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  • Date Submitted: 06/18/2011 09:39 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.4 
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"All of the other Ways of Knowing are controlled by language." What does this statement mean and do you think it is a fair representation of the relationship between perception, emotion, reason and language?

The American philosopher Irving M. Copi stated that language has five functions: informative, expressive, directive, ceremonial and performative (Woolman 2000). In performing any of its functions however, language is simply a form of communication, shared for common understanding. This communication, when boiled down, is achieved in five steps: someone has an idea, puts it into words and says or writes them down, these words are heard or read, recognized, and the idea is successfully conveyed.  
According to the statement, language controls perception, emotion and reason; forming a core part of their ability to function. If this statement is true, it must also be true that without language, we would not be able to perceive our surroundings, experience and express emotion, or reason logically. Although language is an essential part of our ability to communicate, its influence over other ways of knowing is not as extensive as this statement suggests.

Sensory perception is the knowledge of our surroundings acquired by our senses, and then passed on to the brain. Eyes respond to electromagnetic radiation, ears respond to air pressure, noses and tongues respond to chemicals and skin responds to changes in temperature (Woolman 2000). Language, when spoken or written, depends on muscular motion and eye-movements provided by perception. If any sense is missing, attempting to learn a language becomes increasingly difficult. A deaf person attempting to learn to speak, for example, is challenged by their lack of auditory feedback. (Horovitz 1997). An echoic repertoire – verbal behavior copied from someone else – is essential to the development of language (BURK 2008). Even if the child possesses all their senses, slow perceptual processing – as is often the case...


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