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E9H – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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1 E9H – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
DICTION E9H – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2 Definition of Diction Writers employ diction, or word choice to communicate ideas and impressions, to evoke emotions, and to convey their views of truth to the reader.

3 Levels of Diction: High/Formal
Creates an elevated tone. Free of slang, idioms, colloquialisms, and contractions. Contains polysyllabic (having more than three syllables) words. Contains sophisticated syntax (fancy sentences). Elegant word choice. Ex.: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

4 Formal Diction from The Scarlet Letter
Discerning the impracticable state of the poor culprit’s mind, the elder clergyman, who had carefully prepared himself for the occasion, addressed to the multitude a discourse on sin, in all its branches, but with continual reference to the ignominious letter. Ig-no-minny-us: causing disgrace or shame

5 Levels of Diction: Neutral
Uses standard language and vocabulary without elaborate words. May include contractions. Ex. The Old Man and the Sea.

6 Neutral Diction from The Old Man and the Sea
The shark swung over and the old man saw his eye was not alive and then he swung over once again, wrapping himself in two loops of the rope. The old man knew that he was dead but the shark would not accept it.

7 Levels of Diction: Informal/Low
The language of everyday use. Relaxed and conversational. Includes common and simple words. Includes idioms, slang, jargon, and contractions.

8 Types of Diction: Slang
A group of recently coined words often used in informal situations.

9 Types of Diction: Colloquial Expressions
Nonstandard, often regional, ways of using language appropriate to informal or conversational speech and writing. Ex. “Y’all”

10 Types of Diction: Jargon
Words and expressions characteristic of a particular trade, profession, or pursuit. Ex. Educational professional jargon: taxonomy  An orderly classification of items according to various levels (low to high, small to large). thematic units
A unit of study that has lessons focused on a specific theme, sometimes covering all core subject areas. It is often used as an alternative approach to teaching subjects chronologically.

11 Types of Diction: Dialect
Nonstandard subgroup of a language with its own vocabulary and grammatical features. Writers often use regional dialects to reveal a person’s economic or social class. Examples abound in TKAM.

12 Types of Diction: Concrete Diction
Consists of specific words that describe physical qualities or conditions. From The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: “The tears came fast, and she held her face in her hands. When something soft and furry moved around her ankles, she jumped, and saw it was the cat.”

13 Types of Diction: Abstract Diction
Language that denotes ideas, emotions, conditions, or concepts that are intangible. Ex. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: impenetrable, inscrutable, inconceivable, unfathomable Inscrutable: Impossible to understand or interpret; impenetrable; mysterious

14 Types of Diction: Denotation
Exact literal definition of a word independent of any emotional association or secondary meaning.

15 Types of Diction: Connotation
Implicit rather than explicit meaning of a word and consists of the suggestions, associations, and emotional overtones attached to a word. Example: “House” has a different emotional effect on the reader than does the word “home,” with its connotation of safety, coziness, and security. Good writers value both denotation and connotation.

16 Examine Diction in TKAM
Directions: In your Reader’s Notebook, answer the following questions. Slang: In her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses slang to try to capture the voice of her characters. In chapters 1-8, find three examples of Lee’s use of slang. Write the quote and the page number, and then write a two to three sentences explaining the effectiveness of the slang. Dialect: Find a one-paragraph passage from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee that is thick with dialect. Rewrite the passage and cite the page number. Change all dialect to correct standard English. Explain how these changes alter Lee’s meaning or effect.

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