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1 Dr.Surriya Shaffi Mir. 2 Evaluating Texts One vital aspect of reading comprehension is the ability to assess and evaluate the text. This means, first.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Dr.Surriya Shaffi Mir. 2 Evaluating Texts One vital aspect of reading comprehension is the ability to assess and evaluate the text. This means, first."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Dr.Surriya Shaffi Mir

2 2 Evaluating Texts One vital aspect of reading comprehension is the ability to assess and evaluate the text. This means, first of all, that the reader should be fully aware of the writer’s intention of his point of view, and possible bias. In order to evaluate a text the student must be able to discriminate facts from opinions. It is an important part of reading competence that the reader should be aware of the way his judgement is influenced one way or another. Lesson 16

3 3 So far you have had practice in distinguishing facts from opinion. In today's lesson you shall first have practice in distinguishing the writer’s Tone, and second, you shall look at argumentation - which is very central to the material that we read. Writers make a point and then support the point. You as a successful reader must learn to recognize the point and recognize the support for the point made by the writer.

4 4 TONE Look at the five statements expressing different attitudes about a ‘shabby house.’ Label each statement by choosing the most appropriate tone from the word bank. optimisticbittertolerant sentimentalhumoroussympathetic

5 5 1.This may be a shabby, run-down looking house, but since I lived here in my childhood it has a special place in my heart. (sentimental) 2.This may not be the best looking house in the neighborhood, but it’s not really that bad. (tolerant) 3.If only I had a decent job, I wouldn’t be reduced to living in this ramshackle dump. (bitter)

6 6 4.This place is in need of some costly renovation, and I expect the landlord to get around to them any day now. (optimistic) 5.When I leave this joint, I plan to empty rubbish bins of all the neighboring flats into it so I can leave the place exactly as I found it. (humorous)

7 7 Now I helped you in this exercise. See if you can do the next one on your own. But before you do the next exercise I must tell you something about IRONY. This is a commonly used tone and one which you may not be familiar with. When writing has an ironic tone, it says one thing and means the opposite. Irony is found in everyday conversation as well as in writing. Irony always involves ‘discrepancy’ - meaning that something doesn’t quite fit - and it usually takes two forms situational and verbal.

8 8 (I)Situational irony occurs when the discrepancy lies in the situation itself. You expect something but something else happens. Or a situation calls for an expected response but something unexpected happens instead e.g. there is a house on fire and you expect the fire fighter to aim a water hose / pipe at the fire, but instead he aims a petrol pipe / hose. That would be very ironical.

9 9 Or you may have heard of the situation in a play by the American playwright, William Inge’s ‘A Social Event’ where the proud Hollywood couple’s. Afro-American maid has an invitation to a special event to which the couple has NOT been invited: very ironical situation indeed.

10 10 (ii)Verbal irony occurs when there is discrepancy between what is said and what is meant. e.g. Usually the exact opposite, or a near opposite, is what is meant: an eager cricket player looks out of the window and sees that it is raining. “Oh, great!” he says, meaning exactly the opposite. Another example to illustrate this: After seeing a terrible performance by an actor in a movie someone might say “Now that’s an actor who is sure to win the Best Actor Award for this year!” – Both e.gs. Illustrate verbal irony.

11 11 Now you will look at three short passages each of which illustrates a tone given in the box. Remember the tone reflects the author’s attitude. To find the tone of a paragraph, ask yourself what attitude is revealed by its words and phrases. caringpessimisticobjective optimisticangrycritical

12 12 (i)Research on rats has shown that when animals live in crowded conditions they live disorderly, violent lives. Human beings are no exception. Crowded cities are models of lawlessness, and the traffic-clogged roads encourage drivers to be aggressive. As urban areas continue to grow in population density, these types of problems will also grow. That means more violence and more fighting over available resources.

13 13 (ii) Those addicted to drugs probably feel terrible about themselves even if they don’t show it, and harsh judgements only worsen their self-image. What these people need are programs to rehabilitate them in society as well as help rid themselves of their addictions. It is also important we should take a sympathetic view of their problem and open our hearts and minds to these troubled persons.

14 14 (iii)When I hired Mughal Carpets to install a new wall-to-wall carpet in my drawing room, I relied on the company’s reputation for quality work. However, I was deeply dissatisfied with the dreadful job their workers did in my room. The carpet is poorly fitted as in one corner it is creased while in the other the floor shows through. I am exasperated with the work of Mughal Carpets and am thinking of asking my lawyer to sue them.

15 15 ARGUMENT A good argument is one in which you make a point and then provide support (persuasive and logical evidence) to back it up. For e.g. if you make the statement “My neighbors are inconsiderate” we expect you to provide supporting details which would enable others to see and judge whether yours neighbours are really inconsiderate or not.

16 16 Now if you added: “They play loud music at night, their children play and scream loudly outside my house, and their dog barks all day long”. You have provided solid support to your earlier statement “my neighbors are inconsiderate”. -To help you distinguish between point and support for that point or conclusion and reasons for that conclusion, let us jointly do an exercise.

17 17 In the following groups of statements, one statement is the point and the others are support for the point. Identify each point with a (P) and identify each statement of support with an (S). I— Cats refuse to learn silly tricks just to amuse people. — Cats seem to be more intelligent than dogs. — Dogs will accept mistreatment, but a cat if mistreated, it runs away.

18 18 2.If workers go on strike, they now lose their jobs to replacement workers. Conditions in factories are tougher than they used to be. In many industries workers have had to take wage cuts. 3.- Often you’ll have to wait half an hour for a route no. 5 bus, and then three will turn up at once. - Sometimes route no. 5 buses will drive past you at a bus stop, even though they aren’t full.

19 19 Route no.5 seems to be assigned the most ramshackle buses, ones that rattle and have broken seats. When ever possible, people should not ride the route no. 5 bus..

20 20 In the first type – fallacies that ignore the issue you will find the writer may change the subject, or indulge in circular reasoning, or give way to personal attack, or may create an imaginary opponent. In the second type – FALLACIES that overgeneralize/oversimply issues – the writer may draw hasty conclusions on the basis of insufficient evidence, or assume that because a certain event follows an earlier event, the subsequent event was the cause of the earlier event, or may make false comparison or analogy, or the either-or-fallacy.

21 21 First I shall show you examples of unsound reasoning and then you shall do a few exercises which will give you practice in spotting them in your reading. A.FALALCIES THAT IGNORE THE ISSUE (3 types) a) changing the subject (b) circular reasoning c) personal attack a)Changing the Subject In this method of argument the writer tries to divert the audience’s attention from the true issue by presenting evidence that has nothing to do with the argument. e.g. The honourable member of the National Assembly is a capable leader. He has a busy family life and prays daily in the area mosque.

22 22 Mention of the member’s family life and religious life sidesteps the issue of just how capable a leader he is.

23 23 Exercise 1 The proposed new dam is going to be a disaster. The plans were drawn up nearly thirty years ago, when the affected area was lightly settled. Now, a generation later the area is thickly populated and hundreds of families would be displaced if the dam is built. There are already many forces working for the break up of the family unit in Pakistan these days. The environment will also be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Hundreds of birds will lose their natural habitat and may die out.

24 24 -a.Which sentence is not a sound argument in support of the author’s conclusion that the proposed dam is a disaster? b)Circular reasoning. In this the supporting reason is the same as the conclusion. e.g. “Mr. Abid is a great science teacher because he is so wonderful at teaching.” We do not know why Mr. Abid is a great teacher. No real reasons are given – the statement merely repeats itself.

25 25 Exercise 2 Try to spot the circular reasoning in the following arguments. i)Since persons under 18 are too young to vote the voting age should not be lowered below age 18. ii)Taking vitamin C is healthy, for it improves your well-being. If you look closely at these arguments you will notice the reasons merely repeat an important part of the conclusion. The careful reader wants to know the reason, supporting evidence, not a repetition.

26 26 In the first argument the author uses the idea that persons under 18 are too young to vote as the conclusion and the reason of the argument. No real reason is advanced for why persons under 21 are too young to vote. In the second argument the word healthy, which is used in the conclusion, conveys the same idea as well- being. Conclusion and reason are used as one.

27 27 c)Personal Attack: This kind of fallacy often occurs in political debate. Here the issue under discussion is ignored and the writer or speaker focuses attention on the opponent’s character. e.g. “The Honourable Member of National Assembly views on the tax bill are not worthy of consideration. His father also held similar views when he was a member of the assembly”. As you can see from this example it ignores he issue - the tax bill – and concentrates on personal character. It is always easy recognizing personal attack.

28 28 Exercise Which one of the following statements contains an example of personal attack. 1.Our cricket team is not going to win the next World Cup. We have acquired the services of a useless coach. 2.We should support the Zila Nazim’s proposal for tax collection. He has the biggest collection of wealth by not paying the taxes. 3.The people who oppose the new traffic ticketing system are not concerned about traffic rules.

29 29 B.FALLACIES THAT OVERGENERALIZE/ OVER SIMPLIFY ISSUES (4 types) a)Hasty generalization (b) false cause (c) false comparison (d) either- or fallacy a)Hasty generalization: This is a very common fallacy A person who draws a conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence is making a hasty generalization. The following example will make this amply clear.

30 30 B.FALLACIES THAT OVERGENERALIZE/ The Iranians are a very stupid people as they have no talent for mathematics. Two Iranian boys took maths course with me once, and they were at the bottom of the class. Forming a conclusion about a whole nation on the basis of two examples (boys) is an illogical jump.

31 31 Exercise Three statements are given followed by four possible conclusions. Three of these are hasty generalizations which cannot logically be drawn from the evidence given, and the fourth one is a valid conclusion. Choose the one conclusion you think is valid. 1.The first time I went to the sea-side at Karachi my face got sun-burnt. 2.The second time I went to the seaside I couldn’t swim because the water was too cold.

32 32 3.The third time I went to the seaside at Karachi I stepped on a star fish and had to go the hospital to have the spikes removed from my foot. Out of the four conclusions given which one would you choose as the most valid. a)The seaside is unsafe & should be closed to the public. b)The seaside is a polluted place. c)I have had a series of bad experiences.

33 33 d)The seaside is not a place to visit. Which one did you choose. Obviously the correct answer would be c. b)False Cause: You have probably heard some one says as a joke, “I know there is going to be a dust storm today because I washed my hair”. Now the two events mentioned have no connection whatsoever. Well that was just to tell you how often in life we make such wrong associations – we assume Cause-and-effect situations are not

34 34 easy to analyze, as people tend to oversimplify them by ignoring other possible causes. To identify an argument using a false cause, look for alternate causes. Look at the following argument: The Atlas Tyre Company was more prosperous before Mr. Hamid joined it as chairman. Clearly, he is the cause of its decline. Event A: Mr. Hamid became company chairman. Event B: The Atlas Tyre Company’s income declined. Well, other causes could have been responsible for the decline.

35 35. May be the policies of the previous chairman have now begun to affect the company, or perhaps the market conditions have changed. It’s easy but incorrect to assume that just because A came before B, therefore A caused B..

36 36 Exercise: Which one of the following statements contains an example of false cause? 1. You better get a job soon or face the fact that you are lazy and want to live off others. 2. Murree has terrible weather. I visited there for a week last July and it rained continuously. 3.After visiting my friend today, I came home with a headache. I must be allergic to his house.

37 37 (c) False Comparison: This is the third type of error in reasoning –when you assume that two things are more alike than they really are. For instance read the following argument: In our village we leave our doors unlocked all the time, so I don’t think its necessary for you in the city to have locks on your front door. To judge whether or not the above statement is a false comparison consider if the two situations are alike. The two situations are not alike-one is in a city where there may be a lack of security.

38 38 Exercise: Decide which one of the following statements contains an example of false comparison. 1. You’ll either have to work hard at the job or face the fact that you’ll be turned out. 2. It doesn’t hurt your colleagues getting to work on foot and it won’t hurt you either. 3. Of course, ban on pillion riding will work in Pakistan. It’s worked in other countries, hasn’t it?

39 39 (d) Either – or fallacy: We often assume there are only two sides to a question. Offering only two choices when more actually exist is an either- or fallacy. Consider the following example: Those who oppose unrestricted speech are in reality in favour of censorship. This statement ignores the fact that a person can believe in free speech and at the same time believe in laws that prohibit people from making false statements which damage another person’s reputation-i.e. slander. Now remember only some issues/problems have two sides only- for instance you either pass the exam or you don’t but most issues/problems have several facets or sides.

40 40 Exercise: Decide which one of the following statements contains an example of either-or fallacy. 1. The maid-servant went off duty early, and then the gold bracelet was discovered missing, so she must have stolen it. 2. Eat your apple, or you won’t grow up strong, and healthy. 3. As I don’t use a ballpoint pen to write so it’s not necessary for you to use one either.

41 41 In today’s lesson we looked at different ways to develop effective reading and clear thinking – and these were: identifying purpose and tone and evaluating arguments. These were aimed at developing advanced, critical levels of comprehension. In the next lesson we shall look at an another way of developing comprehension. Allah Hafiz


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