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Re: OT: What is your qualia of consciousness / thought? (WAS: does conlanging change your sense of reality?)

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 1:47
Jim Henry wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 7:12 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets > <> wrote: > >> I am definitely in the "abstract" category. My thoughts are strongly both >> non-verbal and non-visual (although I can think words and pictures, that's > > ..... > >> This has some interesting effects: >> - I learn languages easily. People often say that they constantly have to > > Wow, that's counter-intuitive. > >> "translate in their head" from their native language to another language and >> back when they speak to someone else in a foreign language. I don't do that >> (except in the first stages of learning a new language, when I still need > > Right; I suppose most people who are really fluent in a secondary language > have gotten past the need to mentally translate, whether by learning to think > in the secondary language directly, like myself and other primarily > verbally-thinking people, or by learning to convert their nonverbal thoughts > directly into the secondary language, like yourself.
That could be one reason I have such trouble with verb-final languages like Japanese. My thoughts come more naturally in English word order, but with some flexibility -- not always in the order I end up speaking or writing them, but more or less. With some practice, the Japanese word order becomes more natural for Japanese words, so I could probably get used to it if I spent enough time exposing myself to Japanese (but speech often comes at you too quickly to understand, and reading is a difficult skill to learn. I've found the most effective way to learn the writing system for me is to learn the pronunciation of whole words, not individual kanji characters). To some extent, learning non-English words for me is a bit like learning unfamiliar English words: eventually given enough context it becomes part of my vocabulary. Most of the time I'm not very aware of this, since I don't read enough non-English text to become fluent in any language, but in one case, the Dutch word "over" tends to get translated mentally as German "über", rather than the English equivalent. On the other hand, any mental associations between German "wissen" vs. "kennen" and Spanish "saber" vs. "conocer" are weak at best.


Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <>