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14 Language & communication

A name isn't logically able to refer to a - material - object. Therefore the meaning of the name can't be that particular object. An elementary analysis shows that the meaning of a name is nothing more than the concept of which the name is part of. Which is precisely why language & communication has vastly expanded the conceptual system. But does the use of language sufficient explain the ability to think?


14.1 The evolution of language

In the previous chapters I have described properties of concepts without linguistic elements. As far as sensory experiences are concerned, such concepts are reasonably conceivable, because we know images, sounds, smells, tastes and touches and we can recognize them when they occur to us. The question is what changes to these concepts if additionally linguistic elements are taken into consideration.

To gain more insight into this question, it is tempting to involve in the research the evolution of our language use and the development of the human cognitive system. That would, however, mean a break with the approach until now, which is based on introspection, not on scientific empirical knowledge. But even if introspection were to be supplemented with empirical data from evolutionary research, that would not yield much. Although there is evidence of the historical evolution of the human larynx and the size of the human skull, from which scientists can estimate how brain volume has evolved, both types of data provide little information about the period in which - verbal - language have developed. As a result, estimates thereabout vary greatly. The same applies globally to the cognitive development of the brain. It is clear our ancestors were able to use stone tools for a long time; however, because some monkey-like and possibly even elephants possessing the same skills, little can be concluded concerning cognitive abilities.

The use of evolutionary knowledge thus falls outside the system I use here and moreover would yield little. That's why I keep limiting myself to researching internal logic without evolutionary information and trying to find out what language can mean for different kinds of concepts, starting with the question what the use of the linguistic expression called 'name' adds to the concept to which it refers.

14.2 Names

I start with a random simple concept, that of a wooden stick.

Concept stok ENGraphically the concept is simplified as consisting of seven types. Type 1 can stand for wood, type 2 for the shape long, thin and round-like, type 3 for the length, type 4 for the thickness, type 5 for apporting by the dog, type 6 for beating the dog, type 7 for walking support: walking stick. Type 8 is as yet empty.

I imagine to live in a primitive stage of humanity in which no language has yet been developed. So, while talking about sticks is not possible, they are used as tools and as weapons, both for defence and for undertaking attacks. Thus, I own the concept, I can imagine it, remember and so on. Fundamentally there are only two ways for realising the concept: if I am actually confronted with a stick, or if I think about it in one way or another. As used here, thinking, however, means something different than what in modern times is meant with the term thinking. Without language, thinking can mean nothing more than getting visual or functional associations. Visually: yesterday I had a fight with my neighbour whereby I used a stick. Now, upon seeing the neighbour, the images of the fight and the stick come up again. Functionally: there is a danger, automatically I grab a stick to defend myself. It can't go further than that, because I have no language at my disposal. Without language, 'thinking' cannot be more than chains of images, feelings and experiences. The 'thinking' of animals is limited to this. In Philosophical Investigations [650] Wittgenstein wrote: 'We say a dog is afraid his master will beat him; but not, he is afraid his master will beat him to-morrow. Why not?"

14.1.1 Without language, thoughts are limited to chains of remembered sensory experiences and feelings


14.1.2 Without language concepts are only realized through sensory experiences and thoughts


Thoughts like: "I have left the stick in the forest", "a stick gives me a safe feeling", "I am going to make a new stick", "where did you put my stick" etc. are impossible without language.

In a society without language the following might occur. Someone (A) takes a stick and produces a special sound, for example "proz". In the neighbourhood another person (B) hears the sound and imitates it. In turn, A hears it and repeats it again: "proz"! The two look at each other and A points at his stick. The next day, B takes a stick and makes the same sound. A recognises it, and so on. Everyday A and B do quite a lot together ans start, each time they encounter or use a stick, to produce the sound "proz". Today they have killed a venomous snake with the aid of a stick. In the evening, when the men rest at the campfire after dinner, A is daydreaming and sees images of the fight with the poisonous snake. Involuntarily he makes a sound: "proz". B, who lies next to him, hears it and gets the same association of the battle with the snake. He also makes a sound for confirmation: "proz". At that moment both see the stick in front of him, as a weapon against the snake, perhaps they also get other imaginings of sticks, snakes and fights.

What happened to the concepts of them both? They both possessed a concept 'stick', consisting of a number of types and, because they shared a number of types, they were able to communicate non-verbally with each other. Because, from a given moment, they regularly produced the sound "proz" while they were busy with a stick, both of them started to associate that sound with the stick. In other words, the sound was a pattern which was experienced more often by both of them, thus creating a similar type for both. Because the type: the sound "proz" always coincided with the realisation of their concept 'stick', the type became connected to their concept 'stick'. From that moment on, as soon as they should hear the sound "proz", i.e.that type was actualised, the entire concept of 'stick' would be realised and no other concept.

Concept stok proz ENThis shows the special phenomenon of a type that, as long as it has not been learned, has no relationship with a concept, whereas once it is bound to the concept, it is capable of realising the entire concept upon actualisation. I'll call such a type a complete realer of that concept. This doesn't apply to many types, often different types have to be actualised at the same time to realise a concept.
Graphically this is shown here. To the seven types that formed the concept, now an eighth, the sound "proz", has been added. Incidentally, for the two persons A and B this is not the concept of 'stick' but the concept of 'proz', such a connected sound functions in their 'language' as the name or designation of the relevant concept.



14.2.3 A type that leads to an unambiguous realisation of a certain concept in the event of actualisation is a complete realiser of that concept


14.2.4 When people in a community repeatedly produce or hear the same sound when creating a corresponding concept, after a while that sound will be added to their respective concepts as a type.


14.2.5 For the realisation of the entire concept it is sufficient that only the name is actualized without it being necessary to actualise one of the other constituent types. The name is a complete realiser


14.2.6. Unlike the realistic approach, the name does not refer to something in a world outside of man, by contrast the name is part of the human concept itself


 14.2.7 The meaning of a name is the concept to which it belongs

This last definition is against what is customary in philosophy and linguistics. The Dutch Wikipedia says: meaning is the thing in reality that is referred to by means of a sign (a word, gesture, object or other meaning bearer referring to a meaning). So a sign refers to something in reality. In Chapter 5 the linguistic triangle has already been discussed, indicating that a sign refers to an idea or concept and at the same time to something in reality. The latter is also the most problematic for the supporters of that model, the reason that relation was indicated as a dotted line.

The idea that signs, except to concepts in the mind, also refer to something in reality, is already an old one. Aristotle, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have already been occupied with it. For a philosopher like Russell, the reference to something in reality is even the only content of the concept. But as we saw in Chapter 5, the concepts meaning and reference are problematic in conventional realistic thinking. Things like a pure circle, a flying carpet, fairies and gnomes, the emperor of Luxembourg and the chase that I dreamed of last night, none of these expressions refer to something in reality, unless one defines that concept extremely broadly. And what about concepts that do not refer to reality, do they have no meaning? How could one speak about it and make statements, even true statements, if they have no meaning, like the sentence "A pure circle exists only in mathematics".

For example, Wikipedia writes: 'A magic carpet, also called a flying carpet, is a legendary carpet, and common trope in fantasy fiction' , so apparently does not belong to reality, At the same time it says: 'One of the stories in the One Thousand and One Nights relates how Prince Husain, the eldest son of Sultan of the Indies, travels to Bisnagar (Vijayanagara) in India and buys a magic carpet'. Apparently, the concept is meaningful. Statements such as "Fairies and gnomes are fairy-tale characters" or "I believe that Luxembourg does not have an emperor" should, according to the definition, be meaningless statements, while everyone understands what is meant.
Again, a lot has been philosophised about this subject, but for realists, so for almost the entire world population, many words we use still refer to things or situations in the reality outside the mind. A view against which sceptics have always resisted because of the logical impossibility to establish a connection between states in the mind and things outside. But above all, a view that leads to the creation of a reality that is not there at all.

This problem does not occur in the conceptual approach. A name is one of the constituent types of a concept. You can say the word 'chair' refers to a real chair, but in the conceptual approach this only means that my concept, consisting of many associations I conjure up with such a seat, is connected to the word 'chair', the word is just one of many constituent types. Doing so, the realist will say that the problem has only shifted to the question of what the relationship is between my concept of 'chair' and a chair that exists in reality. I will come back to that; at this moment I conclude that in the conceptual approach a name is just one of the constituent types of a concept and that, contrary to the idea that meaning relates to an external object, this view does not lead to inconsistency. leads.

14.3 The characteristics of a name

Over time a sound that is produced repeatedly at the realisation of a concept will be added as a type to that concept. Does that rule always apply? And is the result always that that sound will function as the name of the concept?
Many devices make a characteristic sound. A car, a pile driver, an air plane, a hammer, a saw, a vacuum cleaner, an old-fashioned film projector, a telephone. Every time such a device is used and my concept of that device is realised, its sound will be heard too, so the corresponding type will be bound to the relevant concept.
Many animals are known for their characteristic sound too. The mooing of cows, the crying of the wolves, barking of dogs, the chirping of crickets. It are the sounds the animals produce themselves; because they have been heard so often at the realisation of our concept of the animal in question, they have become part of the concept.

Something similar is seen in films. Almost every production is accompanied by regularly returning music, causing the music gets stuck in one's head and becomes part of one's concept of that film. Hearing the same tune later on, the remembrance of the movie automatically emerges, the concept of it will be realised.
Natural phenomena such as the wind and the surf of the sea also create specific sounds with the same effect on the concepts concerned.

Thus, there are many concepts to which a sound is bound as a type. Often it is, on hearing it, directly associated with the whole concept, so the sound is a complete realiser of that concept. However, in none of the cases mentioned does the associated sound function as its name. Apparently names are not random sounds that, for whatever reason, coincide with the realisation of a concept, they are just the specific sound used by people use to designate the concept. Admittedly some names are imitations, onomatopoeia, such as "oink", "miaow", "roar" and "chirp". Despite the resemblance with the original sound, there is a big difference between the original sound and the imitation that functions as a name. The conclusion is clear: although sounds may be part of a concept, they generally don't function as names. Names are sounds produced and connected to concepts by people, mostly without any other relation to the other constituent types of that concept.

Statement 14.2.5 indicated that updating a name is sufficient to realise the entire associated concept, a name is a complete realiser. That is not self-evident. When I see something of wood, or a long or a round thing, I don't tend to associate it with a stick. Only when such different types are actualised together the contours of a stick emerge in my mind. In this respect, the linguistic added type differs from many other types: the sound that represents the name has nothing to do with it, nor any resemblance with what is called a 'stick', but it is capable to realise the entire cluster of types that are part of the concept of 'stick'.

The property of complete realisation is not exclusive to names, some other types possess it too. When I see a great tit sitting on a branch in my garden, the image alone is enough to see a great tit in it and all associations with that bird can occur (pecking peanuts at a cord, for example ). Also, the sound of a great tit makes clear what it's about. Different types can thus be complete realisers of a concept, although these types are often person-specific. When seeing a blue tit plenty of people think it's a great tit, because they do not know the difference. Others only see a yellow-black bird. Also, many people will be insufficiently familiar with the sound to be able to determine a great tit only on the basis of it.

Generally names are defined more clearly. If someone sees a creature and calls it a great tit, it is clear that he does not think he sees a blue one. If he calls it titmouse or bird, an observer will easily understand he does not know exactly what kind of bird he sees, although it's possible too the speaker uses the more general name because he wants to communicate something where the exact distinction is unimportant. So, in contrast to other types that are capable of realizing a complete concept, names indicate rather sharply which concept is meant and are highly independent of persons, in spite of, or perhaps thanks to the fact they are only arbitrary sound sequences connected to the named concept, without any other relation to it.

14.3.1 A name is a random, man-made series of sounds which is bound to a human concept


14.4 Communication with language: a spectacular extension

In 13.5 I used the definition: Communication is an activity in which living beings exchange meanings by responding to each other's signals. According to this definition, the use of language is not necessary to communicate. I described how two people can non verbal communicate about a hamburger when they simultaneously experience the concept and react with actions, facial expressions, sounds and the like which the other person experiences as meaning. However, without the use of language, the possibilities for this are limited. If A and B are both in a room where a hamburger is baked, they can experience the same concept, also if they simultaneously see a picture of a hamburger, they can communicate by sending meaningful non verbal signals to each other.

However, in other situations, where insufficient types of the concept 'hamburger' are being actualised, it is unlikely that both of their concepts of 'hamburger' will be realized at the same time. If A in any way imagines a picture of a hamburger, he can only communicate about it with B if he is able to realize the corresponding concept in B's mind. He can make a drawing that recognises B, or he can take a hamburger out of the pantry and show it to B, with that the possibilities are almost exhausted. The number of possible communications in this way can be called meager. How could A explain to B that he as a child had ever eaten a rotten burger? Or, because of the smell, communicate his suspicion the meat the cook is preparing, is rotten? In that case animals sniff the meat and let it lie, from which a congener could conclude he also should not eat it; the answer to the question of whether that is due to spoilage or just because of the smell can not be communicated by these means.

I argued that, without language, in one's mind a concept can be realised only in two ways: through sensory experience and through associations in the mind. Sensory experiences occur for example when we are actually faced with a hamburger or when we see a picture of it or smell a typical hamburger smell. On the other hand, associations in our minds can occur in many ways: by all kind of memories, by associations with other foods or by events. Mental processes are therefore much more widely available, but they can not be communicated directly, one can not read each other's thoughts. The only way to communicate about it is to make movements or gestures the other person recognises, or to show an image or the like, so to turn the state of the mind into something the other can perceive sensory. Without the use of language, however, these possibilities are fundamentally limited.

As soon as oral language is introduced, the possibilities will be dramatically expanded. Assuming that A and B possess the same linguistic type, the word "hamburger" linked to their concept. If A thinks of a hamburger, it is sufficient to pronounce the sound /ˈhæmˌbɝː.ɡɚ/ in order to immediately realize the corresponding concept at B . It's true that essentially the same thing happens as in the non-verbal communication: A creates from the experience in his mind a sound sequence that, as soon as B hears it, realises in his mind a corresponding concept. However, a difference with, for example, making a drawing is that a sound sequence can be produced very quickly. The ability of an oral language, however, extends beyond the advantage of speed. Because the similarity of a pronounced word to the other constituent types of a concept is not necessary, names can also be linked to non-sensory concepts such as pain, happiness or fatigue. Besides concepts that represent actions such as walking, flying, climbing, concepts that indicate situations such as standing and sitting and more abstract concepts such as intentions, willing and being able.

Above that there is the most impressive ability of the language: the direct production of different series of sounds, which together can indicate very complex concepts. "I am impressed by Plato's philosophy" is a simple phrase, pronounced in a second, which represents an entire world of thoughts and can also realise a multitude of complex concepts at someone else. And last but not least: sequences of sentences can also be pronounced so that entire stories are communicated, each of which can represent extremely complex concepts. Due to the development of writing, these possibilities have again been expanded enormously.
The development of language has expanded both the amount of human concepts and their complexity to an almost incomprehensible degree, raising the question of whether the difference between humans and the higher mammals is based on more than the fact that man has been able to develop language.

14.5 Four classes of communication

Thus the historical development of the language led to a huge expansion of human power to communicate. I'll go deeper into the question of the influence of different types of language on the possibilities of communication, based on the simple definition: Communication is an activity in which living beings exchange meanings by responding to each other's signals.

To do so, I first ask myself which signals without the use of language can be understood by the other person, which is difficult to imagine because I have learned to use language all my life. In the diagram below I try to analyse what exactly non-verbal communication means in terms of the conceptual model.

Once again I choose the situation in which people A and B are both present at the baking of a hamburger by a cook, where A by making the sound "mmmmm" conveys a meaning to B, namely that he likes a hamburger, which for B means a confirmation of his taste. An elementary communication, which could conceptually include the next steps.

1a A experiences the image of a hamburger in the pan (= the visual type is actualised in A's mind)
1b B experiences the image of a hamburger in the pan (= the visual type is actualised in B's mind)

2a A becomes aware that it concerns a hamburger (= the concept of 'hamburger' is realised in A's mind)
2b B becomes aware that it concerns a hamburger (= the concept of 'hamburger' is realised in B's mind)

3a A has all kinds of hamburger associations, among other things the delicious taste (ie the type of great taste is being actualised)
3b B has all kinds of hamburger associations, among other things the delicious taste (= the type of great taste is actualised)

3a A has all kinds of hamburger associations, among other things the delicious taste (ie the type of great taste is being actualised)
3b B has all kinds of hamburger associations, among other things the delicious taste (= the type of great taste is actualised)

4. A gets an association with the sound "mmmmm" (= the type mmmmm is updated in A's mind)

5. A makes the sound "mmmmm" (= actualization of type mmmmm leads to production of the sound "mmmmm")

6 B hears the sound "mmmmm" (= the type mmmmm is actualised in B's mind)

7 B experiences that A likes the hamburger (= both B's concept 'hamburger' and his concept 'A' are being adjusted

Commentary: Because the sound "mmmmm" in itself does not mean that it concerns hamburgers, it is necessary for a successful communication that both A and B experience the corresponding concept, in this case by seeing the same hamburgers in the pan. Because of this, A can expect that if he makes the 'mmmm' sound, B will apply it to the hamburger. Either, A and B must experience a corresponding context so that B can place A's message. In practice, A will often consciously or unconsciously check whether B focuses on the same concept. For example, he will look if B has also focused his eyes on the hamburger. The actual steps can therefore be considerably more complicated than indicated in the diagram.

In our linguistic world, 'tasty' is an independent concept, but there is no such thing without language. It must be assumed that both the production and the reception of the sound "mmmmm" is directly linked to the actualisation of the type of delicious taste.

The last step can be difficult if it is not clear exactly what concept A is referring to. Is it the burger or perhaps his favourite dish that he has now discovered in another pan? In this case it is clear, but one does not have to be a keen observer to observe that this ambiguity occurs regularly in our actual conversations and often leads to misunderstandings, which are then resolved with words like: "Oh, I thought that you meant ... .. ".

However, if everything goes well and the communication is successful, A has the meaning: he likes the hamburger he sees in the pan, transferred to B, who then knows that A experiences it in that way and confirms his own taste.
I used the sound "mmmm" to map an example of non-verbal communication. I could also have chosen a gesture, for example shaking the hand back and forth along the head, which in Western culture is also interpreted as 'tasty'.

Next, I will examine in general terms what possibilities and limitations are involved in the use of different lingual forms of communication, which, for the sake of analysis, I categorise into four classes: body language, primitive sign language, simple verbal language use and modern language use. I imagine the situation of a primitive man who was living in a period the script was not yet invented and certainly not the modern electronic means of communication.

14.6 Body language

The most prominent form of non-verbal communication is found in body language, which is used almost continuously by animals and people alike. Person A has all kinds of emotions and moods which express themselves in body postures, facial expressions and the like. These have a communicative function when there is a person B in the neighbourhood who sees A and understands or thinks to understand the body language of A. People who experience emotions, which are known from within, usually express body language during their experience, mostly unconsciously. To recognize and understand body postures communication with others is an essential condition. Without communication, the concepts one possesses (pain, happiness, fatigue, etc.) are only reinforced at the moments those emotions are experienced from within. If one lives in a community, one often sees similar emotions at other members of the community, causing these concepts are reinforced more often. Or, as people become more confronted with other people who send out their body language, concepts are reinforced more often and therefore stronger. But communication through body language is limited to concepts such as pain, happiness, anger, fatigue and the like.
The communication has the following characteristics:

  1. A and B must be at a relatively small distance from each other.
  2. Communication can only take place on matters in the present, for example, yesterday's emotions can not be communicated
  3.  B must be able to see A, the communication takes place almost exclusively visually
  4.  B must understand the body language of A, must know the meaning of A's bodily expressions
  5. A does not have to actively communicate actively, body postures are largely showed unconsciously
  6. Communication is limited to conveying emotions, moods and similar concepts.

The stated under f. requires explanation. After all, I have found that there are not only linguistic concepts, but also, for example, motor concepts or concepts that consist of interrelated emotional experiences. For example, even if no language is available, concepts are developed that link the experience of a number of events with the emotion of fear. Suppose that A had his sense of fear especially because his father regularly beat him in his youth while B had mainly experienced fear because of poisonous snakes he had often encountered in his youth. When A sees that B exhibits anxiety phenomena, A will be unable to connect it with poisonous snakes. Because his frequent slapping father is no longer alive, A will at most have a memory and perhaps be surprised; he will not be able to understand B's fear in this situation. However, if A and B hang put together a lot and they regularly encounter poisonous snakes, A's spirit will also make the connection between fear and poisonous snakes. The concepts of A and B gradually agree more, as stated in 13.6. Only if both concepts agree sufficiently will A and B be able to understand each other on the basis of the observed body language. But the traumatic childhood experience of A B has never had, he will not be able to understand that connection without the use of language.

An example from the animal world. Two dogs are both thirsty. Without them consciously looking for it, they will be focused on finding water. Imagine that one of them suddenly sees a lake in the distance, which means that by actualisation of the image he experiences, the whole concept of 'water' or maybe even 'pond' (although the differentiation in dogs may not go that far) ) will be realised in his mind. The result is that he starts running there to and communicates his enthusiasm with the help of body language to the other dog, who immediately starts running with him. It seems that the concept of 'water' is communicated, however the second dog, if he has not seen the water himself, can not know why the first one is running so fast and only instinctively follows the other. The first dog has no possibilities to communicate his concept of 'water' without the second experiencing that water itself.
Ethologists may explain that the communication between dogs is actually different. By this example I want to emphasise that concepts are not the exclusive property of homo sapiens.


14.7 Primitive sign language

A next level is achieved with primitive sign language. One has to be aware there is an essential difference between primitive sign language, the use of gestures in a community that has no verbal language and what we nowadays call sign languages, languages ​​that are mainly used to communicate with deaf people. The latter are a conversion of the oral language used in a language community, which could not exist without such a functioning verbal language system. It also does not help to look at the sign language of young children, who have already grown up in an environment that uses rich and complex language, including sign language. While it may be assumed that much of our current body language has already been used in primitive communities, the question of which gestures our primitive predecessors used must remain unanswered, fantasy and empathy being the only tools available here. I assume that, in addition to gestures such as the indication of objects, it is mainly body movements such as greetings, waving and similar social communications. For this I described the devised example of two men who at a given moment called the stick they used as weapons "proz". Until that time, they were dependent on gestures such as showing, pointing, handing over, tapping or hitting each other for communication on their sticks, that is, on body language and sign language.

Thanks to the use of a primitive sign language, concepts that are referred to as material objects in our environment can be communicated. I possess those concepts, they are reinforced every time I'm confronted with them. Communication does not change that essentially, but realization takes place more often and the reinforcement of my concept becomes stronger the more I see someone else who has a similar experience. Gestures like greetings and waving take an intermediate position. They appear to be primitive forms of language, but show more resemblance to body language in what they convey.

Characteristic of this expansion of body language is:

  1. A and B must be at a relatively small distance from each other.
  2. Communication can only take place about matters in the present. Something that was yesterday can not be designated
  3. B must be able to experience the gestures of A, communication can take place through all the senses
  4. B must understand the language of A, must know the meaning of A's gestures
  5. A does not have to communicate actively. If B sees A is doing something with his stick, B will be able to conclude anything from it
  6. With sign language more concepts can be communicated than just with body language. The term 'hand ax' for example, but also all kinds of applications and properties of it.

14.8 Simple verbal language

By this I mean connecting random sound sequences to concepts, only names of concepts are used. Thanks to the use of names, the realisation of concepts can be detached from the direct personal experience. If A says "proz" and B hears his familiar word, this leads directly to an endorsement of B's ​​concept of "stick", regardless of whether or not there is a stick in the neighbourhood. It can encourage B to get a stick but also generate an image in B's mind only. The use of this form of language indeed creates additional possibilities for realising and reinforcing concepts, but stays essentially limited to communication about the here and now

Again a number of characteristics:

  1. A and B must be at a relatively small distance from each other
  2. Communication can only take place about matters in the now. Something that was here yesterday can be named, but the fact that it used to take place can not be transferred
  3. B must be able to understand the names that A speaks, the communication takes place orally and audibly
  4. B must understand the language of A, must know the meaning of the sounds expressed by A. In other words: A and B must have congruent concepts and use the corresponding sound pattern attached to them
  5. In principle, verbal communication is active. A sound is usually released with a communication target
  6. All sensory concepts can be communicated

14.9 Modern language use

In the course of evolution language has developed incredibly . Sounds are no longer exclusively linked to concepts. In addition to words that are tied to concepts, called nouns in linguistics, word types have arisen that have expanded the number of possibilities for concept formation: verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, articles, numerals, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections, which, according to certain rules, form sentences that can be pronounced. This makes it possible to indicate all kinds of relationships between concepts, to create abstract concepts and to link concepts to each other, so that more complex concepts can be formed. Again a number of characteristics:

  1. A and B must be at a relatively small distance from each other.
  2. Communication can take place both about events in the past, the present and in the future because time notions can be formed as concepts
  3. B must be able to understand the sentences spoken by A, communication takes place orally and audibly
  4. B must understand the language of A, must know the meaning of the sounds expressed by A. In other words: A and B must have congruent concepts and
  5. use the corresponding sound patterns
  6. In principle, verbal communication is active. A sound is usually produced with a communication target
  7. All possible concepts, sensory and non-sensory, can be communicated. 

The four classes summarised in diagram:

Class of communication        What can be communicated?
Body language                     Only emotions and moods here and now

Simple verbal language         Demonstrable things here and now
Simple language use            Sensory concepts in the here and now
Full language use                 All concepts and relations


14.9.1 Communication increases the number of possible concepts, ranging from body language to completely modern language use


14.10 Is the possession of language sufficient condition for thinking?

The classification above relates to what can be communicated. The question that immediately follows is whether concepts that can not be communicated can exist at all. If that is the case, human thinking could have developed autonomously independently of the language and language would have been added as it were in the course of evolution, with the advantage of more possibilities to communicate.

However, in the case that more complex concepts can only exist longer if they are also communicated, virtually all human thinking, namely the use of all concepts of class 3 and 4, can only be formed through the development and communicative application of language. In that case, if it should be clear that consciousness and self-awareness are directly related to conceptual development, we can conclude that the only essential difference between man and the higher mammals is the ability to produce language and to use it in a communicative way. Obviously not only physical facilities such as a larynx are necessary for this, also certain brain structures are indispensable. The question, however, is whether in the brain special areas or functions for thought does exist.

Interesting are the historical experiences with feral children. A quote from the Dutch Wikipedia article: "We now know that social contacts and human communication between the 1st and 4th year are essential for language development. In this period people are most susceptible to language and to learning sounds by mimic them. If this communication is defective or not present, the child will not be able to emit human but only meaningless sounds and, in the case of a wolf child, animal sounds." Whatever the attempt, the various historical wolf children have never learned a language again in later life, nor have they shown any sign of human thinking. While they should have possessed the hereditary language and thinking potential. This makes it clear that thinking without language is impossible. However, the question of whether the use of language is also sufficient and automatically goes hand in hand with thinking, is of course not yet answered.