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Diction AP Lexicon, Lecture 1.

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1 Diction AP Lexicon, Lecture 1

2 Diction Word choice Diction can refer to specific word choices or the general character of language chosen by the author Three areas to consider Appearance Sound Meaning

3 Semantics The branch of linguistics that studies the meaning of words, their historical and psychological development, their connotations, and their relation to one another.

4 Single Liberty Summer Monday A Quick Activity…
Draw the first thing you think of when I say… Single Liberty Summer Monday

5 Denotation vs. Connotation
The strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word, devoid of any emotion, attitude, or color. Monday:–noun the second day of the week, following Sunday. The non-literal, associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning. Connotations may involve ideas, emotions, or attitudes. Monday: the beginning of the work week or school week, often negatively associated with stress, lack of sleep, overwhelming responsibilities, a loss of freedom, etc.

6 More on connotations: The room was so small, everyone felt ________.
The _________ entered the city quickly and without incident. She excitedly showed us around her _________. cramped cozy liberators invaders dwelling home

7 Sound of Words Pleasant sounding words Harsh sounding words
Euphonious Cacophonous Pleasant sounding words Long vowels are better than short vowels “Liquid” consonants: l, m, n, r Soft consonants: v, f, th, wh, sh, w, y Harsh sounding words Short vowels rather than long vowels “Plosive” consonants: b, d, g, k, p, t More challenging to say Flow is broken up by harsher sounding letters

8 Sound of Words Euphonious Cacophonous Upon Julia’s Voice Robert Herrick So smooth, so sweet, so silvery is thy voice, As, could they hear, the Damned would make no noise, But listen to thee (walking in thy chamber) Melting melodious words to Lutes of Amber. From Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

9 Monosyllabic vs. Polysyllabic
Words are one syllable in length Often creates a sense of urgency or simplicity Words are more than one syllable in length Often creates a sense of complexity or a more erudite effect

10 Monosyllabic vs. Polysyllabic
“I did not want to see the bank. There were shots when I ran and shots when I came up the first time. I heard them when I was almost above water. There were no shots now” (Hemingway 225). “All about stretched drying cornfields, of the pale-gold colour, I remembered so well… Along the cattle-paths the plumes of goldenrod were already fading into sun- warmed velvet, grey with gold threads in it. I had escaped from the curious depression that hangs over little towns, and my mind was full of pleasant things” (Cather 287).

11 Informal vs. Formal Professional, educated, and academic language
Dignified, elevated, and perhaps impersonal. Elaborate, or sophisticated vocabulary. Polysyllabic “I just need to gather my belongings.” Conversational; often appropriate for conversations but not professional or academic documents. Plain language of everyday use, including slang, jargon, vulgarity, and dialect. Monosyllabic. “I just gotta get my stuff.”

12 Informal vs. Formal Informal Formal “But a great book, rich in ideas and beauty, a book that raises and tries to answer great fundamental questions, demands the most active reading of which you are capable” (Adler). “It's funny how people and bookstores sell used books on and” (Peter).

13 Colloquialism The use of slang or informalities in speech or writing. Not generally acceptable for formal writing, colloquialisms give a work a conversational, familiar tone. Colloquial expressions in writing include local or regional dialects. Often considered a subset of informal diction “Ain’t everybody’s daddy the deadest shot in Maycomb County” (Lee 112).

14 Dialect Language spoken by people in a region or group
“I’d made up my mine ‘bout what I’s a-gwyne to do… So I says, a raff is what I’s arter; it doan’ make no track” (Twain 44). Language spoken by people in a region or group

15 Jargon The special language of a profession or group.
Often has pejorative associations evasive, tedious, and unintelligible to outsiders. Ex: Lawyers, doctors, literary critics

16 Objective vs. Subjective
Impersonal and unemotional “The pursuit of happiness is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as a right of all Americans, as well as on the self-improvement shelves of every American bookstore. Yet the scientific evidence makes it seem unlikely that you can change your level of happiness in any sustainable way” (Seligman xi-xii). Personal and emotional language “I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy… At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great” (Cather 21).

17 Concrete vs. Abstract Tangible and specific language
Conceptual and philosophical language “Abstract words such a glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the umbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and dates” (Hemingway 185).

18 Literal vs. Figurative From Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen
Straight-forward language without embellishment From The Man He Killed Thomas Hardy But ranged as infantry And staring face to face, I shot at him and he at me, And killed him in his place. Features literary devices, like hyperboles or metaphors From Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,  Knock-kneed, coughing like hags…

19 Words to describe diction…
Pedantic Cultured Learned Pretentious Archaic Scholarly Ornate Elegant Flowery Didactic Elevated Pedestrian Unadorned Plain Detached Simple Homespun Colloquial Invective Pejorative Metaphoric Poetic Lyrical Symbolic Obscure Sensuous Grotesque Picturesque Cliché Abrupt Terse Laconic Vulgar Slang Jargon Exact Journalistic Straightforward

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