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Body Language; mathematical formulas. Language in TOK. Language is: Rule-governed Intended Creative and open ended English, Arabic, Chinese…. The origin of our languages. 5,000/10,000 B.C. Indo-European language diffusion. The indo-european language family. Language and knowledge.

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language in tok

Body Language; mathematical formulas

Language in TOK
  • Language is:
    • Rule-governed
    • Intended
    • Creative and open ended
  • English, Arabic, Chinese….
language and knowledge
Language and knowledge



Think of today. As you go through it, how do you use language (or having it used on you)? What kinds of knowledge, if any, are gained or given in each way that language is used?

What is the role for knowledge for social greeting and chat?

Word of politeness? Commands? Emotional expression?

Joking? Representational, informative language in reports

or some classes?

knowledge issues of language
Knowledge issues of language
  • Language and identity
  • Problems of translation
  • Problems of meaning
  • Language and truth
  • Language and the WOK: sense perception and emotion
  • Language used to deliberately deceive and manipulate people (propaganda)
language and identity
Language and identity
  • Language is an essential part of what defines a culture or civilization
  • An individual has a linguistic identity: identification with a language and its speakers
language and identity1
Language and identity
  • Continental and insular Scandinavian: Swedish, Danish, Swedish vs Icelandic and Faroese: political and linguistic identity merge
  • Hindi vs Urdu
lost in translation
Lost in translation

Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!

  • Guten Tag (German --> English)
  • S’il vous plait (French --> English)
  • How do you do (English --> Any language)
lost in translation1
Lost in translation
  • ‘The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret you will be unbearable’ (Romanian Hotel)
  • ‘Ladies may have a fit upstairs’ (Hong-Kong tailor shop)
  • ‘Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time’ (Italian laundry)
language and meaning
Define as precisely as you can the following three words:

A. Triangle

B. Table

C. Love

Triangle: three straight lines that define an area

Table: a piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface for eating, working etc

Language and meaning
language and meaning1
Language and meaning

- Try and explain to a blind person what the word ‘red’ means

problematic meaning
Problematic meaning
  • Ambiguity: vagueness, secondary meaning, metaphor and irony
language and truth
Language and truth
  • You have a strong need for other people to like you and for them to admire you. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. You have a great deal of unused energy which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weakness, you are generally able to compensate for them. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself of being an independent thinker and do not accept other opinions without satisfactory proof. You have a tendency of being critical with yourself. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic.
language and knowledge2
Language and knowledge


Sense perception

Language reflects and shapes sense perception and emotion


denotative and connotative language
Denotative and connotative language
  • Factual, denotative: refers to the literal, primary meaning of something
  • Emotional, connotative: implies or suggests (an idea or a feeling) in addition to the literal, primary meaning
connotative language1
Connotative language
  • ‘Misunderstanding of words have produced tragedies in both war and peace, in both business and non business situations’
language and values
Is John a good storyteller or a liar?

Is Maurice a fluent conversationalist or a wind-bag?

Do you see Melissa as self confident or arrogant?

Is Paul’s refusal to show emotion a sign of inner strength or insensivity?

When we gossip, we negotiate with one another about how to describe people

Language and values

Which of these competing descriptions you settle on is likely to affect the way you think about the person in question.

language and communication
Language can be used to influence and persuade through: emotionally laden language, weasel words, revealing and concealing

Terrorist/freedom fighter

Pro life/Pro choice

Genetically modified food/Frankestein food

US Department of war/of Defense

Language and communication
neuro linguistic programming nlp
Neuro linguistic programming (NLP)
  • NLP (California,1970s) developed by an information scientist and a linguist
  • People with similar education, training, background and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre.They wanted to know the secrets of effective people.
neuro linguistic programming nlp1
Possibility of being able to duplicate the behavior, and therefore the competence, of these highly effective individuals.

They studied how the successful people communicated (verbal language, body language, eye movements, and others).

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP)
neuro linguistic programming nlp2
By modeling their behavior, they were able to make out patterns of thinking thatassisted in the subject's success.

They theorized that the brain can learn the healthy patterns and behaviors.

The words we use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, they will create an underlying problem as long as we continue to use and to think them. Our attitudes are, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP)
language and knowledge3
Language and knowledge
  • The role of language in methods that lead to knowledge: interviews, questionnaires, reports…
  • The role of language in the justification of knowledge: historical documents and archives, public reports contributing to a growing field, conclusions able to be (re)tested….
  • ‘If you can’t say it then you don’t know it’ (H. Reichenbach, 1891-1953)
  • ‘I know more than I can say’ (M. Polanyi,1891-1976)
  • Lagemaat R. (2005), Theory of Knowledge for the IB diploma