Thought – Language of the Mind

I once had a friend who spoke three languages. Her father’s first language was Spanish and her mother’s German, and they all spoke perfect English – she was raised in the UK. She spoke to me about how she and her brother had taken much longer than regular children to pick up speech, because they had both learned three languages, with three different structures and patterns, at the same time.
For a while her parents believed their children had speech impediments, but in fact they simply had more to take in. One day, I asked her a question that had been nagging at my mind for a while, within the whirls of patterns. 
“What language do you think in?” I said, and she paused and looked thoughtful. 
“I’m not sure,” she said. “I think it depends. I can choose to think in any of them, but it takes a conscious switch of thought pattern because the languages are so different.”
She had never thought about it before. She explained to me that it was easy for her to think in each language if she chose to, but that her default thoughts weren’t in words at all – patterns and images and concepts that might never be developed enough to earn the right to words. 
It sent my mind whirling off on tangents – in what language does each of us think? How are our thoughts formed? What is the difference between those who think visually and those who do not? What does it mean that some think in words or pictures or simply unformed ideas, many of which they will never remember? Patterns, patterns, patterns. Where is the connection?
In my own mind, I am methodical and organised. There are patterns throughout, filing everything. Most if not all of my thoughts are filed away, and if I concentrate I can catch them without having to look at them, and explore that corridor of thought. I discovered that some people have no concept of visualisation whatsoever while others have an elaborate, complex visual idea of how their mind works. 
If I want to, I could think in another language. I could have a thought in French, if I so chose. But my natural state of thought is words in English, and since I myself am not truly bilingual I cannot switch, as my friend could, to naturally think in another language. So does this mean, perhaps, that an artist and a writer could switch their default thought-form from words to pictures and back again? Do they float somewhere in between?
How is it that a millimetre’s difference between nerve endings can create such different designs? 
Everywhere I look, there are patterns.


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