Starter task • Try to ‘read’ these texts. Think about as many aspects as possible • Be prepared to share your ideas with the group
Different text types…just a few. • advertisementsappealsbiographiesblogsbrochurescartoonsdiarieseditorialsessays • Feature articlesfilmslettersmanifestosmemoirsnews reportsopinion columnsparodiespastiches • photographsreportsscreenplayssong lyricsspeechestabloid articlestweetstravel writing
Some responses: “I think it is writing in some language. At first I thought it was Arabic but I’ve seen that and it looks more like something from Asia.” “It is language…whatever it is trying to say, the part in red is the most important part…maybe.” “This is graffiti. It is a very long tag, or maybe a design.” The image is a form of mark-making called ‘asemic writing’ by the artist Patricia Dunn. Asemic writing resembles writing, calligraphy or alphabet but has no clear meaning. Is this language or a form of art?
Discussion task: • In table groups, discuss each of the following questions for 30secs: • What is language? • What is the purpose of language? • How do we communicate through language? • How is language controlled? • How does it evolve? • Think of some examples and be prepared to share your ideas with the group.
What do we use language for? • To express emotion; • To drown out silence; • To establish a sense of belonging; • To establish relationships; • To enjoy the sound of language; • To affect other’s emotions; • To affect other’s behaviour; • To convey information; • To lie, to cheat, to confuse!
What is culture?? • Culture broadly defines a system of meaning for a group of people and it includes language, laws, customs, myths, images, texts and daily practices.
McDonald’s around the world • Look at the following McDonald adsand complete the table givento you. • Be prepared to share your thoughts and difficulties in understanding
Key things to consider: • Language surrounds us EVERYWHERE in a variety of ways – words, images, sound, actions etc • Language is symbiotic with culture and the manner in which we structure our lives. Culture is shaped by our use of language • In the spirit of TOK, try to put aside any assumptions you have about what language is, how it operates and the role it plays in your/our culture.
Discussion task • What reasons do you think may be responsible for the decline of ‘living languages’? • Discuss in your small groups and try to bullet point some ideas.
Did your group come up with any of the following reasons? • Speakers shifting to dominant languages such as English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Hindi • Speakers own preference of shifting to other languages considered more ‘prestigious’ and ‘modern’ • Socio-political factors, language policy, language indoctrination through education, repression and pressure to use the official and national languages • Economic pressures • Migratory trends • Natural disasters / epidemics
What in your opinion would explain the areas and countries on each map with the greatest concentration of living languages?
Ambiguity and its consequences • Read the following extract from the poem ‘Mokusatsu’ and in pairs, discuss what it tells you about language, meaning and communication using the questions as stimulus. • Be prepared to share your ideas with the group. • ‘Mokusatsu’ by Heathcote Williams