Secondary Meanings 2.21-3.3.17 -------------------------- By: Keely ash

Way Of Knowing: Language

How does language shape knowledge?

How do secondary meanings shape knowledge?

Group Members:

Keely Ash, Rhea Sachdeva, Simren Menon, & Liam Akhras

Language & Emotion




Today we started planning our Language Way of Knowing Presentation. We are still a ways away from being ready to present. I am kind of worried about the time we have. I don’t think we will be able to finish. However, we were thinking of doing a survey to see how people pick up different emotions from differently worded statements. For example, the car hit vs. the car collided.


I read the TOK textbook, Chapter 4 on Language as a Way of Knowing. I read about secondary meanings and connotation and denotation. We decided to focus on secondary meanings for our presentation. I listened/watched the RSA Animate: Language as a Window into Human Nature. They guy opened the video by giving the audience a scenario about a cop pulling over a man who had money sticking out somewhere and the author said this was a veiled bribe. He continued to talk about how we don’t blurt out what we mean in lots of words, instead veil our intentions in innuendo hoping that the listener will read between the lines. He also gave lots of examples of these veiled meanings. The second elective reading I read what Millions Have Dyslexia, Few Understand It. It talking about how dyslexia does not mean that the person who has it is dumb but they just stumble over words. Dyslexia is a learning disability. They mentioned a boy, Thomas (9 years old), in the article, he has dyslexia but has the comprehension of a 13 year old. Thomas understands texts but just can’t read them. This can affect how Thomas attains knowledge because he has great trouble reading but he listens to audiobooks. This means that reading street signs and news is hard for him. The first elective reading, the RSA Animate, was much more relevant towards my presentation however I found the second one much more interesting, as I don’t have dyslexia and I don’t really know how it works. The article gave me some insight on what kids with dyslexia go through.


We talked to each other in our group and we are planning to, instead of making an experiment, do something in front of the class since most of us haven’t done that yet. We were thinking about getting two volunteers up from the class and whispering a different word or phrase with the similar denotation and different connotation (e.g. frightened to death, scaredy cat). We will then get them to doodle a representation of that word/phrase on the whiteboard. We hypothesize that they will draw different images to match the different connotations. Other than that, we will talk about language as a way of knowing and how it is connected to emotion as a way of knowing. My extension proposal is the article The Psychology of Language: How Humans Convey Emotion through Speech. It talks about emotional intelligence and vocal elements of speech delivery. It offers a great description of how emotion is conveyed through language. I think it would also help students in connecting their Way Of Knowing Badge Presentations to previously learnt WOK’s.


We have chosen our essential question from the badge doc. It is; how does language shape knowledge? However, we thought it was too vague so we narrowed it down to how do secondary meanings shape knowledge? By secondary meanings we mean euphemisms, connotation, and denotation. We hope by doing this we will gain some insight on how language and secondary meanings help and influence the way we gain knowledge through our lives.


We presented today and I think it went well. We could’ve done better and planned it out a little more. I didn’t think that our presentation was as strong as it could have been. It felt a little rushed because we were under the impression that we had to have it done by the 1st of March which was two days after we were given the assignment. Although, we got an extra day it seemed like we could have done better. Whilst we were working I came across a few knowledge questions that I thought were important. What are the strengths and weaknesses of language as a way of knowing?, how does language affect thinking?, and does language reflect how the mind works? I found these the most interesting of what I was reading. They made me think for about 20 minutes on each question. These questions don’t have a right or wrong answer and are good for a well developed and lengthy discussion. They could also be added to the Badge google doc.


Participant drawing on the whiteboard to demonstrate the differences between connotation, denotation, and euphemism and how we gain knowledge from these.

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