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August 20, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(8):417-418. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450080043005

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It is a question for psychologists how far thought is possible without words, but it is a matter of common every-day experience that words are an essential in the conveyance of thought. They are tools, however, of varying convenience and value, according as they are properly chosen and fitted to the idea which they are intended to convey. The amount of extra labor that is involved in the expression of our thoughts by the lack of a suitable intelligible terminology is not readily calculated, but nearly every one has felt the mental strain of labored circumlocution when the proper terms were unknown or did not readily come to hand. It would be an interesting problem, if it were a possible one, to figure in terms of horse-power, let us say, the extra amount of energy required to express the daily range of ideas in a language like the German over

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