You know that old saw about how we can't think beyond the limits imposed on us by the language(s) we speak? How Huck Finn reckoned himself Hellbound because his vocabulary defined the perimeter of what he could conceive? How our interactions with the material world are socially constructed by way of the linguistic instruments through which we differentiate and individuate percepta? Y'know how we're trapped in the proverbial Prison House of Language?
All crap. Turns out that linguistic and conceptual syntaxes not so tightly at the hip joined are:
"Not surprisingly, speakers of different languages describe events using the word orders prescribed by their language. The surprise is that when the same speakers are asked to 'speak' with their hands and not their mouths, they ignore these orders — they all use exactly the same order when they gesture,"….
"Our data suggest that the ordering we use when representing events in a nonverbal format is not highly susceptible to language's influence," Goldin-Meadow and her co-authors write. "Rather, there appears to be a natural order that humans use when asked to represent events nonverbally. Indeed, the influence may well go in the other direction–the ordering seen in our nonverbal tasks may shape language in its emerging stages."
Teasing out the implications for English and Mandarin poetry, and especially for synaesthetic consequences in Poundian Imagism, as an exercise for the reader remains.
A tip o' the tiara to Dean Esmay