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Thread: In what language do deaf people think?

  1. #1 In what language do deaf people think? 
    Forum Freshman IAlexN's Avatar
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    Hi,

    My question is if a child is born completely deaf. Then when he is around 20 years old, in what language will he think in?

    This has been a big conundrum for me.

    Thank you.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    These days they teach the deaf through vibration (to learn to speak), lip reading, and sign language, and they likely think in whatever languages they are taught. I don't know how they perceive things like rhythm and meter in language though, or if they hear a voice in their mind so to speak. There's probably some personal accounts by deaf people available somewhere on the internet.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    People don't think in languages. It's just an illusion.
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    Forum Professor Dave Wilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    People don't think in languages. It's just an illusion.
    To expect that I accept your contention is to ask that I forage into the abstract, weird and wonderful world of the metaphysical and pseudo scientific. I think in languages, spoken or signed etc, because that is the way we learn to relate to the world and our relationship with it. I cannot expect to reason you out of your position however, as clearly it is one you have not reasoned yourself into in the first place. Incidentally, if you do read my reply, in what cognitive form are the thoughts in your mind now formulating ?
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    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    No, you don't. Your brain just automatically translates your thoughts into words, just in case you will want to say them. Thinking and languages ocur in different brain areas. It's possible to learn to turn it off and speed up your thinking.

    Are you trying to say that for example german/french bilingual thinks differently depending on which language he uses? And what about when someaone who barely speaks some language is trying to say something in it, does that mean his thinking is disorganized, or that he can't think at all?
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    Forum Professor Dave Wilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    No, you don't. Your brain just automatically translates your thoughts into words, just in case you will want to say them. Thinking and languages ocur in different brain areas. It's possible to learn to turn it off and speed up your thinking.

    Are you trying to say that for example German/french bilingual thinks differently depending on which language he uses? And what about when someaone who barely speaks some language is trying to say something in it, does that mean his thinking is disorganized, or that he can't think at all?
    If we don`t have language we can`t translate thoughts into words, therefore thoughts would be expressed by means of gesticulations or grunts. You are correct in that the left temporal lobe of the brain is thought to be utilised for language, whilst in fact all of the brain is used in subjective thought, but the higher thought stages are generally accepted to occur in the frontal cortex.
    A bi linguist would automatically think in their first or primary language, whilst someone who barely speaks a given language but tries to express themselves in it, will find their thought patterns will be processed initially in their primary language, which their brain will be trying to translate into the language they are trying to express themselves in. Not disorganised in the way we would generally accept disorganised to mean but occupied with the translation, which would slow the cognitive process down.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson

    If we don`t have language we can`t translate thoughts into words, therefore thoughts would be expressed by means of gesticulations or grunts. You are correct in that the left temporal lobe of the brain is thought to be utilised for language, whilst in fact all of the brain is used in subjective thought, but the higher thought stages are generally accepted to occur in the frontal cortex.
    It seems you don't understand. I guess it's difficult to understand if you haven't tried to think without language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson
    A bi linguist would automatically think in their first or primary language,
    No, bilinguals can use both languages directly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson
    whilst someone who barely speaks a given language but tries to express themselves in it, will find their thought patterns will be processed initially in their primary language, which their brain will be trying to translate into the language they are trying to express themselves in. Not disorganised in the way we would generally accept disorganised to mean but occupied with the translation, which would slow the cognitive process down.
    What you are describing is a poor learning style. The first thing you will (or should) be taught when you start learning is to NOT TRANSLATE from your first language.
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    Forum Professor Dave Wilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit



    It seems you don't understand. I guess it's difficult to understand if you haven't tried to think without language.
    Will you please explain how to do this this ?
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    People don't think in languages. It's just an illusion.
    Yes, but the question was whether or not the deaf conceptualized thoughts in their head the same way as the hearing do.
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  11. #10  
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    Can they "hear themselves think"?
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  12. #11  
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    i dont think its as much hearing themselves think but when thinking they think in words. I wonder if they visualise images.
    Your brain just automatically translates your thoughts into words, just in case you will want to say them
    What if you have told yourself you are not going to speak out loud
    just wondering
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