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DICTION AP Lexicon, Lecture 1. Diction  Word choice  Diction can refer to specific word choices or the general character of language chosen by the author.

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Presentation on theme: "DICTION AP Lexicon, Lecture 1. Diction  Word choice  Diction can refer to specific word choices or the general character of language chosen by the author."— Presentation transcript:

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 1. Appearance 2. Sound 3. 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 A Quick Activity… Draw the first thing you think of when I say… Monday Summer Liberty Single

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. DenotationConnotation

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 _________. cozycramped liberatorsinvaders homedwelling

7 Sound of Words  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 EuphoniousCacophonous

8 Sound of Words 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. EuphoniousCacophonous

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 MonosyllabicPolysyllabic

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). MonosyllabicPolysyllabic

11 Informal vs. Formal  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.”  Professional, educated, and academic language  Dignified, elevated, and perhaps impersonal.  Elaborate, or sophisticated vocabulary. Polysyllabic  “I just need to gather my belongings.” InformalFormal

12 Informal vs. Formal  “It's funny how people and bookstores sell used books on Alibris.com and Amazon.com” (Peter).  “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). InformalFormal

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

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).

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). ObjectiveSubjective

17 Concrete vs. Abstract  Tangible and specific language  Conceptual and philosophical language ConcreteAbstract “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  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… LiteralFigurative

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


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