What language do people born deaf think in?



12 comments to Language

  • Tim

    The font they think in is probably Wingdings and Dingbats, so the language doesn’t matter.

    • J-bird

      I used to speak fluent Wingding and Dingbat, but nobody ever responded. Now I know why.. Thanks! 😉

  • grumpy

    Probably DNA, until they are taught to read. Just like all living things.

  • crispy

    They connect ideas to images and other senses besides sound. Later, when they learn to read, they can connect those ideas to written words as well.

    In truth, when we think, we first think with images and feelings and ideas and THEN translate it into words and THEN hear those words inside our head. Although I sometimes hear words in my head that didn’t come from ME whoo-hoo-hee-hee-ha-ha!

    It’s like saying: what do people who are born blind see when they dream? A blind guy answered this question: nothing. In his dreams, he’s still blind. But he experiences his world in his dreams the way he experiences the world when awake: sound, smell, taste, touch, feelings.

    • Mick Nash

      Thank you for broadening it to the blind: I had never considered that. At the same time I’m pretty disturbed by it since my dreams are almost exclusively visual with the rare distant sound. Never smells, taste or touch. Again, didn’t know I was missing those until just now.

      But as I mostly dream about Ford tractors it wouldn’t be much of a loss.

    • that1chick

      In her dreams my blind frind can see again, she wasn’t born blind though, she lost her sight in her 40s. She says some dreams she can see and others she can’t.

      • crispy

        The blind man I was talking about was a guy who had been blind since birth. Naturally, since he had NEVER had vision, he could not have vision in his dreams. Still, I thought it was very interesting. I imagine that a person who had been deaf since birth would likewise not have sound in their dreams.

  • ArabianShark

    Language and thought develop in parallel, and both are independent of sound. As soon as a child born deaf begins to learn sign language (or written language, should it come first, which is unlikely), he or she begins to formulate thoughts in that language. That plus what Crispy said (very good, that 🙂 )

  • Tim

    For a really cool read on how kids learn languages and learn, for instance, why a Japanese child can hear the difference between the letters “R” and “L” but an adult Japanese person can not, read “The Scientist in the Crib.”

    I would highly recommend that book for any parent-to-be or new parent.

    Note: Yes, I know that as an English-speaking person, there are sounds in the Japanese language that I can not differentiate. And that is for the same reason as the adult Japanese person can’t differentiate certain sounds in English.

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