Language. Retrieved November 15, 2002,
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