This was inspired by Robyn Arianrhod's book Einstein's Heroes which explores a language which, imo[and hers], is a celebration of the human spirit. Also where I learnt much about The James Clerk Maxwell <- He did pretty much establish mathematics as the arbiter of physical reality and the first to accept in a real sense that language is reality. He is now one of my personal heroes.
In general, we'll assume that physical reality came first and language came after. We create words to describe what already exists. We'll name trees, animals, mountains, oceans and so on. We can even create words for sounds. Do these words, however, objectively describe the world around us?
We come to language playing a very interesting role when describing the reality. A British colonist would speak alanguage surrounded by 'soft colours and bountiful fertility'. Long tamed by 'civilisation'. Coming to, say, Africa, the words chosen to describe this new enviroment would most likely come to being 'hostile', 'uninhabitable', 'barren'. It would be something that needs to be, 'tamed' and 'civilized'. The native of that land would, most likely, use very different words to describe[With no exact English equivilant].
Subjectivity dominates. Even visually. An artist must draw what they see. Not what they think they see. The influence of European pre-conceptions were, no doubt, highly evident in early landscape paintings of these new and 'untamed' lands. Thought is not only inherent in our descriptions of reality but also in our perception of it. I imagine most of us think in language, rather than images.
Then we come to Physics; the science of describing the physical world at its most fundamental level. Mathematics thelanguage we use to name and imagine that world. (Yes, imagine.) It is by mathematics - not seeing or touching and doing physical experiments - that physicists have created some of the more bizarre concepts and ideas about nature. An example being quantum theory, which says that at the subatomic level, energy can exist only in discrete packets. We see, in everyday matters, temperature as continually increases. It doesn't jump from 1 to 5 and then to 10 and such in a series of 'quantum leaps'. The concept of the universe was expanding. A possibility first turning up as part in the mathematics of Einstein's general theory of relativity. Where else could such an idea have come to pass?
So whatever our reality is, it is through the language in which we choose to describe it. Please, share your views onreality and how we experience it and what not.