Can Language be compared with other human forms of symbolic representation, such as conventionalized gestures, sign language for the deaf, dance, painting, music or mathematics? What might language share with these other forms in the communication of what we know?
Anitha Sivakumaran 12H 16/09/12
TOK Homework: Can Language be compared with other human forms of symbolic representation, such as conventionalized gestures, sign language for the deaf, dance, painting, music or mathematics? What might language share with these other forms in the communication of what we know? In what ways might it be considered distinct?
Language can be compared with many other different human forms of symbolic representation. Language is a form of communication for everyone. One may be able to communicate with words, but you may also communicate using gestures, sign language, dance, music, art, or mathematics. Everything we can do based on our senses is a form of language. Language compared with other human forms of symbolic representation always depends on the interpretation of the communicator and the audience. Even though the audience may not be able to listen and understand what a person may say, they can watch the movements they make with their body and the emotions they use to form a picture in their mind as to what the person might be trying to communicate. Languages should not bind our thoughts and prevent us from communicating with people, we need to "think outside the box" and use new ideas to communicate with others. Gestures, sign language for the deaf, dance, art, music, and mathematics may not be all forms of language that one person may be familiar with, but it can be a lot more useful to use these conventional forms of language than the language we use to speak. First of all, gestures, sign language, and even mathematics are like language, because they involve transmitting information. Dance, painting, and music reflect language as they can be used to demonstrate feelings. Secondly, it takes a lot of effort to learn a new language, just like learning sign language or mathematics or violin. In both language and all these other methods of communication, one must practice a lot, do lots of exercises, and develop other skills to master them.
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When you see the facial expressions that anyone makes, you automatically know how they might be feeling, you may not understand what they are trying to say, but you have an idea of how they wish to express it. Each one of these facial expressions are universal, they show how someone may be feeling and then give us an idea into what language they wish to communicate with us. When someone looks angry, they may want to yell and throw up their hands in frustration. Although we cannot hear them we know what they want to say. Mathematics is also a form of language that helps colleagues from different parts of the world, form ideas and understand what the other is trying to say. They can communicate through the numbers and variables, they are able to comprehend everything they see and help people understand one another
In gestures, we also use language when we do signals, for example, when we meet someone in the mall while we hang out, so we often wave a hand at them to give the signal that we are here. In dance, we use language but in the different ways. For example, when we see a drama musical in the theatre, we can see their language from their movement in the dance. In painting, most of artists use their language but also emotion. Some of their drawings depend on their moods. For example, when they are angry they use colours that show scariness, and anger, such as red and black. They do that to make the audience understand the meaning of their art piece. In music, it’s easier for people to understand the tone of it. For example, most of the slow rhythms in music reinforce the hidden feeling of sadness.
On the other hand, language is universal and everyone can use it to express themselves. Even though we speak different languages, every human being knows and uses at least one. Alternatively, not everyone can communicate through sign language, paint, or dance. Secondly, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are much more valuable than musical, artistic, or even mathematical skills. They are necessary for connecting with other people. Thirdly, language is precise. When someone says a word, others who know this word know exactly what that person is talking about. In contrast, using music as an example, two people might react differently to a song they’re listening to.