How does language allow self reflection?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that understanding the sociology of human consciousness might be helpful here.  This theoretical approach argues that language is a social construct.  In recognition of this social element, the language that is constructed is used for social utility, in terms of communicating with one another and about elements that link to one another.  One of these elements is self- reflection.  Language is seen as a collective appropriation that can be used to judge and assess our own actions and reflection of self.  Since language is something social, self- reflection is possible through a social lens.  Language becomes the tool by which we can reflect on ourselves and our actions in terms of a larger context.  When self- reflection does happen, this theory states that it is from language which is a social end.  Language is able to allow self- reflection because it permits the individual to view themselves and others through a lens of "we."  The sociology of human consciousness places self- reflection in the realm of a socially constructed language.  Language is thus able to allow the individual to reflect on themselves in "monitoring its activities, its achievements and failures, and also to a greater or lesser extent, analyzing and discussing itself as a defined and developing collective agent."  In this, language is an element that allows self- reflection.