Linking TOK to
“Language is so much a part of
human activity that it is easily taken
for granted. The issues related to
language and knowledge call for
conscious scrutiny in order to
recognize its influence on thought
Questions today :
Do people react to different
situations according to their culture?
Does the particular language we
speak influence the way we perceive
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis of
“The real world is to a large extent
unconsciously built up upon the
language habits of the group…. We
see and hear and otherwise
experience very largely as we do
because the language habits of our
community predispose certain
choices of interpretation.”
“The structure of a human being’s
language influences the manner in
which he understands reality and
behaves with respect to it.”
Experiment: Interviews with
Bilingual Japanese women.
When my wishes conflict with my
…it is a time of great unhappiness.
…I do what I want.
Real friends should…
…help each other.
…be very frank.
How to have language B students
reflect on this theory?
Why not by comparing a French
movie and its American remake?
Trois Hommes et un couffin (1985)
- Three Men and a Baby (1987)
The comedy is about three bachelors
whose lives are changed forever
when a baby infant is left on their
Compare 2 scenes!
Some differences found by students in the
They speak so fast… using their
No physical violence… but they got
really mad at their friend… much more
More vulgar language used.
The father has not accepted the baby
Way less focus on the baby.
List or remakes!
What could be beneficial?
Use of language skills in the target
Discuss and debate different
Reflection on issues surrounding
Further questions for discussion:
Language is not only the vehicle of
thought, it is a great and efficient
instrument in thinking. Humphrey Davy
A French dictionary is twice as thick as
a Thai dictionary: does that mean that
the Francophones are more articulate
and intelligent than the Thais???
The limits of my language mean the
limits of my world. Ludwig
Is there thinking without language?
And does a person who has a large
vocabulary have a broader view of
The finest language is mostly made
up of simple unimposing words.
Does this mean that the German
language is a lousy one?
Language and how not to speak it!
In a Paris hotel elevator:
“Please leave your values at the front
In a Yugoslavian hotel:
“The flattening of underwear with pleasure
is the job of the chambermaid.”
In a Rome laundry:
“Ladies, leave your clothes here and
spend the afternoon having a good time.”
In a Bkk dry cleaner’s shop:
“Drop your trousers here for best results.”
In a Tokyo Bar:
“Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.”
In a Bangkok temple:
“It is forbidden to enter a woman, even a
foreigner, if dressed as a man.”
Thanks for your attention