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CHAPTER

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  1. ELEVEN Using Language CHAPTER Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  2. Language is important • 1.. Contrary to popular belief, language does not simply mirror reality. • 2. Language helps create our sense of reality by giving meaning to events. • a. Language is not neutral. • b. The words we use to label an event determine to a great extent how we respond to it. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  3. 3. Words are vital to thinking itself. • a. Thought and language are closely linked.b. On most occasions when we are looking for “just the right word,” what we are really looking for is just the right idea. • 4. Words are the tools of a speaker’s craft. • a. Different words have different uses—just like the tools of any profession. • b. Public speakers must choose the right words for the job they want to do. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  4. Denotative Meaning The literal or dictionary meaning of a word or phrase. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  5. Connotative Meaning The meaning suggested by the associations or emotions triggered by a word or phrase. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  6. Guidelines for Using Language • Accurately • Clearly • Vividly • Appropriately Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  7. Using Language Accurately • A. Using language accurately is as vital to a speaker as using numbers accurately is to an accountant. • 1. Speakers need to be sensitive to the shades of meaning of different words. • 2. Speakers should not use a word unless they are confident of its meaning. • B. Speakers who have serious aspirations should develop a systematic plan for improving their vocabulary. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  8. Using Language Clearly • 1. One way to ensure that a speaker’s meaning is clear is to use familiar words. • 2. A second way to ensure that a speaker’s meaning is clear is to use concrete words. • 3. A third way to ensure that a speaker’s meaning is clear is to eliminate linguistic “Clutter” (refers to the habit of using many more words than is necessary to express a speaker’s meaning.) Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  9. Abstract vs. Concrete Language Physical activity abstract/general Sports Golf Professional golf Tiger Woods concrete/specific Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  10. Simile Air pollution is eating away at the monuments in Washington, D.C., like a giant Alka-Seltzer tablet. An explicit comparison introduced with the word “like” or “as,” between things that are essentially different yet have something in common. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  11. Metaphor America’s cities are the windows through which the world looks at American society. (Henry Cisneros) An implicit comparison, not introduced with the words “like” or “as,” between two things that are essentially different yet have something in common. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  12. Parallelism The similar arrangement of a pair or series of related words, phrases, or sentences. The denial of human rights anywhere is a threat to human rights everywhere. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. (Jesse Jackson) Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  13. Repetition We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are a people in search of a national community. (Barbara Jordan) Reiteration of the same word or set of words at the beginning or end of successive clauses or sentences. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  14. Alliteration Repetition of the initial consonant sound of close or adjoining words. We should not demean our democracy with the politics of distraction, denial, and despair. (Al Gore) Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  15. Antithesis Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. (John F. Kennedy) The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, usually in parallel structure. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  16. Avoiding Sexist Language • Avoid the generic “he” • Avoid the use of “man” when referring to both men and women • Avoid stereotyping jobs and social roles by gender • Avoid unnecessary or patronizing gender labels Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  17. Avoid the Generic “He” Ineffective:Each time a surgeon walks into the operating room, he risks being sued for malpractice. More Effective:Each time a surgeon walks into the operating room, she or he risks being sued for malpractice. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  18. Avoid the Use of “Man” Ineffective: If a large comet struck the earth, it could destroy all of mankind. More Effective: If a large comet struck the earth, it could destroy all human life. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  19. Avoid Stereotyping Jobs and Social Roles Ineffective: Being a small businessman in the current economic climate is not easy. More Effective:Being a small businessperson in the current economic climate is not easy. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.

  20. Avoid Unnecessary or Patronizing Gender Labels Ineffective: Sandra Day O’Connor is an outstanding lady judge. More Effective:Sandra Day O’Connor is an outstanding judge. Stephen E. Lucas 2001 All rights reserved.