Challenges in exploring whether/how language affects thinking
1. What exactly is meant by ‘language’?
2. What exactly is meant by ‘thinking ?
3. What exactly is meant by 'affects inﬂuences /constrains' ?!
4. How can we test the issues scientiﬁcally?
LOTS of controversy on this topic; little in the way of ﬁrm conclusions
Starting point: 4 ways to help frame the question!
1) !a. does Thought (in general) REQUIRE Language?
b. does Language (in general) INFLUENCE thought?
2) a. does knowing a speciﬁc language CONSTRAIN
!how we think?
b. does knowing a speciﬁc language have a more subtle INFLUENCE on how we think?
(Core idea here: thinking is a kind of internal monologue.)
Various folk speculations are often used to support this idea
what about 'smart' behaviours observed in...
• prelinguistic children?
So, does thinking require language? (are the two one and the same?)
The weaker alternative:
(1b) Does language (in general) inﬂuence thinking ?