Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/800

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before the other language centers begin to work and after they have been destroyed. Therefore, the auditory center must do the essential work of rousing ideas in reading. But if it does this, why is the motor center needed at all? We have seen that a beginner has to read aloud to stimulate the auditory center to do its work. In quiet reading the utterance-memory probably reacts upon the sound-memory, making it more vivid, and thus causing the auditory center to send out stronger association impulses. Possibly visual words first arouse a memory of the utterance instead of that of the sound, as I suppose. But, be this as it may, the facts clearly indicate that, in the evolution of language, the auditory center has acquired the position of a central station, through which the other language centers communicate with the centers for ideas. The sound of a word is the word itself. Printed words are only convenient symbols for recalling the sounds.

This gains in interest when considered in the light of Max Muller's views concerning the relation of language to thought. His motto is: "No reason without language; no language without reason." He contends that the scattered sense-memories can not be bound together to form a concept without a word, so words are essential to thought. He does not mean thought to include the inference that a dog makes when he sees his master start for a walk, or that which a driver makes when he sees a stone ahead of him and pulls the rein to avoid it. Undoubtedly such mental processes may go on without words. But it must be acknowledged that general or abstract thinking, such as places man so far above the lower animals, does require the use of words.

Now, what are the words that are essential to such thinking? Surely not visual words, but the words heard and uttered, as any one may know by attending for a few moments to his own thinking. And do not all the philologists tell us that the laws revealed by a study of the life and growth of language are phonetic laws?

Max M filler also alludes to the interesting distinction made by the German language in the two forms for the plural of Wort. Worte means living words actually engaged in conveying concepts from one mind to another; Woerter means words considered as mere objects. Visual words are only Woerter, dead bodies unable to support the burden of thought, mere effigies of the living sounds.

It is not meant, however, to deny the possibility of a different relation of the language centers to one another in abnormal or in exceptional individuals. Deaf-mutes may learn to read and even to speak, and doubtless to use visual words in thinking; but it is with much more than ordinary difficulty, and, in the opinion of some of their ablest teachers, the results are not so satisfac-