Posted by: DCox | January 16, 2009

Words and Thought

thought-1Which came first, the egg or the chicken? Do we think and then use words to bring clarity to our thoughts or is the only context for thinking the words that are part of our vocabulary? Whatever the case, words and thought are inextricably linked. Words are tools we use to communicate with others about the things we consider as the mundane things of life. We also use words to understand our world and to convey ideas about beauty, our feelings, and other things of the heart.

Here’s some related words / thoughts penned by thinkers from the past:

Language is called the garment of thought: however, it should rather be, language is the flesh-garment, the body, of thought. —Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus

Thinking cannot be clear till it has had expression. We must write, or speak, or act our thoughts, or they will remain in a half torpid form. Our feelings must have expression, or they will be as clouds, which, till they descend in rain, will never bring up fruit or flower, so it is with all the inward feelings; expression gives them development. Thought is the blossom; language the opening bud; action the fruit behind it. —H.W. Beecher

Language is not merely a means of expression and communication; it is an instrument of experiencing, thinking, and feeling … Our ideas and experiences are not independent of language; they are all integral parts of the same pattern, the warp and woof of the same texture. We do not first have thoughts, ideas, feelings, and then put them into a verbal framework. We think in words, by means of words. Language and experience are inextricably interwoven, and the awareness of one awakens the other. Words and idioms are as indispensible to our thoughts and experiences as are colors and tints to a painting. —William Chomsky, Hebrew: the Eternal Language


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