English Verbal – (for CAT Exams) – 2

English Verbal – (For CAT Exams) – 2
Read the following passage and then answer the questions that follow:

It is evident that there is a close connection between the capacity to use language and the capacities covered by the verb ‘to think’. Indeed, some writers have identified thinking with using words: Plato coined the aphorism, ‘In thinking the soul is talking to itself’: G. B. Watson reduced thinking to inhibited speech located in the minute movements or tensions of the physiological mechanisms involved in speaking; and although Ryle is careful to point out that there are many senses in which a person is said to think in which words are not in evidence, he has also said that saying something in a specific frame of mind as thinking a thought.

Is thinking reducible to, or dependent upon, language habits? It would seem that many thinking situations are hardly distinguishable from the skillful use of language, although there are some other in which language is not involved. Thought cannot be simple identified with using language. It may be the case, of course, that the non-linguistic skills involved in thought can only be acquired and developed if the learner is able to use and understand language. However, this question is one which we cannot hope to answer here. Obviously being able to use language makes for a considerable development in all one’s capacities but how precisely this comes about we cannot say.

At the common sense level it appears that there is often a distinction between thought and the words we employ to communicate with other people. We often have to struggle hard to find words to capture what our thinking has already grasped, and when we do find words we sometimes feel that they fail to do their job properly. Again when we report or describe our thinking to other people we do not merely report unspoken words and sentences. Such sentences do not always occur in thinking, and when they do they are merged with vague imagery and the hint of unconscious or subliminal activities going on just out of range. Thinking, as it happens, is more like struggling, striving, or searching for something than it is like talking or reading. Words do play their part but they are rarely the only feature of thought. This observation is supported by the experiments of the Wurzburg psychologists who showed that intelligent adaptive responses can occur in problem-solving situations without the use of either words or images of any kind. ‘Set and determining tendencies’ operate without the actual use of language in helping us to think purposefully and intelligently.

Again the study of speech, disorders due to brain injury or disease suggest that patients can think without having adequate control over their language. Some patients, for example, fail to find the names of objects presented to them and are unable to describe simple events which they witness; they even find it difficult to interpret long written notices. But they succeed in playing games of chess or draughts. They can use the concepts needed for chess playing or draughts playing but are unable to use many of the concepts in ordinary language. How they manage to do this we do not know. Yet animals such as Kohler’s chimpanzees can solve problems by working out strategies such as the invention of implements or climbing aids when such animals have no language beyond a few warning cries. Intelligent or ‘insightful’ behavior is not dependent in the case of monkeys on language skills; presumably human beings have various capacities for thinking situations which are likewise independent of language.

1. Mr. G. B. Watson thought, as did Plato, that the two activities of thinking and talking were
(a) nearly same (b) basically same (c) complementary (d) independent of each other

2. Mr. Ryle maintained that words
(a) are not necessary for thinking
(b) make thinking more specific
(c) inhibit the process of thinking
(d) none of the above

3. According to the author, words usually occur to us
(a) after the thought
(b) along with thought
(c) much before the thought
(d) much later than the thought

4. The fact that sometimes words fail to express our thoughts adequately prove that
(a) our vocabulary is limited compared to the range of thought
(b) there is a distinction between thoughts and words through which we express thoughts
(c) thoughts are non-specific, while words need effort
(d) thoughts occur effortlessly while words require effort

5. When we describe our thinking to other people, sometimes, we do not report everything because
(a) reporting everything is not necessary
(b) the process is too exhausting
(c) we do not report unspoken words and sentences that our thoughts contain
(d) our thoughts are out of the range of immediate reality.

6. The Wurzburg psychologists showed that words may not be necessary
(a) to think purposefully and intelligently
(b) in problem solving situations
(c) where deterministic thinking is involved
(d) none of the above

7. People with speech disorders due to brain injury normally find it difficult to
(a) think (b) read (c) speak (d) both (b) and (c)

8. The example of Kohler’s chimpanzees suggest that
(a) man can think without using words
(b) one can be inventive without using words
(c) there is thinking which does not involve use of words
(d) chimpanzees can think without using words

9. Speaking of non-linguistic skill involved in thinking, the author suggests that the ability to acquire these may depend upon
(a) the capacity to perceive
(b) the ability to understand language
(c) the ability to use language
(d) both (b) and (c)

10. While distinguishing thinking as “striving, searching” as compared to speaking and writing the author, probably implies that
(a) thinking is a process while speaking and reading are specific acts
(b) thinking precedes speaking
(c) thinking is overt while speaking and reading are not
(d) speaking and reading are overt while thinking is not

Answers:

1. (a) 2. (d) 3. (b) 4. (c) 5. (a)

6. (c) 7. (d) 8. (b) 9. (a) 10. (b)

Author: RAMAKRISHNAN

Retired banker with more than 40 years of experience in the financial sector, presently using time in helping prospective students and others in the preparation for their competitive exams.

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