Growing up, Yoruba felt like music to me. Not just because of the songs we listened to but my lack of knowledge of the language turned the unidentifiable mixture of syllables of sounds into music.
I have begun to notice that some of my inner thoughts are actually in Yoruba, but more unusual than that, I’ve noticed that these thoughts are spoken in the voices of my mother or father. For me, Yoruba is more than a language, rather it’s an unbreakable to my family and history.
Accessible Language (Braille, Music, Sign Language, Art, Drama) – What I mean by this is that concepts such as Music, art and drama exist as a form of communication beyond words. Sometimes when we don’t have the words for a concept, it is more easily communicated in these forms, no matter which language we speak.
Every word is a metaphor apart from the word ‘word’ itself e.g the word ‘flower’ isn’t actually a flower
All language is metaphorical, it is a representation of the thing not the thing itself
If definitions aren’t universal, communication becomes difficult
Grammar supports the meaning of language however a grammatically correct sentence
Ideas don’t necessarily need to be verbal
Language had to have been shaped by thought, if thoughts were shaped by language how did we create language in first place or create new words? Sometimes when we speak, we don’t quite have a grasp on the word we intend to use. The thought comes first.
Mentalese (non verbal symbolic representation), language of thought hypothesis
Language comes from necessity
Phallogocentric – the privileging of the masculine in the construction of meaning, expressing male attitudes and reinforcing male dominance. (Dictionary definitions)
Language is racist and sexist because it’s white males that were in power but this becomes a problem because people refuse to accept that it’s a problem. As a result of the type of people in power, creating language (white males) our language is weighed down by linguistic bias. E.g the negative connotations of black and darker colours.
Some words may not necessarily have negative implications but we culturally add that to it
Actor vs Actress, should we just have one word rather than two?
I think we are definitely limited by language as there are so many emotions and concepts that we don’t have words for, and if we don’t have words for things that we feel, our understandable and communicable grasp on these emotions/abstract concepts become tenuous. Based on this, it could be said that different cultures with languages that words for concepts that other cultures do not may have a stronger grasp or connection to these things. For example, the concept of sadness and melancholy stemming from loss or missing something that you once had can be summed up in the Portuguese word saudade. This differs to the word melancholy in that it has a specific root and cause while melancholy is a feeling of sadness with no cause. The concept of saudade is quite prominent in the novel The Carpenter’s Pencil by Manuel Rivas and from our discussions of language in TOK, I found myself more able to understand and evaluate this novel in regards to this concept.
Personally, I am incredibly fascinated by language and linguistics and I’m aiming to study Psychology, Physics and Linguistics at Oxford or perhaps Psycholinguistics at the University of Toronto or at Warwick, so I really enjoyed studying this WOK.
Until next time,