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”The Vocabulary We Have Does More Than Communicate Our Knowledge; It Shapes What We Can Know.” Evaluate This Claim With Reference To Different Are...

1407 words - 6 pages

Language is the way humans communicate either oral or written. Our vocabulary may shape what we can know but only to some extent. In the modern world we seem to make a connection between the naming of things and their existence. Our world does however not bend to our words. Language contains many values, but the influence of language is however much deeper. Many researchers and scientist have tried to find a connection between language, knowledge and thought.
In developmental psychology the cognitive developments plays an important role. It is focused on the development of children on a cognitive level (how data is processed, language learning etc.). Jean Piaget being a major personality in the establishment of the cognitive development field founded a theory concerning the stages of development. According to Piaget humans go through the sensorimotor stage from birth until the age of two. In this stage the behaviour lacks sense of thought and logic. Later humans are able to represent the external world. In important factor developed in the sensorimotor stage is language. Newer traditional views in this theory emphasize the role of social experience in the learning of language. Humans surrounded by many others humans will often have a more developed and broader language than those being raised more isolated.
According to Piaget knowledge is a cognitive structure or mental representation which changes over time. The mental representations, also called schemas, are integrated and modified as a result of experience. New schemas develop when current schemas are inadequate. The learning of new schemas can happen in two ways. One is through assimilation. When new information is integrated into existing cognitive schemas, knowledge is consolidated. For example the word “cat” is categorised in the schema “animals”. But what is the category is unknown? If the person learning the word “cat” does not know the word “animal” will the person then have less knowledge about the cat? The person might to some extent have less knowledge about the cat’s figure in the word. If the person was to explain to somebody else who did not know what a cat was it would seem obvious to just say that it is an animal. Here language is a clear limitation to pass on the knowledge, but also a sign of lack of knowledge.
The linguistic relativity principle, also known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, is the idea that language affects the way people think. This theory is closely related to cognitive development and the growth of language in the human mind. In the theory it is believed that language determines our thoughts and perceptions. This theory also states that if a word is absent in a language, the person will not be aware of the objects existence. I believe that this last part of the theory is wrong. Have you ever been in an argument with someone and suddenly you did not know what to say? You did not have any clever comeback, but when you get home you know just what you should...

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