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TOK Presentation: Are we on the right track?

Our real life example: English as a Universal Language

The KI we came up with was:

To what extent does language play an important role in defining culture?

We were thinking of exploring it in terms of History and Art (maybe literature). Our WoKs would be emotion and perception.

Here are some of the points we thought of:

  • People usually say that if a culture's language is lost, they will lose their identity. But if that is the case, does that mean that language defines a culture?
    • An example would be how some people just group African countries into 'Africa'.

    [*]Some words cannot be directly translated and its meaning would be lost.

    • But meaning will also be lost if two parties cannot communicate effectively.

    [*]Does language influence your perception?

    • How you perceive the world and other cultures.
    • Do you appreciate a culture more after learning the language?
      • Is appreciating the same as understanding?
      • Maybe it is not so much as learning the language but more of living in the country?

What do you think? Are we on the right track? Are there any other points we can consider?

Thank you.

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Hi

I like your points.

Try touching upon (but not exploring too much) other areas of knowledge, the mark scheme likes it. Also consider different points of view and don't forget to include your personal opinion and involvement.

'Some words cannot be directly translated and its meaning would be lost.'

Try including some example you faced, like as you're learning Mandarin try including example of a word in this language the concept of which doesn't exist in yours.

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For other AoKs how about, as a side topic, mathematics as a universal language? Would that go overboard?

As for personal involvement, since both of us do mandarin, does it count if we find some examples of mandarin phrases that cannot be translated?

At the moment, I'm not too sure about other points of views though. I'll try thinking about that.

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I actually had a very similar topic when I was doing the TOK presentation. Some of the point you made were actually brought into my own presentation!

Translation is a good topic to discuss. I think you need to stress more on the fact that there is more in a culture than the culture's language, bring in a personal example of how something can be interpreted, and misinterpreted, and explain that the things we know about language may or may not be enough for us to understand and appreciate a certain culture. Maybe expand on that and make a general point to all languages and cultures?

It seems intuitive to me that you should automatically use language as a WoK, but you didn't mention it? I'll assume it will be implicitly discussed in your presentation. Three WoKs and two AoKs should be enough; you don't have a lot of time, and you want to make sure you're doing everything on the rubric with enough clarity and depth. That my two cents; everything else seems fine to me! :)

Good luck and hope this helps.

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