TOK Final Internal Assessment Presentation: How do we define language?

TOK–Presentation Plan

Candidate Name: Stephanie

Title of Presentation: The Definition of Language

Date: 5/6/14


Describe your real life situation:

I’ve always been fascinated by animals and their ability to communicate within and outside of a species without having a complex language. It was especially during environmental science class that I began to ponder the subject of animal communication after watching a documentary about captive Orcas. In the movie Blackfish, it was said that Orcas actually have a part of their brain that allows them to experience emotion and bonding on a level much deeper than humans can. If that is so, then shouldn’t it make sense for Orcas to also have some form of language since they’re intelligent enough to comprehend and manipulate many kinds of situations as a team?

State your central knowledge question (this must be expressed as a question):

How do we define language?

Explain the connection between your real life situation and your knowledge question:

In comparison to humans, animals rely on a different way of “perception” to communicate messages, while we verbally express ourselves through our language.  However, there are some species that communicate through sounds (such as cetaceans), which could be very basic forms of a language that we are unable to decode at the moment.

Outline how you intend to develop your presentation, with respect to

a. perspectives

            – Differences between communicating and language

                        – Communicating= basic universal emotions,  sounds, basically anything with touch, conveys a general message

                        – Language = very specific meanings, abstract things/ideas can be expressed, has several different meanings

            -Animals using a language

                        – Possibility?

                        – Wishful thinking?

b. subsidiary knowledge question

                        – What’s the difference between communicating and language?

                        – Does training an animal how to convey abstract concepts counted as “utilizing a language?”

c. arguments, etc.

            – Animals: Communicating through what they’ve been trained or actually realizing what they’re saying through the taught language?


Responses below can be presented in continuous prose, bullet point, or diagrammatic form.

Show how your conclusions have significance for your real life situation and beyond:

  • Shows how much more complex animals are than we give them credit for.
  • To give insight to different animals that utilize languages in the wild to widen people’s perspective.  
  • Demonstrates how intelligent animals are and how they are capable of understanding abstract concepts, which could inspire others to look further into the “animal intelligence” topic.



3 thoughts on “TOK Final Internal Assessment Presentation: How do we define language?

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your feedback. I’m glad it was able to help you. 🙂 I got full marks on my presentation. My script was pretty elaborate, so seeing the plan and the prezi along really leaves some stuff out. 😛

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