WOK: Language Thomas Vincent

The Ambiguity of Language

How language be proven to be open ended, creative, and rule-governed?

Badge: WOK Language

Group Members: Alexandre Ait-Ettajer, Minh Duc, Mack Hutsell

From: February 22, 2017 - March 24, 2017


2/22/17:What did you learn today about your TOK?

Today I learned several things about Language. We also found a statement which we disagree with and would like to test. Is language truly rule-governed, creative, and open ended?Often when I think of language, I only think of it as a way of passing on knowledge, never of learning knowledge. However it does shape the way we know things as it is the primary way to share knowledge. We are sure that we can find some research that proves that the structure of a normal English sentence affects our culture and thought process. This is what most likely causes cultures across the world to be so different, as many languages have different structures and rules.

3/2/17 Reflective Journal:

We felt that as a group that we didn't prepare well enough for connecting our WOK to a previous WOK. Originally we had decided to connect Language with Sense Perception as it was clear that both had ambiguity in them. However, when we were presenting and speaking on the subject, it became increasingly clear that we only had a slight connection between the two and we were struggling to intertwine the two . If we had a better connection the presentation would have felt better structured and would have been better understood by the class. We felt that did a good job on time. Time allocation was something that the group felt strongly about. Many groups in our class went over the seven minute mark. We did a great job at making sure we were in the allocation time which made sure that we didn't have too much or too little information in our presentation. Something to improve upon was that we felt our examples were 'hogging' the presentation time. Perhaps we should have demonstrated the point with one or two examples and then moved onto other points to fully demonstrate out all of the ideas. Having our presentation rejected twice was very deflating, however we regrouped twice and eventually finished our presentation after weeks of work.

TOK: Project

In demonstrating WOK: Language, we took four sentences, and asked our relatives and friends to determine what was happening in the sentence. No one was able to find a single meaning that was absolutely correct and all had different understandings of the passage. This was because there was not a single meaning that was correct due to the ambiguity of language in the sentences. Our hypothesis when starting was that Language was not truly creative and open-ended, solely rule governed.

However, this was rejected and therefore we started again. We switched our knowledge question to "How language be proven to be open ended, creative, and rule-governed?". We then had an open discussion with the teacher about how How language be proven to be open ended, creative, and rule-governed?. We discussed examples such as how we know what actions to do once someone has said a sentence

3 Questions:

1. How does language affect our thought process?

2. How does language change our daily lives?

3. Could a small change in Language change the world?

Extension Proposal:

Essential Question: Can anything rule-governed be open-ended and creative?

This is the prominent question throughout our presentation. One of the main statements of the chapter that we read, is that language is rule governed, open ended, and creative. Without this sentence, and without doing appropriate research it is hard to progress and understand the underlying chapter.

Additional text: https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_pagel_how_language_transformed_humanity

Mark Pagel: How Language Transformed Humanity. It addresses one of the important starting questions of our chapter, "is language important to knowing?". It also addresses the 3 newly proposed questions.

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