Does your language shape how you think?

This essay, “Lost in Translation” is about an argument that does language affects the way people think or not. When Mr. Macknight asked me about my opinion of Lera Boroditsky’s idea, I couldn’t notice any difference of the way I think when I’m speaking in Chinese, Korean or English. However, after I finish reading this essay, I could realize the differences and how the language shapes my way of thinking. Additionally, from his essay, I learnt that learning a new language also means learning and belonging the part of its culture.

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Reflection on Podcast “Behaving So Strangely”

It I were to be honest, I should say that I don’t remember a whole lot from the podcast. In fact, I don’t remember anything, EXCEPT THAT ONE LINE OF MUSIC/PHRASE/WHATEVER ONE MIGHT CALL IT. It’s black magic. No it’s not. It is just a repeated phrase played on a loop, which sounds like a music after a while. I began thinking about why the rhythm is stuck in my head throughout the whole podcast, and that why is it when I listen to the whole sentence, including that specific phrase, I can still hear that rhythm. I started to think about the times when I have something played on a loop accidentally too, and it also sounded like a tune after several repeats. I think the logical explanation to this would be because after several loops, our brain begins to not focus on what is being said, but instead focusing on what we normally don’t identify when we are hearing other people speaking: tone. After several repeats, the actually dialogue or speech does not stand out anymore, but the tone however, does. Since we normally don’t pay attention to the tone, it will be very obvious to identify if our brain ignores the content of the speech, but just focuses on the sound. After the tone of the speech is identified, the brain will now register it to the speech every time we hear it, no matter if it’s in a whole paragraph, a sentence, or just by itself, the tone is already registered to the phrase, like a lock and a key.

I think this goes to show that languages do indeed have different tones and are essentially a form of music, just music that we don’t usually recognize. The difference in pitches are usually quite subtle and random too, so it would be hard for our brains to recognize the pitches and rhythms in the first attempt. But in a situation presented like the podcast, the brain will get several chances to hear the same thing over and over again, and given that amount of time, the slightly different pitches will be heard, and some how exaggerated. The reason I say exaggerated, is because we will now hear that phrase, like its a part of a song with huge shifts in pitches, but in reality it would only be a slight variation. However due to the fact that the pitches are recognized, there is nothing that we can do to forget about it. Very weird.

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Reflection on Deutscher Article

Upon reading Deutscher’s “Does your language shape how you think” article, I found some points to be particularly interesting. To start off, he pointed out some fatal flaws in Whorf’s assumption of language limiting people’s ways of thinking, and directed our thoughts to how language helps people to understand certain things better. I like this line “Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” This is a quote from Roman Jakobson. The reason why I found this so interesting is because it is very true. For example, in English, “cousin” is the only word needed for describing a relative of ourselves, but in Chinese, there are more specific names, and if it were to be translated into English, it would be “Cousin that is a younger female”, or “Cousin that is an older male” and so on. I hadn’t given it much thought before, but now that I read this essay, it suddenly struck me as a reason why I found it so incredibly difficult when I wanted to explain an event that included a certain cousin of mine, to a person who doesn’t speak Chinese. I want to specify his/her gender and her age, but in English I simply couldn’t do that.

Another interesting point Deutscher made was how Guugu Yimithirr people are still able to understand the same directions as us, even though they don’t use the terms “left” or “right”. It is a remote Australian aboriginal tongue, and the people who speak it do not understand the concept of left or right, but can point very precisely every time where North or South or East or West is. One person was even spun around a number of times as an experiment, and can still accurately point out where North is.

This goes to show that the Mother Tongue of a person does not limit his ways of thinking. Instead, people can use different languages, and still manage to communicate because although one language might not have a specific word or phrase, it must have something else to replace that phrase which would ultimately mean the same thing to both groups.

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‘Dreaming in Chinese’ and ‘The Bilingual Advantage’

Two texts were talking about how nice to be bilingual.  The most remarkable issue was that bilingualism helps forestall the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is one of the worst diseases that human can get, because it removes valuable memories. Time I had fun with friends and family and time I want to go back will be eliminated from my brain; it is scary. I firmly believe bilingualism would slow down dementia and this is little hope for human who detest getting Alzheimer’s disease.

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Does Different Languages affect Our Musical Ability

As stated in the video recording, being influence by languages like Chinese has a direct correlation with perfect pitch. To an extent there is, however, our personailty plays apart to our musical ability. If our personality was a more joyful type or more attentive to detail, this would help towards achieving a perfect pitch. Though, it is a low percentage of people who would have such an ability, the traits would certainly allow you to build toward such talent. But does language really affect our talent or is it genetics. Many have already said that even though your parents could be the best at a certain talent, there is no definitive proof that a trait like Perfect pitch cannot be transfer. Arabic compared to Chinese the languages are different and the pitch is also different. However, can both posses a talent of perfect pitch? It is possible because scientist have said that we truly learn the most during our ages 6-12 and because of this our culture allows us to have such talent. We could have been born into a culture of music, we could learn of different sounds and be associated with musical notes in which it would build up perfect pitch. Everyday we are listening to some form of music and this provides the baseline which musical talent is taken from. Which is why language though having multiple tones would not be a factor only a way of expressing. English and Chinese would be similar because both have tones and it is based off how we say the word. In English our emotion is expressed, while Chinese separate words have different emotional means. This is why although language may have different tones, we do not recognize the sound because a talent but because we are associated with it.

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Lost in translation-Does your language shape you?

While reading this article, I kept on questioning whether language really shapes us or not. Then, I found the word “shape” too vague. It could be referred as shaping person’s personality or physical features, but it wasn’t clearly mentioned. Nonetheless, even if the word “shape” is clarified, language still doesn’t shape people. For example, many people think that Chinese people are rude because of their language. This can be thought because when Chinese people speak their language, they pronounce it harsh and aggressively. Yet, there are many Chinese people who speak their language softly, so not all of the Chinese people are rude. As there aren’t any scientific results which prove that language shapes people, it is hard to say if it’s true or not. In conclusion, I somewhat agree to this article but I still believe that language doesn’t shape people because language’s affects are all different from people to people.

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First Impression to TOK

If anyone asks me what makes IB course unique from any other learning courses I have experienced so far, I would definitely reply with TOK. Theory of Knowledge class, or TOK for short is something I have heard often during my IGCSE years, yet still have no idea what the lesson is about. However, one thing that all the rumors have in common is that they all says TOK is about questioning knowledge. Thus when I stepped into my first TOK class in my IB year, I thought I already knew what the session is about.

It turns out that I am dead wrong.

I realized I was being foolish to think I can understand TOK with such an vague explanation after my first lesson. Cause merely mindlessly question knowledge is not enough for TOK, questioning is just the first step. TOK brings us looking at how perceptive, culture, language and much more influences our understanding of knowledge, creating much more space for even more viewpoints to what we thought we knew.

Currently I am still unable to create a definite explanation to what TOK class is, and I may finish IB without achieving so. But that is only because TOK constantly stimulate us to question what we already believed. To quote from our first TOK lesson: “We know nothing.” Thus there is no such thing as a conclusion we can settle in, there is always more knowledge that we just have not yet thought of.

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What is language?

Language is a tool for communication, it is a way to connect with people around you, it can be written or/and spoken, it can also be physical (body language) and/or visual (images). Language is also a way to convey your ideas and emotions, to make people around you feel what you feel and know what you know.

In addition, language is used to illustrate and sometimes define culture. For different cultures have different sounds, grammar and words. Some may have more emotions and some may have more technical languages. Each one is unique and has different purposes, such as French is the language of love, making them a defining feature of culture.

Language is a crucial part of our everyday lives, without it our basic everyday actions would become more complicated and harder.

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Does your language shape how you think?


I agree with Boroditsky’s idea of language shape us. I certainly experience this  when learning English newly as second language. Different type of tense used in English grammar makes me consider novel things that I haven’t care when using Korean. After finish reading this argument, I wonder why and how I think the way I do which Korean has differed. Additionally, I become interested in studying new languages as well as new type of cognition and discover the things which is not uncovered yet because of not using that language.

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My first Impression of TOK

Before the TOK classes, I didn’t know anything about it. I just got the idea of what it stands for from the time table, but I didn’t know what are we going to do in that class. However, after the classes that introducing TOK, I had more ideas about it. From the first lessons of TOK classes, I learnt that I have to keep asking questions about everything, and think about it as much as I can. Also, I felt that TOK class will be so helpful in the further future, not only in the IB Course.

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My First Impression of Tok

My first impression of TOK is that it has a really complex idea and it seems like it has something to do with philosophy. Taking Tok classes makes us wonder about things or questions that people don’t think about. When we are taught by our teachers or adults something we usually think that everything we are taught is the truth; however, listening to Tok classes makes us question about all the knowledges we were taught. Because we are so used to not questioning what we are taught, it was a really difficult and complex concept to me. I’m still not sure yet, but thte first lesson gave me a rough idca of what Tok lessons are going to be about and it’s really important to us. Now I think I kind of know the importance of learning TOK.


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Does your language shape how you think?_HJ

“Does your language shape how you think” by GUY DEUTSCHER was very interesting essay which was an essay that I never came across before. All this what can be regarded as a “dark secret” of language was rather mind-blowing. This essay talked about many things that we normally come across in our ordinary life, but never thought of. For example, “you might say: “after trafic lights, take the first left, then the second right.” You could also say: “afther the trafic lights, drive north, and then on the second crossing drive east”.

Using geographic directions doesn’t sounded right and I would have had a lot of diffculty telling a passenger how to go to their destinations if I was to use geographic directions other than egocentric coordinates. This clearly proved that the languages that I speak (Korean, English and Chinese which all uses egocentric coordinates) have shaped about how I think. But later, I realized that just not able to say it naturally doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the geographical directions. Adding on to this, I use geographic directions whenever I go to hiking. So I came to a conclusion that language can have a diminutive effect on shaping how I think, but it just all matters to the culture that I am part of. Since language is a part of a culture, fact that I am using a certain language means that I belong to that culture. It is not only a language that shape how I think, but it is several different parts of a culture that shapes how I think.

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does your language shape how you yhink?

Essay <Does your Language shape How you think> and <Lost in translation> discuessed about whether language can determine the way people think. Deutscher’s essay gives an example about Chinese. He claimed,because Chinese lacks concpet about ‘Tense’, so Chinese will not be able to understand the concept about time. However, this claim is not true. Chinese do understand the concept about time. Even the claim was wrong, I think language does shape how people think.

There are many examples to show how language can determine the way that people think. In <Lost in Translation>, there are four examples shown: Russian speakers, who have more words for light and dark blues, are better able to visually discriminate shades of blue. Thre Piraha, whose language eshcews number words in favor of terms like few and many, are not able to keep track of exact quantity.

Therse are the basic relationship between language and perception. However, I think language is more deeply connected to unconsciousness. In Koream there is an intrinsic sentiment of Korean called ‘Jung’ and ‘Han’. These words can written in chinese, ‘情‘ and ‘狠‘. It means emotion and hatred. However, in Korea it is interpreted as a totally different matter. These words are mixed into Korean culture and way that Koreans interpret things.

Some examples that show how language affect how people think can be interpreted easily. However, some are oblivious. It is just connected to out unconsciousness. People from different nations will interpret things in different ways. Therefore, people with different languages will have different characteristics and ideology.

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‘Lost in Translation’, How does our language shape us?

Our languages shape us as how we think. We can figure out this, by differences between each language. The essay, ‘Lost in Translation’ says, in English, we have to mark the verb for tense but in Indonesian we don’t need to change the verb for tense. Also, in Russian, they have to mark tense and change the verb for gender. By these examples, firstly, we can recognise that a native speaker of English put focus on tense. It can also mean that their way of thinking put important on time and tense. English men are more shaped for tense in their life than Indonesian, who doesn’t care about tenses. Also in Russia, they are shaped as put emphasis on gender. By these examples in the essay, I could get ways of thinking for each country.

My own experiences of shape of languages can apply to Korean. In Korean, we have to use different verb for ages. For example, we use the honorific type of language to elder people or teachers and for younger people or friends we talk roughly. In English, they generally talk down and they only have some words for polite form. However, in Korean, we have all words in honorific types. As Korea is the country of courteous people we can get this idea from Korea language.

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Lost in translation, does language shape the way we think?

In the essay “Lost in translation”, Boroditsky uses Pormpuraaw, a remote aboriginal community In Australia, to explain how our language shapes our way of thinking. In Pormpuraaw, absolute cardinals are used instead of right and left to describe directions. Also, a common way of greeting somebody is “Where are you going?”, where an appropriate answer would be for example  “A long way to the south-southwest”. Because of this, you would barely be able to greet someone in this community without knowing cardinal directions. While Boroditsky claims this as an example of how language effects our way of thinking, I personally think it is more an example of how our culture , and not language, effects our way of thinking. I believe that there would be a possible way of saying “Hello, how are you?” in Pormpuraaw, but of the same reason as we don’t greet somebody by asking for where they are going in english speaking countries, “How are you?”  is not a question they use in this aboriginal community.

I can make up my own example of this by using the differences between english and swedish, which is my first language. In Sweden we don’t  normally say “How are you?” to somebody we randomly run into because it’s not in our culture to greet anybody with more than a simple “Hello”. This does not mean that it isn’t possible to translate “How are you ?” into swedish, but if you would, you would expect the person to answer honestly instead of the english way of always saying something like “Fine thanks, and you?”

This proves, once again, that you can’t be a part of somebody’s culture just by speaking the language. To actually become a part of the culture you would need to live in the country and learn the correct usage of the language in order to fully understand its rules and regulations.


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Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

Language does not affect our ways of thoughts because the two are completely different. Guy Deutscher states that our mother tongue would influence our way of thinking, and he provides examples e.g. spanish and german to promote his idea. However, these are minor details when it comes to influencing our thought process. Our thought process is completely judged and influence purely by our culture and our history. For example, Asians have a tendency to want for more,  hoping for excellence, which is why asians parents send there kids to multiple lessons. Our language does not affect this, this is traced back to our roots when Asia was not known for rich, instead it was a place of poverty and the only way to advance further was knowledge. Scientist have also said that a history of abuse can lead the victim to a darker path. Does language affect this, does it influence children to become murderers? Language has no effect in our thought process, even though Guy may argue that masculine, feminine and time may prove to counter my point. Though it changes the amount of information gained from such conversation would it alter our thought process. We would continue the conversation as if the subject has already been address. Even though, some may argue that by knowing a gender or time the following conversation may change, however, even in english where it is unknown Person X is going to ask the question of gender and time. Language does not affect our thought process, instead it is only a way of displaying our thoughts in a way for people to interpret.

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‘Does your language shape how you think?’ – Guy Deutscher

Does my language shape how I think? In my opinion, yes, it does. According to Deutscher, the ‘Australian aboriginal tongue, Guugu Yimithirr, from north Queensland’ uses geographic coordinate, which is very unusual in many other languages. Using ‘north, south, west, east’ can be more convenient and natural to some people. A language builds up a habit of thinking in specific way. This might be affected by culture and expression that a language has. This habit also appears in everyday life thinking. The language will oblige a person to pay more attention on something that is important while speaking and thinking in that language. Therefore, it is true that a language shapes our thinking.

I can speak 3 languages, Korean as first language, English as second language and Chinese as a third foreign language. Unlike when I am speaking Chinese, I think in English while I am speaking English even my mother tongue is Korean. This means a lot to me because as I think in English I think in different way. It is difficult to explain, indeed. However, I believe that it is because language shapes my thought. Two different languages, Korean and English, definitely have different culture and perspective toward same object or event. Hence, various language shapes dissimilar thoughts.

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My First Impressions of ToK

When I first glanced at the lessons on my timetable, I was immediately drawn towards the 3 words “Theory of Knowledge”. Not only was it the longest class name I had ever encountered before, but also the name itself provoked many questions. What is the theory of knowledge? Is this the endgame, the final class where every issue is answered?  Certainly, there just cannot be only one way in which every person thinks. How little I knew.

The first four lessons of TOK were completely different from what I had imagined them to be like. For one, it made everything I had previously thought impeccable seem invalid and theoretical. I had entered the classroom knowing that I knew, but left believing that I did not. In other words, TOK seemed a tad too ‘avant-garde’ for me.

The discussion on Chinese Medicine versus Western Medicine was certainly informative, as it showed that certain individuals prefer one technique to another. Also, details within the two types of medicine increased my background knowledge, my case in point being the fact that I always thought acupuncture was a myth, and not effective at all. The Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing are exceedingly helpful, as they categorize the different means of knowing in a comprehensible way. Overall, TOK comes across as a fluid and intangible lesson, ever-changing and omniscient. This class seems to encompass everything, and without a doubt, it almost certainly does.

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My First Impression of TOK

My first impression of TOK is that it reminds me of a philosophy course. In that we question things that we normally wouldn’t even think about. I find some of the discussion very interesting and engaging. I think the first lessons of TOK really helped me understand just what exactly we will be going over in this class for the next two years. It also made me appreciate the value and importance of this class not only for the IB curriculum but also in life, in general.

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My first impression of TOK

I had the TOK lesson just as a newbie in the school. It was strange and fresh for me to think about ToK questions, which is different with other classes. It inquires about such as How can I say that something I believe is right. I also learned a lot from friends’  discussing about the cultures at the last lesson. I believe that through this kind of study I can improve my thinking ability with others. I anticipate the upcoming lessons.

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My first Impressions of TOK

TOK has been a very interesting lessons that has made me very openminded about different ideas in the world right now. The first four lessons have been useful because they have helped me understand what makes you acceptable in a culture and what the difference is between being knowledgeable is and having certain skills in certain areas. TOK also helps you to understand and accept different ideas. The TOK classes can be improved if we have more group tasks as this involves discussion between the groups and promotes discussion of different ideas that may be put forward by the different groups.


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Impressions of TOK & Comment

Before the first few TOK classes, I have no idea how profound TOK. The only thing I knew is that we need to ask questions, the more the better and then asking more questions on top of that. Rather, I thought this class is basically just asking weird questions, questions that cannot be solved.

However, after a few sessions in the sauna classroom, I have realized that it is much more than that. It is a part of the IB diploma that requires us to explore how the WOKs and AOKs, how the two bigger ideas overlap. Most of all, it is a chance for us to analyze and think about the world in which we live in, how different factors, backgrounds, and other factors can influence what we believe in.

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First Impression of TOK

When I first heard about TOK, I was still in year 10, and I wondered what TOK classes were going to be like. Is it going to be hard? What are we going to learn? Coming into the first class of TOK, I was expecting a long lecture about what knowledge is, and be given a big book about TOK to read or something. Previous to the class, I had no knowledge of what TOK is, not even remotely.

Then class started. To my surprise we didn’t get any thick books to start us off, we didn’t get long lectures on what TOK is. Instead, we experienced a small demonstration of how TOK relates to our lives. The demonstration included two people who have the same disease, same symptoms, but are seeking for different medical help. One is searching for Western Medicine, while the other seeks Traditional Chinese Medicine. What’s interesting about this example, is that I had run into a similar situation before. In yr 10 when I suffered a severe injury to my lower back, my family struggled to decide whether I should seek western or Chinese medication. In the end, we decided that I was going to both kinds of treatments. Much like the demonstration, I took x-rays when I received Western Medication, but got Acupuncture at the Chinese Medication.

It was hard for me to judge which one was more useful. The Western Medication stopped the pain, but essentially acupuncture and massage helped recover my body. My body was even healthier than before after the treatment ended. So this demonstration really spoke out to me, and opened up a new mindset for me: to question. Why can someone who knows nothing about either Western or Chinese Medicine have the ability to judge which treatment is better? To phrase it better, “what makes them come to conclusions and judgements?”

Overall the introductory classes to TOK were great, and I look forward to learning more about TOK, hopefully maturing my thinking along the way.

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My first impressions of TOK

What is TOK? Well, of course I knew it stands for Theory Of Knowledge, but I did not know what we are going to do in TOK. I’ve heard we will be questioning every knowledge we have. But still it was so vague that what is aim of TOK. I was not sure about every single thing. What specific knowledge will be questioned? At first I limited the area of TOK because it was easier for me to do that. Also, I worried about how to do well in TOK. After two weeks I realized  I was restricting my thought too much and TOK is looking for unlimited thinking. I am still not definite about TOK yet. However, I kind of understood advice from current y13 “be open-minded during TOK lesson”. I liked introductory lessons and it did really help me so that I could at least come up with this conclusion.

In my personal opinion, the 4th lesson helped me the most a. To be honest, conversations with peers confused me more, but I think this confusion encouraged me to think more and made me to have confidence in my own conclusion.

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First Impression of TOK_HJ

I was half afraid and half uncertain about TOK. After hearing from many of Korean year 12s and 13s last year, TOK sounded like a subject where you are likely to fail if you are not a philosopher. Right before I entered to my first TOK class, I was thinking of millions of things such as “what if it’s something that need a deep philosophical background knowledge?”. I got more confused as I get to know more aspects of TOK such as WOK.

For the first half of the class, I was bit bewildered. This was because not only we had no textbooks, nor make any notes, but also all we needed to do was just talk about what we taught about certain questions like “is Asian medical system better than western medical system?” However, these question made me to think deeply about my beliefs. I always thought western medical systems are better than Asian one because it is more scientific and it has spread widely through out the world. But I realized by the end of the class that being just scientific doesn’t simply mean that it is better. As this process continued and repeated, I began to notice how little and brief my knowledge was, which was a mind-blowing experience.

Now, I wait for next TOK classes. I want to know the truth about knowledge and what knowledge is really mean to us. I also like the fact that TOK is not like any other subjects in IB, but every subject has an aspect of TOK. I can’t wait to start a presentation or work on a topic which I can explore what a knowledge is for me and whether it is a true knowledge or not.

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My First Impressions of TOK

I was confused when I heard about TOK the first time. The concept of knowledge is already quite vague, and theory of knowledge didn’t make any sense to me. It also seems hard to test and grade students in TOK. I couldn’t figure out whether it’s some sort of humanity or more like philosophy. The idea of TOK was truly confusing at first sight.

The first few lessons were fascinating, nothing like any other lessons before. The idea of ‘we know nothing’ is surely shocking, but that lets us tview knowledge in a new perspective. TOK got us to doubt, question and think in a totally different way. Nothing is really taught in TOK, in fact, the lessons uses various ways to make people think hard.  I now understand that in TOK, what matters is getting us to think and get our own answer, and question it again. Influences our ways of thinking so that we can dig deeper into what we once considered as our knowledge.

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What is TOK? My first impression on TOK

Before the intoduction lessons, for me TOK looked so vague. During the introductionary lessons I learned that TOK is about perception, emotion, knowledge or just everything! However, on the other hand TOK’s basic concept was based on “we don’t know anything”. This concept and basic knowledge about TOK confused me.

I have deeply thought about what should I do to get good grades in TOK during introduction lessons. In the first lessin, I learned that what we know as a fact is not knowledge, which still doesn’t make sense to me. So we need skepticism for TOK? Should I be cynical and recognize everything as a lie? I still didn’t know what should I do for TOK.

In the second lesson, i began to recogzine some concept of TOK. Mr. Macknight told us story about Socrates. Socrates is a philosopher. He is thought to be the most wise man in the world but Socrates said he doesn’t know anything. From this story I realized learning is an ‘infinite’ element. Throughout my life I will have to keep studying in order to cope with society, even I am no longer a student. For me, TOK seems very valuable. I want to realize the real meaning of learning through TOK lessons.

From introductory lessons, I also realized I need criticism on my surroundings. I need to put questions on everything on my surroundings and conscious about issues around me. To to this, I will need lot’s of background knowledge and logic to express myself. There is no answer to TOK, it is realted to humanity and psychology.

I am still confused about what is TOK, but I will read and study in order to have better understanding.


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TOK! What’s That! (First Impression)

TOK or Theory of knowledge in its long form is part of the core of IB. The new Oxford American dictionary describes knowledge as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” Sounds like a pretty solid definition but what TOK for now has taught me is to question. We must question everything, is TOK teaching us to be cynical, doubtful who knows. But what my first impression is that TOK is going to be confusing and it is not going to be like a regular subject in which you can just memorise facts or formulas. TOK is something that really requires a lot of thinking. The story of Socrates really fascinated me, because I find philosophy very interesting yet TOK is the balance between philosophy and psychology. Its not one or the other its both. Socrates was considered the wisest man because he was the only one who admitted he knew nothing and then started to question everyone around him and see whether or not they knew something. Because when do we truly understand something. Numbers, alphabets, language its all made up, its all human creation. TOK like past students have said requires you to open your mind and go beyond the boundaries. We can’t just stay in the box but we have to question whether or not if there is a box in the first place. TOK is definitely going to be interesting and I’m definitely going to enjoy it.

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My First Impressions of TOK

My first impression of TOK was it was very different than any other subjects. We needed to think about questions that we thought we already knew. It seemed like there was no correct answer to the questions as long as we have a reason for our opinion.

The first 4 lessons were very useful, especially the first lesson when we talked about Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine, it really got me thinking. I now know the purpose of  learning TOK. However, I am confused about how are we being tested in TOK.

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First Impression of TOK

TOK requires a lot of concentration and deeper thoughts. Although, the course has just begun and only having 2 lessons a week, puts a hold on the amount of content we learn. However, these lessons has already set the pace. The difficult part of TOK is to think of questions and to look at all sides. Also, I’m still confused as to how the course progress. For example are we going to have a question/ topic that we are going to discuss as a group or are we going to be pick on the spot? But besides these small confusions, the course has been interesting.

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My first impression on TOK

My first impressions of TOK is that it requires a lot of thinking and that you always need to evaluate your question one step further than you would think.  Also, I think it is a bit abstract tho there is never really a correct answer but more questions instead.

The four first lessons were helpful to learn about the basics of TOK and what we would be learning. I would have liked  even more examples as the one with the eastern/western medicine to learn more exactly what are good questions to ask referring to different subjects, but I guess we’ll talk more about that later on in class.


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My First Impressions of TOK

Personally the lesson that made the most impression on me was when we were talking about the different culture, when we had a variety of teams. I leaned about different quirky aspects of a range of cultures, including my own. However, there are still many unclear features about TOK that I would like to know about, for example do we choose our own question or is it provided?

TOK made the impression that it would require a lot of brain power as well as trying to look at things from many different angles to get the full story. Furthermore to question EVERYTHING. That way we can dig deeper into the truth and knowledge.


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Advice for new TOK students

A major piece of advice I have for you before starting TOK is for you to be open-minded. When discussing a topic, you must consider all viewpoints and arguments, and don’t look down on anyone else’s views or comments. Another piece of advice is for you to be confident. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Even if you’re wrong, your comment may spark an idea for someone else.

For the essay and power-point, it is key for you to be interested and knowledgeable regarding the topic. If not, then you risk being un-interested when conducting research which may result in you not applying your greatest effort. Also, being interested in a topic will mean you have a background knowledge of it, making research easier.



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Advice for New TOK Students

Now, as a year 13 students, I wished I asked the previous year 13 students more questions about TOK.

First of all, I would encourage the students to involve in the conversations in class all the time. The conversation stimulate you to think more about the topic. Also, as you are discussing (or arguing) a point of view with your classmate or teacher, you are exploring the ideas or the angle of viewing a problem in the way you never really thought of. I think remain open-minded to any idea is the best way to prepare yourself for a TOK lesson. Then, from the ideas you heard, agree or disagree with them, you can add more thoughts on it.

During the first few lessons, the teacher might talk about the “Ways of Knowing”.
The “Ways of Knowing”, such as “emotion”, “language”, ” sense perceptions” and so on are essential elements for the TOK course. I strongly recommend the students who are new to this course to start to think from the Ways of Knowing as much as possible on the subjects they are doing. What I mean is TOK lesson is not restricted within the one hour TOK lesson you have each week. Whenever you come across something that intrigue you in any of your lessons, it will be a good idea to consider the questions or matter in the way you would in TOK class. It is a great way to train your TOK skill. On the other hand, I really think this helps me, personally, to become more open-minded. Because, I started to think in various angles for problems I had come across with last year.

After being able to think in the TOK style continuously, you can start the next stage. You should tidy a file on your computer or have a note book that’s specially prepared for you TOK lesson. When you found anything in class, news or any daily life that interests you, you should use your computer or notebook to note down the idea. When it comes the time when you need to do you TOK presentation which requires a real life situation, you will have a lot of materials to choose from.

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Introduction to Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)

TOK is about questioning the way we think. An example would be why do all of us have different opinions in the same situation? To answer this question, we got to first ask ourselves what is the difference between others and me? Why is it that the ways we think differ? These questions make us question about the way we think. This is only the start to TOK.

The main thing in TOK is to keep questioning about how we ‘know’ stuff. How do we know if what we learn is really correct? How do we even define correct? If something is correct, does it mean it is the truth? TOK is not a debate. There are no right or wrong answers. There is only the exploration of questions.

In TOK there are ways of knowing (WOK) and areas of knowledge (AOK). It is through WOK and AOK that we start to explore how one thinks. Let me ask you a question. Is stealing correct? Most of us will definitely agree that stealing is wrong. Let me now give you all a scenario.

There was once a man whose family has been starving for days. However, they have no money to buy any food. As such, he goes to the convenient store to steal a loaf of bread. With that stolen loaf of bread, he is now able to feed his wife and 3 kids.

We all know that stealing is wrong. However, does the scenario above justifies the act of stealing correct? If the man does not steal, then his family will die due to hunger. As such, does this then mean that stealing becomes correct? As said in my previous paragraph, TOK is not a debate. There is no right or wrong answer. In this case, the areas of knowledge is ethics. If the man knew that stealing is wrong, why then did he still stole that loaf of bread? The answer is simple and that is because he does not want his family to starve to death. As such, this way of thinking led the man to steal the loaf of bread. This is where ways of knowing comes into play. The ways of knowing in this case will be emotion. This is just a simple example of what you will be doing in TOK.

Ways of knowing (WOK) comprises of language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition and memory. On the other hand, areas of knowledge (AOK) comprises of, mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, history, the arts, ethics, religious knowledge systems and indigenous knowledge systems.

Last but not least, Have fun!!

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Advice for New TOK Students

In TOK there is no formula or method that is correct.

We can examine a topic through the ways of knowing (WOK)- emotion, language, reason, sense perception and area of knowledge (AOK) e.g history, math etc.

When exploring an issue, different points of view should be addressed even if they contradict each other and you do not agree with it.

The structure of the TOK presentation should be very clear otherwise the audience may not be able to follow.

State the knowledge issues explicitly in the presentation.

Make a concluding conclusion for the TOK presentation and essay instead of reiterating the arguments.

Try to participate in class discussions or al least listen to others opinions. You never know how these can change the way you think.

TOK is just as important as other subjects. Not only you might need the extra point, failing TOK may lead to the fail of the IB diploma.


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Introduction to TOK

TOK is an abbreviation for Theory of Knowledge. Well, it is really hard to say specifically what TOK really is so I would like to introduce some general stuff we learn in TOK.

First, TOK explores how different subjects approach knowledge in different ways. For instance, knowledge we learn from mathematics is followed by solid and rigorous proof. In art, it may not require us to prove how we feel but rather respect individual’s different feelings. That is why we should not approach art or literature as we do in mathematics and science. This does not only apply to mathematics and art but applies to other subjects as well. They all have different ways of approaching knowledge and we learn these different ways in TOK. This can be summarized as four ways of knowing: sense perception, language, emotion and reason.

Second, TOK explores characteristics of knowledge. For instance, as we all once have questioned, TOK questions whether absolute truth exists or not. We also discussed two types of knowledge, shared knowledge and individual knowledge. We also discussed credibility of knowledge; whether expert or authority figure’s opinion should be more respected or not.

Third, TOK attempts to destroy what we previously have known. Extending from questioning whether there is an absolute truth or not, we question what we already know in TOK. For instance, we have learnt from elementary school that sum of inner angle of triangle is 180 degrees. However, when we draw a triangle on a sphere, its sum is actually more than 180 degrees. Likewise, TOK breaks down poorly substantiated knowledge we previously had. It prevents us from passively, mindlessly accepting knowledge around us.

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advice for TOK

What is TOK (Theory of Knowledge)?

TOK is the process of thinking and evaluating about the ordinary problems and ideas we have daily. A student will be required to reflect critically and understand the importance of how the problems related to the uncertainty of the world. These can be things as simple as what is Science or what is art. Disagreement is common and it is always essential to have a different ways of knowing in an argument. This is because total agreement will not be easily reach; therefore, there is definitely no ideal answer or conclusion for a TOK question.

In TOK class, there are four major ways of knowing (WOK): sense perception, emotion, reason and language. These are the keys to formulate a TOK knowledge question at the beginning of the thinking process. Use these precisly as these are essential tools for a student.

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Introducing TOK

Theory of Knowledge is to understand our world through different perspectives. We constantly ask questions in this subject that relates to the philosophical aspect of our world. We want to know the definition of knowledge, yet there is no identical answer that classifies “knowledge”. Even when the word “knowledge” is used constantly in our daily lives, there isn’t a standardized answer.

Also, there is also the question of how we obtain our knowledge. There are two traditions that attempt to solve how we obtain knowledge: empiricism (our knowledge is based on experience) and rationalism (our knowledge is based on reason).

The ways of knowing (sense perception, emotion, reason and language) are the main pathways for us to collect information from our surroundings. This leads to the question of how our world is perceived. Our sensation and experience within our surroundings works both ways between the world and us. When we decide on what we believe in, we also need to analyze the evidence before making such a decision. This is because our belief in the matter will be consolidated with proof and therefore strengthening our belief.

Lastly, on the topic of knowledge and the knowing of what we know, there is also a question on the actuality of what we actually understand. In theory of knowledge, we need to ask ourselves whether we actually know anything, or even if knowledge exists.

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Short advice

TOK is like finding something new from something familiar. It makes it really important to look at something in a different point of view in TOK. When you do your TOK presentation or essay, you are asked to set a single real-life situation you are going to analyze through the whole presentation and essay. There’s no need to start searching from lengthy articles about something you are not even interested. TOK is all related to ‘thinking’, and you cannot keep thinking about stuff you feel boring. I also recommend you to have a look at those websites suggesting some useful tips for preparing essays and presentations (like the website Marion recommended).

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Advice for new TOK students

TOK, Theory of Knowledge.

Thinking TOK as ‘Thinking about Thinking’ time helps a lot.

The first time I was introduced to this new subject, I was literally dying trying to figure out what the teacher was talking about. I did try to ask more questions just to understand the concepts, but I still didn’t get it. If you find yourself like me, don’t panic. I personally believe time helps. As you reach end of year 12, you will see yourself questioning the question.

One thing I regret is taking notes during every lessons. Even though you might think what the teacher is saying makes no sense, they all help when it comes to TOK presentation and TOK essay.

I believe I am not yet qualified to advice you all about this TOK subject, but it would help! Teachers are there to help, ask as many questions as you can! :)


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Advice for Y12 TOK students

The main advice I would give new TOK students is that, before you take this class, make sure you have an open mind, even if it may be something you’ll have to work on. By this, I mean an open mind not only about the actual class, but also towards others’ opinions. You’ll make the most of TOK if you can accept what fellow classmates may believe and if you get out of your comfort zone. On that note, if confidence is not your strong suit, it may be something you’d like to work on as participation will truly aid your TOK learning.

For the TOK presentation, make sure to read thoroughly through, it’s been helpful to so many of us. On that same website you’ll also be able to find plenty of advice to do with TOK essay as well.

Lastly, in your everyday life, whenever you come across something or a situation that intrigues you, make a note of it. It’ll make the selection for your TOK presentation topic much, much easier.

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Advice for new TOK students

When you enter the TOK world first time, you will be stunned and don’t know what to do.
Don’t worry and just listen to what your TOK teacher says, and ask them for help any time.
It’s important to talk a lot in classroom. Participate class discussion actively.
Tok is all about what people think so you should be inquisitive in every situation.
TOK is really difficult subject. Frankly speaking, I’m still struggling in this subject, but I appreciate what I have learned Tok so far and it’s really interesting!
The most important thing is you enjoy TOK class. Enjoy and Love TOK class.

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Advice for Year 12 TOK Students

To do well overall:
Listen in class and try to write down some notes each time. When it comes to essay writing and presentations at the end of year you can look over everything you did. Take it seriously like any other class because you could be needing those extra points!

To do well in the presentation:
Use this website to structure your presentation:
And use the book “TOK for the IB Diploma” by Cambridge Press to get some information about Ways of Knowing (WOKs) and Areas of Knowledge (AOKs).

To do well in the essay:
Use the book mentioned above for ideas and choose an essay topic you feel confident about. Don’t leave it for the last minute so you have plenty of time to edit.

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Evidence in Ethics

Ethic is a set of moral principle, which affects how people make decisions and lead their lives. It is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy. Evidence is what tends to prove of disprove something


So how do we know whether it is ethical or not? I thought about the ways of knowing to identify and evaluate evidence for ethics, which are logic, emotion, and perception.


  1. Logic

In the perspective of logic, ethics can be considered as an inherent rule between members of society so that everyone survives within the community. It is embedded in our mind that tells us what to do and what not to do. Ethics is simply what enables us to sustain our society to survive as a whole. For instance, we inherently recognize that it is wrong to murder others. This is because if murdering is allowed, I might also be affected. We know that this society has ‘laws’ that keeps us from behaving unethically. Likewise, ethics protects us from inflictions returning back to us. We can say that anything that cause harm to the society can be considered unethical. Logic can be applied in ethics to analyze whether certain behavior can cause harm to the society, therefore determining whether it is ethical or not.


  1. Emotion

From the perspective of emotion, the standard to determine ethics is sense of guilt. When people do something and they feel uncomfortable doing it in a way of harming others, emotion itself can be evidence for ethics. Even though what you did is really minor, and no one will notice, you will feel bad of yourself and feel sense of guilt. Emotion is the biggest part of ethics, because the person who did unethical behavior knows by heart that they did something wrong because their conscience tells them so.


  1. Perception

Perception can also be evidence for ethics because as a human being, we learn things from experiences. Since when we were born, adults, especially our parents told us what not to do when we do something wrong. As we hear the same warning every time, we fix the information in our minds so that we don’t do it again. It becomes a common sense afterwards. Like this, ethics can also be seen as knowledge that has been imprinted on our minds.


Most common errors regarding evidence that lead to false conclusions:

During the 19th century, many powerful countries tried to develop, conquer, and rule the colony. However, from the weak country’s perspective, it’s not right to conquer other nationalities because it’s not right to assault others for their own benefit. At that time, Charles Darwin claimed evolution theory, which tells us that the species that couldn’t adapt or survive in nature gets thrown out by nature. In other words, leading to extinction. Powerful countries applied this logic and made it reasonable that weak nationalities fall behind and gets ruled by powerful countries. If we apply this logic, it doesn’t go against ethics. Like this, depending on which logic you apply, we can reach wrong ethical conclusion. To conclude, wrong evidence derives from wrong logic.

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