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
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?
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?
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?
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.