“The vocabulary we have does more than communicate our knowledge; it shapes what we can know”. Evaluate this claim with reference to different areas of knowledge. As human beings, even at our simplest hour, complex thoughts peruse our mind at a pace that we cannot even imagine. The speed in which a neuron sends a specific message for a specific task is faster than you can even begin to put together the thought of neurons. The happenings inside the mind in order for thought to occur are so complex; the ability to process information is an unfathomable concept, both scientifically and philosophically.
Yes, we could proceed into a conversation discussing the biochemical properties behind neurons and the inner clockwork of our minds; the technicalities behind the mind that allow it to function. This, however, is not the purpose of this collective arrangement of vocabulary. The purpose is simply looking past the science aspect, and proceeding directly to the roots of our existence and our evolution. Our development, as a human population is through the ability to build upon knowledge. That is the separating factor between our species and others.
We are able to not only conceive thought, but build upon it, ultimately creating a whole new concept overall. When you peel back this concept, exposing down to the core, you will discover two hemispheres upon which it is built: knowledge and vocabulary. Now I challenge you to participate in this exercise. Simply think of one thing, whether it be an object, a person, an idea. Now think of all the words in your bank of vocabulary to describe it. You probably could not rein in the overwhelming number of words that have come to mind.
You are now probably thinking of all the words that exist but of which you have not thought. All the while, I would like to point out the number of other words you have now used in order to organize your thoughts. Now take a moment to reflect on the process you just went through to complete a simple task and the whirlwind of vocabulary you had to use in order to try and ascertain the knowledge. The connection between our knowledge and our vocabulary is one that does not have a beginning. To say vocabulary was created by the knowledge, would be similar to saying the chicken came before the egg, and vice versa.
I believe that our knowledge was created by our vocabulary which was created by our knowledge which was created by our vocabulary; in an endless cycle with no beginning. Without one, the other could not thrive. The need for vocabulary to communicate knowledge is just as great as the need for knowledge to create vocabulary. Knowledge is the base upon which language and vocabulary is created. The inception of the concept of vocabulary to convey language would not have been conceived without the initial spark of knowledge. The knowledge discovered by any one individual would be strictly confined without vocabulary as a tool for communication.