Am I correct to think that learning one's native language greatly is the best method to becoming an intelligent, much thinking person? For it seems to me that words relate one to reality (to the extent that one can become related to reality).
As I learn new words each day (I buy books similar to Merriam-Websters Vocabulary Builder and read them daily, among other books), I feel as though they are figuratively unlocking doors to new thoughts that were not accessible by my mind without the words. Is this a fact: one is literally superior in thought (not in an imaginative sense) to one without the words the former knows? Or am I an arrogant charlatan, and think I am better for just knowing some words?
Or, better yet, why are words so powerful? Could you please recommend some books that elucidate the answer to my questions?
I think you are correct to think that expanding one's vocabulary expands one's ability to think, because it expands one's ability to formulate thoughts of greater complexity and sensitizes one to subtle distinctions one may not otherwise have noted. It also makes one's thinking and communication more efficient, if one is able to deploy 'flange', rather than 'something that sticks out from something else with some purpose or other...', and or to categorize someone as 'pusillanimous', rather than as 'someone who behaves in such and such ways...' Relatedly, one of the fascinations of learning other languages is becoming more aware of the distinctions and categories recognized in one's own language, which are not always the same as those recognized in other languages. Both expanding one's grasp of one's native language and acquiring facility in other languages is in effect a way of becoming more aware of one's conceptual scheme, or perhaps equivalently, of alternate ways of dividing and organizing reality....