WoK: Language Without language, knowledge is only for yourself to keep

Journals / Progress:


Today, our group took the quiz and fortunately we all passed with flying colors. And the presentation from WoK2 went well.


So it's debate time, and we also need to decide on a project idea but unfortunately, for this work day, I had a bad stomache and stayed in the nurse office for the whole time. Luckily, my group covered for me and they told me what to do. We will do a documentation video about our experiment involving speakers of different languages assessing the masculinity of a word in another language unknown to them, in the form of visual images, phonological sounds and semantic concept of the word. It will be about 6 six languages: Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, French, Russian and Vietnamese. The results from the experiment are expected to show positive correlation between gender association of words and gender bias opinions. Expectantly, the filming process should go well.


We decided to film everybody who agreed to participate in the experiment today but I had to go see the nurse for a checkup. Previously, we were going to do this experiment on Vietnamese too to prove how a language with explicit and specific classification based on the objects themselves but not how they look like they belong to a woman or a man might have no effect at all on the knower's perspective regarding gender bias. But ultimately, we couldn't include it in the experiment because it does not show a point relating to our knowledge question so we took it out.


Our group, asparagus, aspires to enlighten our class about how language shapes the knowledge that we have. At first, we struggled coming up with an idea that would clearly show the process or relationship of language to the formation of knowledge, or how language is an inescapable taint on the lense of perspective that we use to look at the world and arrive at conclusions that would form new knowledge. We thought of languages that would differentiate various shades of a color but ignore that of another color, relating sense perception to language but it gave us a better idea. Instead, we came up with a better idea to accommodate the concept into the project: how language creates gender bias, proving that humans are essentially gender biased because our language differs between words that would be associated with female or male. We have a feeling that it would be an interesting notion to tackle with and it would make a clear point to other students as well.

Our documentation video:

Elective Reading Journals:

3 readings chosen:

a. http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2771.htm

Engine of Our Ingenuity (episode 2771: shorthand): The speaker dug deep into the matter of shorthands in languages and the way it affects knowledge. Shorthands are shorter handwritings of a word to make our communication more speedy and efficient. It's used in many languages such as Chinese, Greek, Egyptian,... and its diverse uses in debates have given rise to countercultural movements such as anti-vivisectionists, anti-tobacconists,... . But the problem with shorthands is that it had become so shortened over the course of time of its use in English that it challenges the purpose of conveying knowledge it was made for. Nowadays, we text in abbreviations so short, reduced to just initials, that it is hard to decipher what we had written, slowing the the process of understand knowledge, distorting knowledge, defeating the very purpose it was made for in the first place: to make conveying knowledge an easier task. We should all be aware of this and try not to go too deep down the rabbit hole to confuse ourselves with abbreviations and shortenings unreadable where knowledge from these is distorted and easily misunderstood.

Sign, signifier and signified explained: It's hard to differentiate and see the two uses of language: a tool for communication or / and a way of knowing. This article gives the reader insight into the communication definition while at the same time, portrays how language can shape knowledge, structurally or arbitrarily. A sign is composed of its sound-image and its meaning. This makes total sense because as human beings, we are limited to our senses to receive information from the physical world. There have been no accounts where we can escape our physical body and gain knowledge ourselves. That's why a sound-image is required to materialize the concept into the physical world. I think this is the basis for sharing mutual knowledge and transforming shared knowledge into personal knowledge.

RSA animation - Language as a window to human nature: Though the video illustrates mostly how human behavior dictates the choice of words, grammar and structure in language use, its explanation explains the significance and the process of sharing the personal knowledge and making it shared knowledge. Its most crucial point is that when language is used to convey the personal knowledge that are essentially the same concept but it is not yet confirmed as shared knowledge, it acts as a bridge connecting human beings together and acts directly as a way of knowing shared knowledge.

Extension Proposal:

This is a very valuable source to explore language as a way of knowing. His speech goes right into the point with real examples and clear explanations. It demonstrates the main point of language as a way of knowing: language conveys the knowledge that has been formed semantically in our mind and gives it the physical form that all knowledge needs to have.


Created with images by wilhei - "font lead set book printing"

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