ot necessarily though. *if* language never forms in us, perhaps. But once language forms, we use it to reflect back to ourselves, a verbal/mental mirror that we can see ourselves with.
Well, the process of learning language starts (I believe) to help make more clear our wants/needs/desires. It’s frustrating to be unable to get help when you need it. and I think that frustration leads to language development.
But I think the inner voices develop rather early. Consider how even toddlers roleplay: it’s based on internal dialogues they’re acting out.
[or rather, the inner dialog is part of the whole embodied script]
I had a great experience tonight related to this: My 11 yr old nephew is a huge fan of the “We are number one” meme.
At school today, he silently reenacted the entire 2m 50s video while on line for lunch for his friend, who didn’t ‘get’ what he was doing at first.
He enacted the entire thing for me in the kitchen tonight. Silent. No words. Just all the motions.
I was REALLY impressed because I know the video well too and knew just what he was imitating.
After congratulating him on his performance, I said, “How’d you do it? You got all the moves perfectly and didn’t say a word?”
He said he played the song in his head while he was doing it.
This is the power of subvocalization.
I think he was trying to bring general semantics into a more scientific realm.
It succeeded in sociology and group psychology but failed in anthropology and linguistics.
I think it’s in the proper fields now.
There’s not words for everything.
With any *descriptive* accuracy.
There’s more than descriptions-of experience.
More words for colors means you can discriminate between colors more.
We have many words for colors in English too. There’s really nothing special about the two blues in Russian, or in languages that lack “orange” and instead say “red”.
They can communicate meaning to each other just fine. It’s just that our translations suck and we miss their nuances.
But by discriminate I should say: describe more precisely. You can still tell things apart even if you can’t always describe it properly.
Yes, you’ll find stuff from George Lakoff on that. Basically, the way we internally represent concepts depends on the metaphors we use and this can color our interpretation of experience.
It’s not as extreme as Sapir Whorf but still pretty amazing.