Tag Archives: language

Japanese V.S. American Body Language (Stop Motion Video)

In order to investigate the differences between the languages from different cultures, I created a stop motion video based on the gestures most commonly used by the people of that country. The depiction of language varies greatly on the culture, and it’s interesting to see how these differences.

Big thanks to my mom who graciously accepted the daunting task of being in this video.


Thoughts on Language

“Language was the real innovation in our biological evolution; everything since has just made our words travel faster or last longer” – Steven Pinker

One of the main factors that make us so different from animals is our use of language. Our unique ways of communication allows us to interact with other human beings on a level completely different from most organisms. Most animals (as far as we know) communicate through sounds, facial expressions, and other biological signals to convey a general message. The fact that we can eloquently communicate our ideas effectively is how we have become so successful in advancing our civilization.  Without language, ideas would not have spread as quickly, as far, or last as long as it does now. A concrete language has allowed faraway populations to unite with a common idea in mind. It’s quite amazing.

EMOTION: Does the way you describe something affect how you feel about it? What is the power of language? What roles do context, emotion, selection, emphasis, and word choice play in language?

Even if two words mean the same thing, they may have different connotations based on the sound or the way it’s used in popular language. Language is so strange in the fact that it’s constantly shifting and has basic concrete terms that can be used with other words to create a completely different meaning; for example, the oxymoron: “beautiful disaster. Personally, the connotation of beauty is something graceful, light (sometimes white), and/or something intricate/simplistic, while the connotation of disaster is something destructive, violent, black, and associated with grief and pain. The effect of these two words mashed together lightens the term, and gives a new meaning to the word “disaster.”

5. To what extent is your use of languages accompanied by images? Does every word conjur up an image or only some of them?

The main types of words that conjur up images in my mind are nouns and specific adjectives that describe how something physically feels or looks. On the other hand, abstract terms, verbs, emotions, and anything that isn’t concrete have no associated image.

8. Many jokes are based on ambuguity…can you give an example?

How do you make a turtle fast?
Take away his food.

10. Birds fly and planes fly. Since fish swim, why don’t we say that submarines also swim? What do submarines do? (propel)

I guess the reason why the verb “fly” can be applied to “planes” in the same manner it’s used for “birds” is because of the structure of the plane is similar to a bird’s when it’s flying: “wings” outstretched. It’s also interesting how the term “wings” is the same. Perhaps planes have a closer resemblance to birds than submarines do to fish. Submarines don’t “swim” through the water like fish do; rather they “propel” through it using a “propeller” from the back. When I think of swimming, I imagine fish or people using their fins or arms in a very active motion to get through the water. But with submarines, they’re not animate at all as they move through the water in a straight line. It’s clear that the motion of “propelling” is very mechanical, while “swimming” is mainly used for living things.   

11. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of everyone in the world spoke a common language? What would be gained and what would be lost?

If everyone in the world spoke a common language, it would be quite convenient for political affairs and businesses as there would not be any more worry of an “error in translation.” Social interactions would be much more interesting too as we could communicate effectively with people from all around the world. But then again, what good would that be when cultures would be lost as a result of this? Diverse language is a big component in culture as it is evidence of how the people from that specific area developed over time. Some cultures have vocabulary words for objects or ideas that aren’t even relevant in any other culture, so this change would definitely have a negative impact since these words would have to be erased in the “common language” if deemed irrelevant to the rest of the world.

15. Take 2 advertising slogans of your choice and explain why you think they are effective (or not)

“Just Do It” is an effective slogan by the sports company, Nike, since it tunes into the inner conscience that tries to motivate you to be more physically active.

The Mcdonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” slogan utilizes a similar method by tuning into the ideal person’s thoughts when they eat food from this restaurant ( Mcdonald’s fries and strawberry milkshakes are unfortunately a guilty pleasure of mine). It forms a preconceived notion of the quality of food served and may subconsciously — through the power of suggestion– influence the customer to like the food more.

19. Do you agree with the old rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”?

As trivial as name-calling may seem, it still has quite a long lasting effect that could be equally as impactful (or exceedingly) as physical pain. One’s mental health is just as vital as their physical health, and is unfortunately, not looked over often enough when it comes to bullying. It’s very easy to get hurt and form insecurities from the insults and nasty words spewed by bullies, regardless if it’s in person or online. This is especially so when these words bring attention to physical attributes that someone may already feel unconfident about. These words begin to haunt the victim and, in severe cases, drive them to the edge. No type of harassment, whether it’s physical or verbal, should be deemed as “minor “ comparatively, as they all have an equally dangerous potential to ruin lives.

Ayualoha Remash Project: 9 Photo Poetry


It’s amazing how easily technology  can connect people from thousands of miles away. My teacher, Mrs. Burvall, teamed up with another Theory of Knowledge teacher in Maine to create this visual language project.

My task was to find 9 photos on Google with a common idea in mind and create a poem. A student from Maine would then create a poem from my pictures as well so that in the end, we can compare our perception of the photos based on the language used. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

EDIT: 4/28/14

9 Photo Poetry Continued:

I’m so impressed with Macee Qi’s interpretation of my 3×3 photo! Here is her poem:

She looks out among the city lights,

Sprinkles of life going about their normal routine,

A kiss there, a new life here, a reunion over there. 

But as she stands behind the glass —

The separation, the barrier that holds her back,

Everything comes into focus.


The bright lights seem to fade in the distance

As the lens uncover a city of solitary.

The once radiant lights become glaring,

Slowly enveloped by the shadowy gloom

That stretches up and over, becoming unreachable.


But beyond the darkness, 

Deep behind the soulless monsters,

The sinister branches, and eerie paths,

There lies hope.


A land of unimaginable love.

Where time stops and wishes are granted,

A place that welcomes everyone and everything,

A place that defies loneliness.

Here is my poem interpretation of the pictures:

Lead By Light

With a sunken heart and wet eyes,

I silently gaze among the city lights,

The happiness I witness everywhere,

Contrast my heavy, looming despair,

Among the streets I decide to stroll,

Wishing I could be consoled.

Together the blurs of color tango,

And the world around me seems to slow,

Twilight swiftly descends on the land,

As my feet lead way to an unknown path,

I gaze up at the vastness of the galaxy,

Silently admiring its delicately faint, twinkling beauty,

I roam deep through the forest, where monsters tend to prowl,

When suddenly, behind me I hear chilling growls,

In that moment, I snap out of my blissful dream,

Instinctively running as fast and as far as my feet can take me,

Despite my speed, the beasts chase, rapidly approaching,

 And through the pumping of my heart, I feel that death by fear I am encroaching,

I swiftly move through tangles of branches and bushes of leaves,

Anything I can to escape these soulless beasts.

But when I break through a barricade of vines,

Silence is, once again, instilled in the night,

I look around to wonder where they have gone,

But instead realize that this was no ordinary place I stumbled upon,

The once faint galaxy now shines like a thousand suns,

Each star being uniquely bright as every other one,

The lake shimmers with petals of moonbeam,

And like a disco ball, on the forest, the liquid silver gleamed,

Caressing my ears, the wind gently whispers a song,

With words I’ve been meaning to hear all along.

Tears begin streaming down my face,

As I truly take in the serenity of this magical place.

Here is my remash of our two poems:

Land of Love

With a sunken heart and wet eyes,

She looks out on the city lights,

The happiness she witnesses everywhere,

A kiss there, a new life here, a reunion over there,

Contrast her heavy, looming despair,

But as she stands behind the glass,

The separation, the barrier that holds her back,

Everything comes into focus.

Among the streets she decides to stroll

Wishing she could be consoled.

The bright lights seem to fade in the distance,

And together, the blurs of color tango,

Slowly enveloped by the shadowy gloom,

Twilight swiftly descends on the land,

As her feet lead way to an unknown path,

She gazes up at the vastness of the galaxy,

That stretches up and over, becoming unreachable,

an elusive, delicately faint, twinkling beauty.

But through the tangles of branches and bushes of leaves,

The barricade of vines,

Beyond the darkness,

Where silence is infused in the night,

Deep behind the soulless monsters,

The sinister branches and eerie paths,

The once faint galaxy now shines like a thousand suns,

Each star being uniquely bright as every other one,

There lies hope.

A lake that shimmers with petals of moonbeam.

On the forest, this liquid silver gleams,

A land of unimaginable love,

Where the wind whispers a gentle song,

Of words that needed to be heard all along.

Where wishes are granted and time stops,

A place that welcomes everyone and everything,

A place that defies loneliness.


Annette's 3x3VisualPoem

The student’s photo I chose to interpret was Annette Sherrod’s and can be found in the following link:

9 Photo Poetry:  http://thebooknookofnooks.blogspot.com/2014/04/3×3-visual-poem.html

As soon as I saw her beautiful hand-drawn picture, I knew I wanted to write a poem for it. It was a bit challenging coming up with ideas at first since I didn’t know where to start, but once I got the general idea down, words easily began to flow. Although, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written a poem, and I’m generally not very good at it, so I’m aware it needs lots of work. Haha! Anyways, enjoy!


The Breath of Time

How clear it is, that the stones hold the breath of time,

From untouched remnants of the ancients,

Oblivious to adjacent civilizations,

Under the glittering, ebony black sky,

It was an era of selfish rule,

Chiefs and leaders; kings and queens,

Fawned over with slavish piety,

By the ones referred to as ‘tools,’

Nevertheless, they flourished for a while,

Despite the imbalances they faced,

Their ancestors’ paths that they traced,

Prevented a shift from the traditional lifestyle,

How clear it is, that the days went dim,

When the people at last spoke up,

Against the rulers so unjust,

And their blissful ignorance kicked in,

Feigned loyalty, corruption, and lies,

They failed to take the blame,

And right then, the people’s beliefs burst down in flames,

Of which their city was comprised,

Crumbled before their very eyes,

Were the castle walls they once viewed impenetrable.

“True defeat comes from within,” was what they realized

And that this path of destruction, inevitable,

How clear it is, that witness to their crimes,

Was an entity who watched from above,

And with living things, he silently and gradually disposed of,

He, who can only be known as Father Time,

He gathers dirt to collect on the ruins,

With a breath that he blew with the intent,

To sweep away the resonance of the suppressed,

And bury the ravaged past, only caused by humans,

Eternally, the fallen have chosen to rest,

Buried in the soft, forgiving earth,

Underneath their forfeited native turf,

Which they were so abruptly dispossessed,

Their bodies, now merely degraded to bone,

While their souls have already traveled,

To parallel universes where their new lives have unraveled,

And what’s left of them gaze beneath the stars amongst the stone.