piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
comment from [livejournal.com profile] deaf, plus some additional thoughts:

French people don't "think in English or in English but with French grammar" - they think in French everything.

when they do think in language at all, that is. my native mode of thought isn't in language at all; it's in what i call "gestalty" -- concepts; a melange of images, aural allusions (it's not quite like something i would hear; more like a representation thereof), smell memory (again, not quite like actually smelling anything), movement, colour, emotions, symbols -- sometimes it's like a short abstract IMAX movie with additional sense input. when i am aware of it, that is; mostly i am not. i wonder how becoming aware of it changes things; i am certain the act of observation affects the process. i have to "slide" into it when i want to describe it, or it breaks and becomes language.

there are times when i think in language, and it's not like hearing voices, it's that aural allusion i mentioned up there. i do that when i am verbalizing something, like right now. i do it a lot when i am in the middle stages of learning a new language, before i reach some modicum of fluency. once i am past the basic fluency point i no longer translate in my mind; it's more like having another language database, and my "gestalts" form access codes. this is particularly obvious when the language in which i am verbalising doesn't have a good equivalent for a concept; access shifts temporarily to another one to get the word from another language.

i also occasionally think in written language, usually when i am not sure about spelling, or when i experiment with words in art. what little ASL i know as yet falls into that category; new languages always start out that way for me. i see ASL as yet very static, as it is when printed on a page. i am hoping it'll start to become dynamic, change from printed to imaged. (i am not currently studying it, *sigh*.)

dreams can feature any of those modes. some of the dreams that amaze me most are the ones where i dream i am inside a book; there will be really interesting shifts between seeing the actual page in front of me, and having it morph into gestalts.

i've just recently figured out that i might be able to express that through collage and assemblage. yeah, *duh*, eh? why did that never occur to me before? no idea, but it's very exciting.

on 2005-11-12 00:11 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] cakmpls.livejournal.com
Your description sounds a lot like the way I think. I feel as if I am "translating" whenever I put things into words.


on 2005-11-12 01:03 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dr-brat.livejournal.com
I think almost exclusively in words, to the point that I have often wondered how babies think when they haven't yet learned language. OTOH, I don't translate from one language to another in my head, I just use the one I'm using. If I don't know it well enough, or if a word is missing, I tend to get stuck and be unable to switch languages even to find a translation. I find this very intriguing, these differences, especially since I know almost nothing about the actual mechanisms of language acquisition.

on 2005-11-12 01:28 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] enegim.livejournal.com
I think mostly in language. But my dreams often morph between me-reading-text-describing-action and me-as-actor. Sometimes there's a weird confusion between the two, so that e.g. I'll try to yell something and have to speak, because I can't remember how to bold the text of my speech.

on 2005-11-12 02:20 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] velochicdunord.livejournal.com
When I am deeply absorbed in a subject in my primary language, the words on the page become secondary and I see the visuals inside my head, either as 2D or 3D. Usually 3D. Depends on the subject. Much as you describe.

When writing in my primary language, dependin on context and situation, I either get very playful (making things up) or consciously edit for clarity and simplicity. (This is not one of those times!)

When reading in my secondary language, I'm still at words on page/in head mode, as I am still having to work some passages, expressions and phrases back and forth for full comprehension. Kind of like chewing them really thoroughly. I can't read as fast (at about one tenth the speed as in my primary language) but I find the shift in nuance extremely interesting. And illuminating. You learn so much through a language's idoms.

'm also playing it, at a delighted 4/5/6/7/8 year old level, messing with the expressions, and making up my own. Some adults find it distressing, others delightful. It seems to amuse La CoHabitante.*

I will let you know how my third goes. This one involves a new writing system, which will pose more of a challenge.

*side tangent: She has a delightful laugh, like a silver bell.

on 2005-11-12 22:34 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
'm also playing it, at a delighted 4/5/6/7/8 year old level, messing with the expressions, and making up my own.

i am definitely in the "delightful" camp. :)

on 2005-11-12 06:29 (UTC)
ext_6381: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] aquaeri.livejournal.com
A lot of the thinking I notice is in words, but I think there's a whole extra layer all the time that isn't. I've started meditating and it's making it a bit easier for me to notice my gestalt-type thoughts, at least during meditation.

My dreams are entirely experiential and I'm not sure I actually dream the words I and the other people in the dream use - I wake up and I can remember there were conversations, and the meanings conveyed, but have no clue what actual words might have been used. Also, based on my dreams, I sometimes wonder if I should have been an architect or landscape designer, because wow! the intricacy of some of the settings.

on 2005-11-12 09:12 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] hmms-sio.livejournal.com
comment from [info]deaf, plus some additional thoughts:

French people don't "think in English or in English but with French grammar" - they think in French everything.

I do think in language. And I think in Dutch normally speaking, but switch over to thinking in English when I'm using that language for a longer period or more frequent. Been found jotting down my grocery list in English, meaning I had to translate it back to Dutch before shopping.

on 2005-11-12 22:34 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
interesting -- why do you translate it back?

on 2005-11-13 06:09 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] hmms-sio.livejournal.com
The situation I was talking about was here in the Netherlands. I worked for a hotel for a while, lots of Americans to speak to. On my way home I made up my shopping list in my head, but writing it down in English does not make much sense when you go to a Dutch shop.

Staying in the US twice for a couple of weeks, alone, learned me that my automatism kicks in after about 10,12 days. I then start mixing languages, so the words then seem to come from the same source and the translation tool seems to stop, sort of.

But maybe it's about fatigue as well. This year I was in Italy for one week, with a group of 10 Americans. I spoke English and Italian the whole time and I translated a lot between the two languages. After five days I started mixing things up pretty bad and I started talking Dutch at one of the Americans I had the most conversations with. He was the 'comfy' one I guess, so it made sense to talk to him in my mother tongue.

Languages are intriguing.

Your original entry here, made a lot of sense to me. My husband is mildly autistic and he has the 'concept'thinking as well. Not as elaborate as you described it, but he recognized a lot of what you wrote. When our communication fails, it's usually about his problems in 'translating' his visions into words.

on 2005-11-12 09:49 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
Ooh, collage!

I sometimes have dreams that are just a lot of words jumbled together. I'd love to see what my EEG looks like when I am having those, as opposed to the regular dreams that are stories. (gestalts?)

on 2005-11-12 22:43 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
"gestalt" does not refer to the entire "story", just to units within it. it's a german term, and this is a good example for my database access type language use; there is no word for this in english, not even a close-enough one. a gestalt is the unit of a thing, its context, and the relationship between them, a sort of holistic thingamajig, where one can't really define it by the enumerating its parts.

on 2005-11-13 00:50 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
I sort of know what gestalt means in general but wasn't sure how you were using it to describe your thinking. My regular dreams involve - well, I was going to say more senses, but actually several senses are involved in handling the words in the word dreams (I can see them and hear them and somethines touch them).


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
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