• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Man Is the animal that speaks, Understanding language is thus the key to understanding man

Extracts from this document...


?Man is the animal that speaks. Understanding language is thus the key to understanding man.? ? Thomas Szasz. The well known psychiatrist and intellectual Thomas Szasz stated that ?Man is the animal that speaks. Understanding language is thus the key to understanding man.? This quote uproots some important knowledge issues about language, words and the keys to understanding humans that surely need to be analysed in order to figure out to what extent we agree with Szasz and to what extent this is the reality of things. Furthermore, language is used by people in order to communicate with each other, whether it is through verbal ones such as English or non-verbal ones such as brail and sign language. In addition to this, it is important to notice that the two examples of communication given are very different as brail or sign language do not involve any sound but use the senses such as touch and sight. Nonetheless, these languages still allow people to communicate effectively, like verbal communicators, and allow people to convey messages. Equally, it is vital to realise what big assumptions and generalisations are made about language, one of which is that spoken language is the most effective form of communication. ...read more.


This is because through language we can account stories that can then become novels and we can extend our imagination by reading non-fiction which allows us to conjure up new images and enjoy the text more because of its imaginative journey along the way. Also, coming back to Szasz?s quote about man, it is clear to see that he has left out the other types of language which also communicate with man, languages such as art or music. Though they may not be very precise, they still manage to convey a lot of information and as it is said in art, a picture paints a thousand words. Another knowledge issue that arises from Thomas Szasz?s quote is ?To what extent do words help us understand language?? Words play an important part in helping us understand language as we mostly read, write speak and listen when it comes to use of language. It is also clear that through words, we create sentences and through sentences we communicate large amounts of information to the other party. For example, if there is a floor sign that says the word ?dangerous?, it does not convey much on its own, but when it is put together in a sentence such as ?this area of flooring is dangerous? it makes a lot more sense as we now know where there is danger and have understood the message being conveyed. ...read more.


However, leaving behind the imperfections of language as a key to understanding man, a point to appreciate is that spoken language is only limited to human beings and is not available to other animals. Therefore we must not take verbal communication for granted as we don?t always see its importance because of how naturally we incorporate it into our everyday lives. In addition to this, a common assumption linked with this knowledge issue is that verbal language is the first and last way of understanding man. This is not the case as verbal communication solely on its own cannot accomplish nearly as much as what other forms of communication combined with it can. All in all, the quote by Thomas Szasz appears to be true, but only to some extent. This is so because it is important to realise that though language may play a big part in understanding man, it is not the only way to understand him and that other forms of communication can sometimes prove to be more valuable. Thus, it is now evident that language, words and understanding are vital in order to communicate with people and that sometimes other forms such as body language and art have the ability to convey more of a message than our words could ever manage. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. TOK summer assignment - Art Questions. Experiencing art, artists reputations and "what is ...

    He appears to be drunk, shown by the bottle. The bottle of alcohol being in his head can be interpreted as him being controlled by the bottle; he is pretty much depressed at his possible alcohol addiction. This piece of art may be a representative of what problems with alcohol the society may have had.

  2. Language defining difficult, language and translation and language has influenced of geography.

    In a conversation with our parents, when we say with our parent "What's up, mom?", it could show a disrespectful to our parents because the word "What's up" is slang and only use for the young generation.

  1. The Effect of Communication

    Because of our different backgrounds and influences, our ethical judgments are also completely different. Even though I speak the same language as Sarah Palin, I will never fully understand her. A conversation with Sarah Palin for many people would be a debate or an argument, therefore communicating with someone with

  2. TOK - French Headscarf Ban - This law has not only affected faiths within ...

    But how does this relate to our Real World Issue? Well, how people perceive things contributes to their overall understanding of the issue. In fact, there is a school of thought, empiricism, which believes that all knowledge is ultimately based on perceptual experience.

  1. Are the WOKS controlled by language?

    Could it be that if we don't think in language our thinking would be more powerful or effective? In short, our problems with language in relation to knowledge is: are there more things, properties, feelings, ideas or concepts than what we can have expressed with nouns, verbs, adjectives?

  2. Whats going on in Gaza?

    A genie comes out and offers her one wish, anything she wants. She says "I wish I can find a man that doesn't lie, cheat, drink, play mind games, is a good family man, works hard, and knows the value of a woman!"

  1. TOK How do these considerations (of age, identity) play a role in convictions? Are ...

    arson and it was an accident fire caused by the heater or fault electrical wiring. In much the same way historians reconstruct the past using evidence such as relics and written documents. Compare and contrast Vasquez and Hurst's techniques, practices and processes.

  2. How does the way we express ourselves influences our understanding of others

    The expression of us can be usually subconsciously found in our feelings. Feelings are expression of our emotional state. Hence, we express ourselves through our inside emotional state. What does our emotional state depends on? As I see it, it depends on connection between outside world and us.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work