A question struck me the other day when trying to get to 'understand' theoretical physical principles such as the fundamental tenets of Special Relativity, General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics, what is the 'actual' best language to understand these concepts in? Is it the language of Mathematics or is it the preferred language of thought itself, namely the preferred dialogue of the thinker?

I was thinking in terms of 'thought experiments' where the really powerful conclusions seem to arise from analogy. I assume that the thought experiment itself is performed in the mind using the common tongue language as opposed to that of mathematics.Actually here is a question for the mathematicians out there. Do you think in mathematics or do you think by interpreting mathematics in your preferred language of the mind?

For example, was Einstein thinking in terms of maths when he tried to decipher what was going on. My assumption was that this was not the case and he passed his interpretation to a mathematician (eg. Marcel Grossman etc) to decipher his thought verbalisations into a robust mathematical form.

Now in terms of analogy, I understand how interpretation through visual 2D analogy is problematic when trying to explain for example multi-dimensional concepts or 'non local' or counterfactual concepts'. A visual diagram in 2D itself (thinks rubber sheet analogy for GR) cannot faithfully describe what he theory is telling us on paper. However the mind tends to operate visually in 3D + 1 (perhaps even by projecting the minds contents via fourier transformations......who knows)....... but the power of language in written form can overcome this limited descriptive methodology in 2D. For example I can think in terms of 3D and 1T geometry by taking snapshots of an evolving 3D geometry and I can convey this thought by words that will have a common reference for others to use to appreciate that thought.

Of course a problem inherent in language itself is that the language may not contain the 'terms' to accurately convey the throughts correctly. A language full of 'nouns' to represent things may give a notion of permanance and seperability to these things where such notions in theory do not exist. For example , 'all things appear to be non-locally connected' in QM and if you drop the notion of seperate particles that exist in spacetime and replace it with the assumption of entangled supimposed wavefunctions, the 'weirdness of QM tends to disappear'. Also in relativity it is the relationships between moving things that is important which becomes obfuscated by language in terms of solid particles moving through spacetime. If you drop the nouns in this description but take a more verb oriented approach to these things, the counter-intuitive notion of the theory becomes more obvious to the thinker such as the dynamic interplay between a thing (or pattern) moving with respect to another moving thing in a dynamic background. I can see where the expression "It's all vortices and fractals man" is hiding in every one of us.

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Western languages appear to have many limitations in relation to dealing with transitory conditions or the interconnectedness of things. For Westerners, I can see how mathematics using mathematical structures such as manifolds and abstract spaces (Hilbert spaces) etc is very useful to 'plug' these deficiency gaps in the language itself, however this is where the 'thinker' loses the plot in attempting to maintain coherence in thought through the obstacles presented by their chosen language. You therefore need the maths to plug the holes so you are on a coherent thought train inter-mixed with the occassional exotic mahematical formula.

So the question then would be this.Can our chosen language be re-written to align with modern science to assist us more in following the theoretical unification path?I am thinking that if such a language was created that used words to express theoretical notions more faithfully than the current selection of terms available, then 'say' our next generation (within which this language becomes their common tongue) would be better equipped to use thought experiments to go beyond the limitations observed today as we progressively need to use more and more mathematics as alternate measures to address this limitation. The idea being that a new better equipped language would assist in resolving the trending problems with unification of theoretical physics today. For example, many of the Quantum Gravity theories are so mathematical nowadays and there are so many variants, that a thinker in the current day cannot see the woods for the trees in selecting a best path to take. :-))

Examples: I tend to think the English language is a Newtonian language. It is not a language well equipped for General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics. The language represents the classical earthly world as it gives form to classical objects moving slowly in lower gravitational conditions. This is fair enough as the language need to be used by the common man to prevent his car crashing into anothers, whereas a modern language may give a reason for the common man to try and see if his wavefunction can merge with another to avoid the inevitable colision./ tic. However use of the English language in its current form is not really helpful to the common man of the future if our technologies develop and we have to deal progressively more with a GR or Quantum reality out there. Some Eastern languages are more 'verb oriented' and may be beter placed in certain ways to deal with these extended domains, but still they may be deficient in many ways. So can we develop a contemporary science language without the need for so much maths to assist the gedanken experimenter out there?