TOK -language Labels, Stereotypes and Emotions
Nothingness- mark twain I woke up at night and my language was gone, No sign of language no writing no alphabet Nor symbol nor word in any tongue And raw was my fear-like the terror perhaps Of a man flung from a treetop far above the ground A shipwrecked person on a tide-engulfed sandbank A pilot whose parachute would not open Or the fear of a stone in a bottomless pit And the fright was unvoiced unlettered unuttered And inarticulate O how inarticulate And I was alone in the dark A non-I in the all-pervading gloom With no grasp no leaning point Everything stripped of everything And the sound was speechless and voiceless And I was naught and nothing Without even a gibbet to hang onto Without a single peg to hold onto And I no longer knew who or what I was And I was no more
Symbolic representation and classification in language Language is symbolism, but not the only one What other forms of symbolism are there? Maps? Music? • Using any system of classification you like, divide the following eight objects into 2 groups, each numbering four items. How many different ways of doing this can you think of? • A. typewriter b. cake C. car • D. hen e. horse f. pencil • G. snake h. paint
To consider • What are the main advantages and disadvantages of classifying people according to their nationality? • What are the main advantages and disadvantages of classifying people according to their star sign? • What other ways of classifying people are there? Are some more natural than others? Are some better than others?
What do the stars say? • Some believers in astrology say that Leos and Cancers are incompatible-i.e. if you are a leo, there is no point in dating a cancer and vice versa. To what extent could this be seen as the astrological equivalent of racism?
Emotion and Language • Some words can have either favorable or unfavorable feelings associated with them • Weasel words: words like “many, should, probably” that people slip into a sentence for an escape route • In what ways are “weasel words” used in everyday advertising? • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l40MCXqr0ug&feature=player_embedded • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZFEUhJe0iU • Analyze the way language is being used in each of the following pairs of expressions: • Terrorist/Freedom fighter • Pro life/ Pro choice • Genetically modified food/ Frankenstein food • Free speech/ hate speech • “Blocking your child’s access to objectionable material on the internet is not called CENSORSHIP, its called PARENTING”- Al Gore
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis • Language determines our experience of reality, and we see and think only what our language allows us to see and think • Worf studied the Hopi indians and discovered they have no words/grammar/expressions that refer to time, so no concept of abstract time. • “He invites people to a feast”- “He (or somebody), goes for eaters of cooked food”. • Could the Hopi example be a bad translation? Translate something from a foreign language to English to test. • Are you fluent in another language? To what extent do you think differently when you switch between languages? Inuit words for “SNOW” Their vocabulary of snow allows them a different perspective from us of snowy landscapes
Language Vocab to know • Ambiguity • Body language • Classification • Communication • Connotation • Denotation • Euphemism • Idiom • Irony • Metaphor • Weasel words