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Language and Thought Essay

Page history last edited by Georgie Ziff 3 years, 5 months ago

Essay Three - Chapter 14 - Language and Thought: Shaping the Brain

In response to the chapter readings and using two articles as in-text references, write an 8 - 10 page essay choosing from one of the following prompts.

  • For any of the prompts, you will reference TWO articles/authors from Chapter 14 for supporting evidence; in addition, you will use three outside academic sources, (no more than three)making a total of FIVE sources. Be sure to CITE correctly, both in-text and on a correctly formatted MLA Works Cited List (any essays submitted missing the WCL will receive an automatic 0). 
  • This is an argument/position paper, NOT an evaluation, so the thesis MUST be debatable; consider - what is the opposing side? 


1. Compare some of the linguistic theories presented in this chapter with points raised in the Chapter Six: "Language Perspectives".

  • Taking a position, make a claim about whether understanding of language development in the brain aids our understanding of "coming into language" as humans communicating with each other? Does it? Or does it not?
  • Write an essay taking a position on the connection between our scientific understanding of what happens in our brains and our social understanding of how we might communicate with each other. Integrate your ideas with those of your sources, citing correctly. 


2. Research how the Internet is influencing how we think and how it may or may not be changing our brains. This a POSITION argument.

  • Will the Internet be the next significant influence on our physical evolution? Does this affect our genetic heritage? How might our brains change? Or will it NOT? 
  • Write an essay taking a position on this topic, with supporting evidence and acknowledgement of the counterargument using the language of concession and refutation. Integrate your ideas with those of your sources, citing correctly. 


3.  "Do the languages we speak shape the way we think?" Lera Boroditsky wonders (p.469). What do you think?

  • Write an essay responding to her question, taking a position, with supporting evidence and acknowledgement of the counterargument using the language of concession and refutation. Integrate your ideas with those of your sources, citing correctly. 


You should write between 8 - 10 pages for this essay. Late essays are NOT accepted for any reason. NO exceptions. 

The essay should have the following basic components:

  • A title that informs the reader and provides a hint of what to expect in the paper
  • An introduction that engages the reader, introduces the articles and authors smoothly, and provides any necessary background contextualization leading up to the thesis.
  • A thesis statement that provides the MAIN IDEA of the paper without announcing ("In this essay I will...").
  • Body paragraphs with clear topic sentences, supporting evidence, development of ideas in logical order, and effective transitions
  • Acknowledgement of an opposing point of view using the language of concession and refutation 
  • A conclusion that wraps up the ideas for the reader, revisiting the thesis without repeating it
  • Two articles/authors (from Chapter 14) are required as supporting evidence: quotes, paraphrasing and summary. DO NOT use large block quotes; use short or even partial quotes and paraphrasing instead, citing correctly.
  • Three outside academic sources will be used, (no more than three), making a total of FIVE sources.
  • Be sure to correctly cite all paraphrasing/summary/quoting both in the body of the paper (in-text), and a correctly formatted MLA Works Cited List (any essays submitted missing the WCL will receive an automatic 0). 


As THREE academic sources are required for this essay, please go to the CCC library website to start your research process.

And here are the library resources:


24/7 Chat reference service https://www.contracosta.edu/quick-links/library/library-help-by-chat/ 

Library current services - https://libguides.contracosta.edu/site/COVID19 



Language and Thought Essay articles:

  1. "Does Your Language Shape How You Think?" - Guy Deutscher
  2. "Nothing Is Missing" - Tom Munnecke
  3. "You Say Up, I Say Yesterday" - Joan O.C. Hamilton
  4. "Lost in Translation"- Lera Boroditsky
  5. "The Internet: Is It Changing the Way We Think?" - John Naughton
  6. "Mind Over Mass Media" - Steven Pinker



Formatting Your Essays in MLA Style:

The formatting should be a 12 point legible font. 

Indent five spaces for each new paragraph, but do not put extra spaces between paragraphs. 


Double-space in the upper left corner of only the first page:


Copy and paste the PROMPT and your THESIS at the top of the page above your name.



English Class number                                                        

Instructor Ziff


The Informative TITLE that Hints at Your Thesis Goes in the Center of the Page

 Capitalized Correctly, with the Same Size Font and

neither Bold nor Underlined.



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