Summary – Coursework Example
Language and thought-summary Signs and symbols are not synonymous contrary to belief by psychologists and philosophers. Their differences are what contribute to the language difference between animals and human beings. One of the major differences and which many do not know is the fact that signs are common in both animals and human but symbols are unique to human beings only (Langer 97). This is so because unlike signs which cause a reaction because of thinking of a sign (whether elicited by sounds, motions or even smells), symbols require thinking about what has been or is being symbolized. The language difference in this case is that signs require thinking in relation to of and at while symbols require thinking about.
Signs in animals and humans are similar but for human beings, there is more elaboration of these signs which finally leads to having rational behavior for human beings compared to animals. The fact that symbols require constant ability to conceive ideas, happenings and nature and even changing of experiences into imagery (which requires both talent and language to express and understand the symbols) also explains why animals lack the ability to comprehend symbols same as human beings (Langer 98).
Language is therefore symbolic and it is this fact that makes it be used by humans to formulate ideas that benefit them. It portrays denotation that is brought about by being not only vocal but tactual and visual as well. Language in order to be distinguished from signs that animals use to communicate with has to have an element of syntax that is meaningful and also an organic pattern (Langer 100).
Langer, Susanne. “Language and Thought.” Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. Eds. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 96-101.