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Thinking without language?

Peter T. Daniels grammatim at worldnet.att.net
Sun Nov 21 07:51:57 EST 1999

Paul Miller wrote:
> On Sun, 21 Nov 1999 07:29:21 -0500, "Alan Roth" <alan42 at mindspring.com> wrote:
> >> When I
> >> recite the first  200 decimal places of pi, I do  it musically: I rely
> >> on the sounds and (predominantly) tones of the Cantonese pronunciation
> >> of  the 10 digits.   So, I  can't recite  them if  I try  to do  it in
> >> Mandarin or English.
> >I have a musical background but had not thought of using it this way,
> >(and I certainly can't recite pi to 200 decimal places with sheer
> >memorization).
> You certainly could if you put the effort into it.  Actors memorize entire
> plays, and Homeric poets memorized epics.  Surely 200 words is not too much to
> memorize?  Some soliloquies in Shakespeare run longer than this!

A 200-word speech has semantic content. A string of 200 occurrences of
10 different words has no semantic content. (Unless, of course, you
*calculate* the value of pi each time you recite its digits.)
Off-the-shelf memory can handle lists of "five plus or minus two"
unrelated items.
Peter T. Daniels     grammatim at worldnet.att.net

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