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To Determine the TONE Analyze the Diction …. Remember that all writing emerges from a situationa convergence of a need to write, a writer, an audience,

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Presentation on theme: "To Determine the TONE Analyze the Diction …. Remember that all writing emerges from a situationa convergence of a need to write, a writer, an audience,"— Presentation transcript:

1 To Determine the TONE Analyze the Diction …

2 Remember that all writing emerges from a situationa convergence of a need to write, a writer, an audience, a subject matter, a purpose, a genre, and a time and place (Roskelly and Jolliffe 57). Choice of diction depends upon the authors messagekeep the authors claims in mind, and consider how the particular choices of types of diction and certain words help to convey those claims to the authors intended audience.

3 People choose styles to reflect themselves in their writing as well as in what they wear, and the style they choose expresses meaning. A particular clothing style or writing style can be appropriate in some situations and not in others. And, for all these reasons, stylistic choice in clothes and writing is, or can be, conscious. Conscious choice about stylistic decisions in writing can help writers reflect themselves, communicate meaning, and influence readers (Roskelly and Jolliffe 57).

4 Diction is simply the particular words an author uses to convey meaning in a piece of writing. Latin; Style of speech (or writing) Diction is the fundamental ingredient in written communication; without words, there is no meaning!

5 It depends on the concept of situational appropriateness…The question of whether a particular word, sentence, or figure of speech is right is a question of whether it is right for the particular writing situation (Roskelly and Jolliffe 57).

6 Speaker: who is the speaker or author? What persona does the speaker intend to convey? How does this word help to convey that persona? Why did the speaker choose this word over another? Audience: who is the audience? How is this word intended to affect that audience? What are we supposed to think or do as a result of the word? Purpose: what is the purpose(s) of the piece? How does the word(s) contribute to the purpose(s)?

7 What to look for 1. Above all is connotation. 2. Level of diction 3. Type of diction: abstract and concrete 4. Sound quality of diction: occasionally euphony and cacophony (only if you are sure you can pull it off!)

8 In your group, compare patriots, heroes, soldiers, war criminals, invaders. What is the emotional value of each word? What does each word imply? What clues do we get about the authors attitude about this subject from each of these words?

9 Denotation and Connotation Connotation: the implied meaning of a word; the emotive qualities of the word. The most important aspect of diction for analysis! Gives clues to authors stance, tone, and bias. Suggests how the author wants us to view the subject. Helps to establish pathoscreates certain feelings for the reader that subtly (almost subliminally) convince us of the authors claim(s). I am firm, you are obstinate, he is pigheaded. --Bertrand Russell

10 Directions: Each word has a different connotation, but has the same general denotation. 1 st =Decide what the general denotation is for each group. 2 nd =Number the words in each group from most positive connotation to most negative connotation.

11 DENOTATION= The LITERAL (dictionary) definition of a word

12 ___ uprising ___ riot ___ demonstration ___ unlawful gathering ___ protest ___ disturbance ____clever ____calculating ____shrewd ____astute ____cunning ____slick

13 Groupseach member explains the connotation of one of the words. NEXT, put them in some ordermost pleasant to least, most serious to least, most formal to least, etc. 1. Aroma, stench, smell 2. Innocent, naïve, inexperienced 3. Risky, dangerous, treacherous 4. Stubborn, mulish, obstinate 5. Strange, unfamiliar, exotic 6. Mistake, error, goof 7. Cling, hold, grasp 8. Oppose, scorn, deplore

14 One more comparative example In your group, compare the following words, then answer the questions below; Winston Churchill was a statesmen. vs. Winston Churchill was a politician. Winston Churchill was a smart dude. Who might use each word? For what audience or audiences is each word potentially intended?

15 Euphamism Euphemism: the use of a word with positive or neutral connotations in place of a word with negative connotations. Put to sleep, euthanized, killed Doctor assisted suicide vs. murder Operation Iraqi Freedom vs. Iraq War Needs improvement vs. failure Republic of Iraq vs. Dictatorship Lite beer vs. watered-down Downsizing, layoffs, firings Remedial class vs. developmental class

16 Levels of Diction The Level of diction refers to the degree of lexical complexity of the language. Levels are used to characterize the diction of a large section of a piece or the entire piece. Dont try to categorize each word. Levels of diction relate primarily to ethos; authors use a certain level of diction to project a particular persona.

17 JARGON and SLANG Slang: language peculiar to a particular group; an informal, nonstandard vocabulary of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant or facetious figures of speech. Jargon: technical terminology reserved for (usually) professional groups and trades. Ex. Legalese; writ, plaintiff Ex. Music; clef, movement, key Ex. Computers; RAM, ROM, bytes, windows Both of these can offer clues as to the intended audienceask, who uses this slang?

18 Levels of Diction: Formal/Elevated Formal/Elevated: consists of a dignified, impersonal, and elevated use of language; it follows the rules of syntax exactly But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half- depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friend from among the knights and dames of his court.

19 Purpose and Effects of Formal Diction Effects: can cause the writer to seem knowledgeable and thoughtful (positive ethos) or can cause the author to seem boring, pedantic. Frequently used to obscure meaning by making the piece confusing and making the audience feel dumb; puts author is superior position relative to the audience.

20 Levels of Diction: Neutral/Standard this is the everyday language that people use, often in semi-formal settings Accepted use of conversational English; direct and adheres to rules of grammar; found in textbooks and magazines, spoken by newscasters Neutral/Standard:

21 Purposes and Effects of Neutral/Standard Diction EFFECTS: Can help the author to appear normal, everyday without talking down. Can place author and audience on equal footing. Often, this is the language used between peers in non-academic settings.

22 Levels of Diction: Low/Informal/Colloquial Low/Informal: Conversational language-- certain expressions or phrases that speakers and readers would understand but that are outside the rules of Standard English Informal language used in everyday speech Coulda, woulda, shoulda He goes, so ya wanna go out? Aint It really bugs me when you guys keep messing around.

23 Purpose and effects of Low/Informal/Colloquial Diction EFFECTS: Often used to add personality and voice, causing closeness to reader (positive ethos)some use this to appear folksy and similar to the reader conversely, can cause author to seem uneducated or sloppy. Sometimes places audience in superior position, causing them to look down upon the speaker/writer

24 Determine the level & note the diction that portrays it: #1: The domicile which we determined would be our primary residence during our anticipated sojourn in that region of the country exuded an aura of colonial charm not without a certain rustic exuberance, all of which we considered to be essential for our assimilation into our new environment.

25 #2 The house we chose while we lived temporarily in that part of the country was both picturesque and simple. We decided that we needed such a house if we were going to feel like we belonged there.

26 #3 The place we stayed in when we spent a few years there looked like it was right out of the history books, and none to fancy neither. But we figured if we were ever gonna feel like it was home, that was the way it had to be.

27 So What? For all levels, identify the audience and decide why the author chose this diction for this audience. Connect the level of diction to 1) the audience and 2) purpose.

28 In your group, compare the two sets of words: desk, blood, fly, fiery, agonizing. love, honor, respect, patriotism, goodness, evil.

29 Abstract and Concrete Abstract: idea words and feeling words. Not tangibledo not appeal to senses. Examples: love, honor, respect, patriotism, goodness, evil, etc. Effects: can build background for more specific discussion to follow for any of the appeals. Conversely, can distance the reader through a lack of specifics, and can obscure logic. Often used to manipulate pathos Often used to create ethos (especially through patriotic appeals)

30 Concrete: tangible words appealing to the five senses. Examples: desk, blood, fly, fiery, agonizing. Effects: often helps to establish imagery and therefore pathoscheck to see if the pathos is manipulative. Specifics help form the backbone of logic (statistics, specific examples and cases, etc.)

31 S.I. Hayakawas Ladder of Abstraction General, abstract words; Transportation, justice. Somewhat specific; Automobile, juvenile court. More specifically; cardio- Vascular health benefits. Very specific; the benefits to the small blood vessels around your heart.

32 Euphony and Cacophony The sound of the words is the key here. Euphony: words that sound pleasant. Usually dominated by vowel sounds; flowery, pluvial, serendipitous. Effects: contributes on a less conscious level to the tone; can make the subject sound positive.

33 Cacophony: negative sound. Usually consonant-heavy and Germanic. Grungy, horrendous, vile. EFFECT: Sound often overlaps with the meaningnegative sounding words often mean negative things, but not always.

34 Shifts Shift: any placed where an author changes the level, tone, or style of his or her diction. Effects: can work as transitions, indicate a change in attitude, or signal a key point in the argument. Almost always a signal that the author wants you to pay more attention than normal to a certain part of the writing.

35 Shifts in Tone Key Words: but, yet, nevertheless, however Punctuation: dashes, colons Paragraph Division Change in Sentence Length

36 The key thing to note about diction analysis: How does the diction help to imply or display the authors attitude and claims towards the subject? How does the diction help to influence the readers attitude towards the subject? Keep the Speaker-audience-text triangle in mind!

37 There are two senses to jargon Positive/neutral: specialized language; sometimes necessary to communicate specialized ideas accurately; sometimes shorthand for members of in-group. Negative: nonsensical, euphemistic, incoherent talk; often used to make the simple seem profound.

38 In a small group, analyze these pairs of words; Anglo-SaxonLatinate_____ Help Facilitate MakeManufacture AskInterrogate GrowMaximize ShrinkMinimize What sorts of situations would call for more Latinate diction? Which would call for Anglo-Saxon diction?

39 OTHER MANIPULATIVE LANGUAGE The following are contemporary military terms, found on p. 147 of Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric by Kahane and Cavendar. First, predict what you think each of the following terms means. List any and all possible meanings that you can think of. Then, we will discuss how each term manipulates the associations and emotions of the reader. Comfort WomenBattle Fatigue Collateral DamageEthnic Cleansing Friendly FireServicing a Target or Visiting a Site Pacification CenterTermination Selective OrdinanceThe Final Solution

40 Other Manipulative Language Weasel Words Statements that appear to make little or no change in the content of a statement while in fact sucking out all or most of its content. May or may be. Economic success may be the explanation of male dominance over females. Arguably also works as weasel word.

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