Summary of “Language and the Structure of Thought” by Leanne Hinton

                To understand the relationship between language and thought, a person needs first to understand the two aspects individually. Therefore, language is communication between human beings to pass information from one person to another. Language consists of the use of words either in written or spoken form. The primary benefit of speech is, therefore, communication. There are different languages around the world in different countries to ensure that people talk and understand each other. During the 1900s, especially during the barter trade, the language barrier was one of the challenges of the trade. To make trade easy at the time, there was the presence of interpreters who helped in making communication easy between the buyers and the sellers. The words used in language can either be conventional or structural (Hinton, P. 62). The main aim of the comprehensive text is to examine the aspects of the Native American languages in California. These language maintenances, historical perspectives, language domains, men and women language, and finally, daily usage.   

On the other hand, thought can be defined as the opinion or an idea an individual comes up with after a lot of thinking. A thought can take time as a person can be taking time consulting him/herself, but it can also occur suddenly from the mind. Thought can also be defined as the processor, rather, the action of thinking (Hinton, P. 69). Whenever people are conversing in a group, each and every person is involved in the action of thinking before saying anything. This process of thinking helps a person in staying on the right track during a conversation to ensure they give relevant ideas. Therefore, thinking offers human beings a chance to interpret and present information. Thinking is also essential since it gives a person the opportunity to make sense before saying anything in a conversation. In order to make adequate plans and realistic objectives about anything, a person first needs to take time into thinking before reaching a specific decision.

The language of thought theories relies on the belief that mental representation that has a linguistic structure. Thoughts refer to the sentences in the head. People from different backgrounds, mutual differences, and customs have different ways of thinking and forming their thoughts. Therefore, it is inevitable that language and thought are interconnected and depend on one another. For language to be useful, then thought must be present. After thinking of something and composing a sentence in the head, then one uses language to pass the information.

Hinton, L. (1994). “Language and the Structure of Thought.” In Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages, 61-70. Berkeley: Heyday Books.

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