Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 Content. 3 key features to distinguish language from non-language… 1. Language is rule- governed 2. Language is intended 3. Language is creative."— Presentation transcript:
3 key features to distinguish language from non-language… 1. Language is rule- governed 2. Language is intended 3. Language is creative and open-ended
Grammar: gives rules for how to combine words in the correct order, and it helps to determine the meaning of a sentence Vocabulary For communication to work, it does not matter what noises or squiggles we correlate with objects, so long as there is general agreement.
Body Language: using the body to intentionally communicate
We are able to create and understand sentences that have never been written or said before. Languages are not static… they can change or develop over time.
Words are often ambiguous (having several possible meanings) and open to a variety of interpretations. If you do not know the meaning of key words in a passage, you will not understand it. Meaning is important in our search for knowledge because… you must know what a sentence means before you can decide whether it is true or false.
3 theories of what distinguishes meaningful words from meaningless ones… 1. Definition Theory 2. Denotation Theory 3. Image Theory
Meanings are to be found in dictionaries… Coming up with a good definition is more difficult then it seems. The only words that we can define in a clear way are mathematical ones. Criticism of this theory… The only way to explain meanings of words is by using other words.
Meanings are found in the world… (words correspond to other things in the world) Criticism of this theory… If we took this theory literally, people would not be able to talk about you after you die.
Meanings of words are found in the mind… The meaning of a word is the mental image it stands for – you know the meaning of the word when you have the appropriate concept in your mind.
You know the meaning of a word when you “know how” to use it correctly.
5 kinds of problematic meaning in everyday language
Words that meaning depends of context Example: the word fast means something different to a long distance runner and a formula 1 racecar driver
Many words have multiple meanings Ambiguous words can be amusing, but they can also be used to mislead someone Ex: Politicians
Words can have different meanings depending of the person Denotation: primary meaning (dictionary definition) Connotation: secondary meaning (varies from person to person) Euphemism: using a connotation that carries a more acceptable or pleasant feeling then its harsh denotation… using emotive meaning Ex: died – passed away
Sentences that are “literally” false, but metaphorically true You can use the context of a sentence to determine whether a sentence is meant literally or metaphorically. Example: My brother is a butcher. (literal) My dentist is a butcher. (metaphorically)
The saying of one thing in order to mean the opposite Example: It is storming outside and someone says, “Nice weather we are having!?”
In summary, problematic meaning = language is ambiguous. Vagueness, secondary meaning, metaphor and irony can all be seen as different kinds of ambiguity. Meaning is not an all-or-nothing concept…
Problems of Translation Three problems arise in translating something from one language to another. 1. Context 1. The meaning of a word in a language is partly determined by its relation to other words. 2. Untranslatable words 1. Every language contains words that have no equivalent in other languages. 3. Idioms 1. Meaning is nonsensical if interpreted literally, but means something else entirely when examined as a whole.
Examples: “Don’t beat around the bush” “I was over the moon” “He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth”
Putting labels on things has its advantages and disadvantages… Advantages labeling is efficient and economical Disadvantages labeling creates the danger of mislabeling things
A stereotype arises when we make assumptions about a group of people purely on the basis of their membership to the group. Despite the dangers of stereotyping people, some generalizations contain an element of truth in them.
language determines our experiences of reality, and we can see and think only what our language allows us to see and think Example: Amondawa Tribe Linguistic Determinism: language and its structures determine our knowledge and thoughts
We use language not only to describe the world, but to also persuade and influence one another. Advertisers use the “power of language” to influence and persuade.
1. Emotionally laden language 2. Weasel Words 3. Grammar 4. Revealing and Concealing
Emotive Meaning: the aura of favorable or unfavorable feeling that hovers about a word Example: Euphemisms
words that give ambiguity to a statement Examples many, should, probably Our product will work for you if you simply follow instructions carefully.
Grammar can affect the way people see things. The passive voice may be used to cover up someone’s responsibility for something. Example: Many villages were bombed.(passive) We bombed many villages. (active) The first sentence makes the bombing sound like a natural disaster, while the second puts the spotlight on the perpetrators.
Language can reveal certain aspects of reality and conceal other aspects by diverting attention away from them. 4 descriptions of the same person. 1. I have invited an attractive blonde to the party. 2. I have invited a cellist to the party. 3. I have invited a marathon runner to the party. 4. I have invited a lesbian to the party. Each description has different connotations…
Take this statement seriously! Language can be used to educate, enlighten, and fuel the flames of hatred.