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Language. Can you write the title please?. Language. In groups c an you think of a situation where language has got in the way of straightforward communication? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGJnynLq8Lo. Language.

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Language

  • Can you write the title please?


Language

  • In groups can you think of a situation where language has got in the way of straightforward communication?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGJnynLq8Lo


Language

  • Can you think of an example where language has been abused to serve some other end than the neutral transfer of information?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af44Slin7lg


Denotation and connotations


Freedom fighters or terrorists?

  • When the ANC were fighting a guerrilla war against the apartheid regime in South Africa were they freedom fighters or terrorists? Justify your choice.


Which phrase should we use? Why?

  • Black person?

  • Person of colour?

  • Coloured?

  • Afro-american/european/caribean?

  • Non-white?

  • Negro?

  • Nigger?


Denotation and connotation

  • All the words in the previous slide have the same denotation (they refer to the same thing) but have different connotations (secondary meanings and inferences).


Denotation and connotation

  • In the following slides decide what the denotation is (what do the words stand for) and discuss the connotations of the words


Slender, skinny, thin

What is the denotation of these words? What are their connotations?


Stubborn, steadfast, firm,

What is the denotation of these words? What are their connotations?


Praise, flatter, commend

What is the denotation of these words? What are their connotations?


Combative, belligerent, feisty, argumentative

What is the denotation of these words? What are their connotations?


In your journals list as many different words as you can for;

clever


In your journals list as many different words as you can for;

Drunk


In your journals list as many different words as you can for;

Stupid


Rewrite this from a Mexican point of view – Due next Monday.

The Alamo – American view

  • The Siege of the Alamo is the most famous fight in Texas history. In 1836, around 225 brave Texas revolutionaries sacrificed their lives defending a post they believed essential to their cause. For many Americans, the Alamo is a symbol of patriotic sacrifice, bravery and loyalty.

  • In 1835 Texan revolutionaries had liberated the city of San Antonio from Mexican troops. Within the city stood its mission, the town’s strongest fortification, known as the Alamo. Around 225 colonists were at the Alamo under the leadership of Col. James Bowie and Lt. Col. William B. Travis. The defenders resolved to be a barrier between the Mexican government and the other Texas colonies.

  • Their resolve was tested on February 23rd, as General Santa Anna’s Army of 2,500 arrived to enforce government policy. When Santa Anna sent a courier demanding the Alamo’s surrender, Travis defiantly replied with cannon fire.

  • Travis wrote a plea to other Texans near Houston, “We want men and provisions. Send them to us.” Vowing to never surrender or retreat, he pledged: “Victory or Death!” But help would not come.

  • Santa Anna’s forces lay siege to the Alamo for 12 days before a final assault on March 6th when 1,800 troops stormed the walls on the orders of their government. Travis was among the first to die. All Texan fighters were killed or executed, taking about 600 Mexican troops with them.

  • The Alamo defenders remained at their post, fighting for Texas Independence until the last and buying time for the young government to organize. Their memory inspires courage in Americans in any situation demanding patriotic sacrifice.


Lesson 2 - Language and Thought

  • Are our thoughts limited by our language? (the “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis”)


Newspeak - 1984

  • Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwell's novel 1984. The basic idea behind Newspeak was to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple dichotomies (pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness) which reinforce the total dominance of the State. A staccato rhythm of short syllables was also a goal, further reducing the need for deep thinking about language.

  • In addition, words with opposite meanings were removed as redundant, so "bad" became "ungood." Words with similar meanings were also removed, so "best" became "doubleplusgood." In this manner, as many words as possible were removed from the language.

  • The underlying theory of Newspeak is that if something can't be said, then it can't be thought. One question raised by this is whether we can communicate the need for freedom, or organize an uprising, if we don't have the words for either?

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein "The limits of my language mean the limits to my world.“ DISCUSS


Language and thought

  • If surgeons, mathematicians, lawyers can use their medical, mathematical and legal language to think in highly sophisticated ways about their subjects, perhaps different natural languages lend themselves to thinking about nature in completely different ways….


Really?

  • “Italian is designed for love; we speak with our friends in French; we use English to talk to our dogs….

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9D1TRgf04M&feature=related

Are different languages “better” for different tasks?3 minutes to discuss this.


Blue/green

  • Many languages do not have separate terms for blue and green, instead using a cover term for both. For example, in Vietnamese both tree leaves and the sky are xanh. How does affect our view of the world?


No left or right!

  • Pormpuraaw, a small Aboriginal community in northern Australia define space relative to an observer. They use cardinal-direction terms — north, south, east, and west — to define space. This means you have to say things like "There's an ant on your southeast leg" or "Move the cup to the north northwest a little bit." One obvious consequence of speaking such a language is that you have to stay oriented at all times. The normal greeting is "Where are you going?" and the answer should be something like " Southsoutheast, in the middle distance." If you don't know which way you're facing, you can't even get past "Hello.“!


A world language?

What would be the advantages and disadvantages if everyone in the world spoke the same language?Write a paragraph in your journal.


“Who does not know another language does not know his own” Goethe

What can you learn about your own language by studying another? How does learning another language increase your knowledge of the world?


Is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis true?

  • Einstein (amongst many) claimed to think best in pictures with no words

  • We sometimes struggle to find the right words to express what we are thinking – this suggest thoughts are prior to language

  • If language determines thought – how do new words appear?

  • Perhaps language just influences our thought.

Have you ever thought about how you think? WHEN do you think the best? In words? Images? Both? With sounds/smells?


Language as miscommunication


Ambiguity

Flying planes can be dangerous.

(Can you explain the ambiguity?)


Ambiguity

They saw Mrs Jones and a dog sitting under a table

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

Jan tickled the woman with a feather duster

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

Refuse to be put in the basket

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

Nicole wanted to hear Justin Bieber sing really badly

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

Visiting relatives can be boring


Ambiguity

Many poor students are on scholarships

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

  • Eerik ate bacon on the sofa

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

As Jessica went to head the ball we saw her duck

What are the two meanings?


Ambiguity

He is opposed to taxes which damage incentives

What are the two meanings?


Problems in Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Translation


Google translate

  • Google Translate

  • “Watch outthat you don’t hit your head on the low beam”


Lesson 3 - But what do words actually mean?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kJlxwB4VhIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnHv7NGWb0k


The problem of meaning….

The montillation of traxoline

It is very important that you learn about Traxoline. Traxoline is a new form of Zionter. It is montilled in Ceristanna. The Ceristannians gristerate large amounts of fevon and then bracter it into quasel traxoline. Traxoline may well be one of our most lukized snezlaus in the future because of our zionter lescelidge.


The problem of meaning….

The montillation of traxoline

It is very important that you learn about Traxoline. Traxoline is a new form of Zionter. It is montilled in Ceristanna. The Ceristannians gristerate large amounts of fevon and then bracter it into quasel traxoline. Traxoline may well be one of our most lukized snezlaus in the future because of our zionter lescelidge.

  • What is traxoline?

  • Where is traxoline montilled?

  • How is traxoline quaselled?

  • Why is it important to know about traxoline?


  • You can answer the questions although you have no idea what the words mean!!

  • If you don’t know the meaning of key words in a sentence you will not understand it.

  • Traxoline is a new form of Zionter – do we know this is true?

    Important because you must know what a sentence means before you can decide whether or not it is true.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kJlxwB4VhI


Does this happen in lessons?!

“the earthquake was caused by movement along the subduction zone. Here the Cocos oceanic plate meets the Pacific plate“


Does this happen in lessons?!

“the earthquake was caused by movement along the subduction zone. Here the Cocos oceanic plate meets the Pacific plate“

“What caused the earthquake in Mexico City?”


Does this happen in lessons?!

“the earthquake was caused by movement along the subduction zone. Here the Cocos oceanic plate meets the Pacific plate“

“What caused the earthquake in Mexico City?”

“Movement along the subduction zone”


Does this happen in lessons?!

“the earthquake was caused by movement along the subduction zone. Here the Cocos oceanic plate meets the Pacific plate“

“What caused the earthquake in Mexico City?”

“Movement along the subduction zone”

Just because we know the word to use, does not mean we understand what is happening!


Physics teacher

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJe5flDNGcU

  • A Physics teacher from Northern Ireland demonstrates that knowing the word for something is not the same as understanding or explaining it (watch up to 5 mins 20 secs)


Nonsense poetry - Jabberwocky

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borograoves’

And the mome raths outgrabe.


Theories of Meaning


What is a table?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc3H4UkkZgk


Definition theory

Define as precisely as you can the followingwords

i. triangleii. stooliii. love


Problems with definition theory?


Problems with definition theory

  • Only mathematical words can be defined precisely

  • Definitions depend on using other words!

  • In order to stop being trapped in an endless circle of words, language must surely connect with the world.


Denotation theory

  • A meaningful words “stands” for something, whereas a meaningless word does not (see earlier)

  • What do the following words ‘stand for’?


France


Dog


Problems

  • Can you think of words which would be difficult to define by finding something they “stand for”?


Problems

  • Can you think of words which would be difficult to define by finding something they “stand for”?

  • Multiplication, freedom, wisdom?


Problems!

  • Denotation theory does not work with abstract words

  • Even a word like “Einstein” cannot literally be Einstein because it would become meaningless when he died.


Image Theory

  • The meaning of a word is the mental image it stands for

  • In your groups can you describe your mental images to each other for the following words? (THINK before you speak)


Freedom


Multiplication


Red


Terrorist


Physics


Love


Problems!

  • We can never be sure that a person understands the meaning of a word the same we do if they may have a different “image” in their mind


Lesson 4

  • Problems of meaning continued

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnHv7NGWb0k


Meaning as know-how

  • You know the meaning of a word when you know how to use it correctly


Meaning as know-how

  • Demonstrate you know the meaning of the following words by including them in a sentence (in your journals);

  • Eat, dog, dusk, random, chlorophyl, fascist, quantum-tunneling.


Old?


Bald?


How useful are vague words?

Without thinking too much, write down a figure (number) for the following;

  • John lives near school. How close does he live?

  • Eerik is a heavy smoker. How many cigarettes a day does he smoke?

  • Mr Smith is middle- aged. How old is he?

  • Nafisha’s mother is rich. How much money does she have in the bank?


A further confusion!Use of metaphors


Metaphor

Jan has his head in the clouds


Nadia has put her roots down in Warsaw


My brother is a butcher?


My dentist is a butcher!


Metaphors

  • Can you think of common metaphors in your language that have no English equivalent or don’t make sense in English? Write them down.


Labels

Am I a pile of bricks or a work of Art?


Labels

  • Language has basically 2 types of words;

  • Proper names which we give to things such as people, places and pets.

  • The vast majority of other words which do not describe a unique thing but which are general in nature. For this reason we can simply think of language as a labeling system.


Labels can be useful!

  • A good “label” enables us to predict how an object will behave. For example – stool.


Labels

  • What predictions can you make from the following labels?

  • Dog

  • Tiger

  • Teacher

  • Bread

  • Mushroom


Classification

  • Mr Porter is going to give each group a list of words. Can you classify them into 3 groups? (Using whatever criteria you wish).


Different labels

  • There are many ways to find similarities and difference between objects, so the label or classification we use can be different in different circumstances.

  • Baggage would be classified differently by a baggage handler, designer or traveller.


Classification

  • What are the main advantages and disadvantages to classifying people by their

  • Nationality

  • Star sign

  • Race


Stereotypes

  • A danger of labeling is that our labels can easily harden into stereotypes


Stereotypes

What stereotypes, if any, do you think exist concerning the following groups;

  • Americans

  • Feminists

  • Lawyers

  • Buddhists

  • Computer hackers

  • IB students


Euphemisms

  • Substituting mild or neutral sounding words for a negative sounding one

  • How many can you think of?


Rest room?


Passed away


Differently – abled?


Refuse collection technician


Military euphemisms


Inoperative combat personnel


Collateral damage


Friendly fire


Enhanced interrogation technique


Area denial munitions


Ministry of Defence


Resettlement


Revealing and concealing

  • I have invited an attractive blonde to the party

  • I have invited a cellist to the party

  • I have invited a marathon runner to the party

  • I have invited a lesbian to the party

  • How would YOU like to be described?


Revealing and concealing

  • They are all the same person – how does the words you choose to describe a person affect people’s perception? How would YOU like to be described? Describe yourself in your journals.


Lessons 5 and 6

  • On the corridor have been stuck some language quotations. Go round in pairs and try to explain to each other what each quote means – try to think of examples which illustrate each quote.

  • You have 33 minutes(3 minutes for each quotation).


Essay task – 800 words

  • Your task is to choose one quote and write an essay.

  • Explain what you think the quote means giving examples.

  • Give (and explain) two examples from IB subjects that you study to illustrate the quote

  • Choose (and explain) a personal experiences which is relevant to the quote

  • Due next Monday 10th October 2011


Today

  • Working on your essays in either

  • Room 104

  • IB Computer room

  • Dining room

  • Library

  • Common room

  • Mr Porter will circulate to help you (make sure you are working!)


Linking language to perception


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