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Ba Hai standing in her bar at new year with potted plumb and kummquat trees.

Thought and Language

Therefore we say that language is not a sufficient and necessary reason for the process [of thinking].

Inhelder & Piaget (1964)

Deceived by our own internal evidence, we make internal speech the object of...inspection and identify the verbal symbol with the very process of large scale investigation has ever discovered any substantial relation between intelligence level and linguistic measurements.

Hans Furth (1966)


The picture is of Bà Hải who runs a beer bar. She is profoundly deaf, although not a bad lip reader, and it is clear, by the way she has run her bar for many decades, that there is nothing amiss with her ability to function in a complex society. Above Furth was not denying that linguistic ability can be a reasonable indicator of intellectual development, but rather that this obscures the deep and complex relation Mist forming up the valley among the trees of Ae forest. A page which suggests an analogy for the relationship between language, thought, and the world. between thought and language. He argued, in his seminal book, that thought provides the ground and the nurture of language, but that it was possible to demonstrate that the thought processes of the profoundly deaf, who had no natural language, were the same as those of the hearing. Thought precedes The Houses of Parliament across the Thames. One problem in understanding these matters is the way language is apt to over assert its importance. and is independent of language, a fact, in view of our continuous stream Potter throwing a pot. Certainly we comment to ourselves as we go, but these words are slight compared with all that goes on in our activities. of internal words, it is sometimes hard to believe.

The quote is from Inhelder & Piaget’s book The Early Growth of Logic in the Child, published by Harper & Row, New York p.293. Furth’s lines are from Thinking Without Language, published by Collier Macmillian, London pp. 197 + 199.

The photograph was taken at the Vietnamese New Year celebrations when plumb-trees-in-blossom, and kumquat-in-fruit, take over houses. The bar is on a corner by the market in Tĩnh Gia, Thanh Hóa Province.

Above hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 18th April 2020

Murphy on duty to this site