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TOK Language Prezi

Mr. Moore's Language Prezi for TOK class
by

Eric Moore

on 11 August 2013

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Transcript of TOK Language Prezi

What is language?
Uniquely human or different for different species?
Sent and Recieved, or can things not heard be
language?
Based on rules or unstructured?
Creative and open ended or fixed and limited?
Symbolic or concrete?
Man is the animal that speaks. understanding language is thus the key to understanding man? ~Thomas Szasz
All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer. ~W.B. Yeats
Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed,
but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and
infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process
of free creation. ~Noam Chomsky
LANGUAGE
We have already established that langage has an affect of shaping our ability to think and how we think.

That is to say, we have established how Language can be considered a way of knowing via our discussion of the Saphir-Whorf hypothesis.

Mr. Moore's evil twin, Dr. Moore, then furthered this point by suggesting that if language shapes thought, and language - by its very nature is ambiguous and imperfect as a device for communication, then our ability to think is ambiguous and imperfect - in other words, having language as our fondation of knowing means we can't REALLY know anything. *bum bum bummm* p
The limits of my language are the limits of my world ~Ludwig Wittgenstein
In this, second part, of our study of language as a WoK, we will be seeking to:

Define just what language is by examining an critiquing several theories of language

Examine issues of language as a way of knowing

Understand why defining language and understanding issues of language is difficult, but important.
Man is the animal that speaks. understanding language is thus the key to understanding man? ~Thomas Szasz
All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer. ~W.B. Yeats
Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed,
but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and
infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process
of free creation. ~Noam Chomsky
The limits of my language are the limits of my world ~Ludwig Wittgenstein
"Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for
human communication." ~Terger
Four Theories of language
Definition Theory
Denotation Theory
Image Theory
Practice Theory
- words must be defined according to a commonly accepted meaning
e.g. dictionary.
- words must have meaning - that is, must refer to something that
exists
the meaning of a word is the mental image that it creates (nonsense words, or just repeating sounds don’t create mental images)
the meaning of a word is something you must learn how to use correctly
To warm up, discuss with your table mates:

What is language?

What gives a word meaning?

The sum of your answers for the above questions makes your personal
"theory of language" which is a vital part of your worldview.
Are any of these theories flawless?

If not, what issues do you see with them?
Definition Theory (Debunked)
1) PROBLEMS: Can all words be “properly” defined? Are dictionary definitions precise? Who gets to decide the "dictionary" definition? Thats a lot of power!

2)Try defining the following words:
1)Table
2)Love
3)Red
Denotation Theory (Demeaned)
1) PROBLEMS: What about emotional or philosophical
words? What about things for which there is not agreement about
whether it exists or not (e.g. God)?

2)Try defining the following words:
1) Self
2) Wisdom
Image Theory (In dispute)
1) PROBLEMS: Can you be sure someone else has a similar mental image?

2)Try thinking of a word that doesn’t create a mental image.
Practice Theory (Punked)
1) PROBLEMS: Could a robot learn to use languageappropriately? Who determines correct use?

2) Think of three red items - can you use the word red ina way that we all understand?
Coffee Break.
Knowers of Nothing
An expose By
The Notorious Dr. Moore
Issues of Language

1) Language is AMBIGUOUS - due to vagueness, secondary meaning, irony + metaphor...

2) Language requires knowledge & context

3)Language is constantly changing and evolving

4) Physical factors can impede learning, processing, remembering and producing language (Dysgraphia, dyslexia,blindedness, deafness, Alzheimer's, brain trauma, etc.)

Of these four key issues, we will focus on the first one, but the other three can and should be explored via your language classes or independent reflection (e.g. TOK journal).
1) VAGUENESS - some words are vague and only context/explanation can define them Can you think of 3 VAGUE words? (‘fast’....)

Write down a figure for these questions:
1) John lives close to the school. How near does he live?

2) Janet is a heavy smoker. How much does she smoke?

3) The man is middle aged. How old is he?

4) She earns a lot of money. How much does she make?

Do vague words serve a purpose? Should we get rid of them?
1.2) SECONDARY MEANINGS- some words have a
PRIMARY MEANING (DENOTATION) and a SECONDARY MEANING (CONNOTATION - a personal meaning usage, the web of words connected to the main word)

People often have different CONNOTATIONS (emotional connections/meanings) to some words.

Think of ‘peace’. Does it mean the same thing to a kid, a soldier, a zen monk?

Come up with the DENOTATION (main word) for thefollowing CONNOTATIONS:
1) throw up, heave, regurgitate
2) slender, skinny, undernourished
3) flatter, commend, kiss up to
4) stench, fragrance, perfume,
5) hyper, spirited, bouncing off the walls, pumped up
1.3) AMBIGUITY - some words are not clear because of doublemeaningsCan you think of 3 words or phrases that have more than onemeaning? (‘cool’....) (‘hangs around the house')
Each of these sentences is ambiguous. Please define 2 meanings:
1) Refuse to be put in the waste basket.
2) Flying planes can be dangerous.
3) As the girl entered the room I saw her duck.
4) The class wanted to hear Mr. Montgomery sing
very badly.
Some words are not clear because of double meanings
“A baby seal walks into a club...”
“Iraqi head seeks arms”
“Bus driver says children should be belted”
“Obesity scientists seek larger test group”
“Cars kill 100 each day; let’s resolve to do better”

Is Ambiguity ever used on purpose? If so by whom?
Why? When?
METAPHORS- some words are shown through comparisons. These comparisons have a LITERAL (actual) meaning, and a METAPHORICAL (accepted by culture) meaning.

1) Define the LITERAL (real, word) meaning and the METAPHORICAL (secondary but intended) meaning for
the following METAPHORS:

1) Granny passed away last night
2) She has her head in the clouds
3) We killed ASD in the game last night
4) My dentist is a butcher
5) The Russian put down roots in Africa.
6) No man is an island
“Final frantic run for health care" --Unpredictable Massachusetts Senate race gives urgency to health caretalks with end in sight

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Like a roller-coaster ride on its last twisting turns, President Barack Obama's campaign to remake health care is barreling into final days of breathless suspense andheadlong momentum.

Democrats -- led by Obama himself -- are deploying this weekend to salvage an unpredictablevSenate race in Massachusetts, while senior White House and congressional staffers inWashington hurry to finish work on cost and coverage options at the heart of the sweeping legislation.”
2) Metaphors are very common! Find the metaphors (words/
phrases that are picture-like connections) in this piece of text:`
Language and the
Death of Knowledge
IRONY: some words are used to mean THE OPPOSITE of what is meant. SARCASM is a common form of this.

What context knowledge is needed to understand the following statments in a LITERAL or an IRONIC way:
.
“ Nice weather, eh?”
“ He’s a real stud"
“Any more bright ideas, Einstein?”
“Thanks a lot!”
"Gee, I really needed to know this stuff!"



Now... Lets step back a moment.
...and ask ourselves... why does it matter?
Why should we care about the precise meaning of words?
A Mr. Moore Original Prezi
Full transcript