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Thinking without language?

Lee Sau Dan ~{ at nJX6X~} sdlee at faith.csis.hku.hk
Tue Nov 23 20:10:39 EST 1999

>>>>> "Sergio" == Sergio Navega <snavega at attglobal.net> writes:

    Sergio> This is a bit late reaction to this message, but it
    Sergio> touched on interesting points. Indeed the semantic content
    Sergio> eases a lot the rote memorization of sequences of
    Sergio> words. But we can memorize them even without this semantic
    Sergio> content (although it is much harder).

I remember that  when I was small, I could  recite a complete Japanese
theme song even knowing no  Japanese and nothing about the meanings of
the  lyrics.  The  music may  help memorization,  but  repetition also
helps a  lot.  

(FYI, Japanese TV cartoon/comic series are popular in Hong Kong.  Most
of them have a theme song,  which is played in their original Japanese
version before and after the show.)

    Sergio> George Miller's "rule-of-thumb" says that one is able to
    Sergio> store 7 plus/minus 2 digits of information at
    Sergio> once. Although this rule has been devised in 1956, it is
    Sergio> pretty applicable today. However, what Miller was
    Sergio> referring to is the short-term memory, the one that we
    Sergio> use, for instance, to store a temporary telephone
    Sergio> number. 

Exactly!   All of  us  are  able to  remember  our birthday,  address,
telephone  numbers (home,  office, fax,  cell phone),  ATM  card PINs,
computer account passwords, etc.  without difficulties.

    Sergio> Long-term memory does not suffer from this
    Sergio> limitation and an american opera singer is able to "store"
    Sergio> the whole text of an italian opera without having much
    Sergio> semantic content to help. Obviously, he/she will have to
    Sergio> invest more energy than an italian (and will certainly
    Sergio> suffer with the accent).

Lee Sau Dan                     $(0,X)wAV(B(Big5)                    ~{@nJX6X~}(HZ) 
| http://www.cs.hku.hk/~sdlee                      e-mail: sdlee at csis.hku.hk |

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