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Language Chapter 3 Content.

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Presentation on theme: "Language Chapter 3 Content."— Presentation transcript:

1 Language Chapter 3 Content

2 What is Language? 3 key features to distinguish language from non-language… Language is rule- governed Language is intended Language is creative and open-ended

3 Language is rule-governed
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.

4 Language is intended Body Language: using the body to intentionally communicate

5 Language is creative and open-ended
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.

6 The problematic nature of human communication
Part one

7 The problem of meaning 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.

8 Theories of meaning 3 theories of what distinguishes meaningful words from meaningless ones… Definition Theory Denotation Theory Image Theory

9 Definition 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.

10 Denotation theory 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.

11 Image theory 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.

12 Meaning as know-how You know the meaning of a word when you “know how” to use it correctly.

13 Problematic meaning 5 kinds of problematic meaning in everyday language

14 Vagueness Words that meaning depends of context
Example: the word fast means something different to a long distance runner and a formula 1 racecar driver

15 Ambiguity Many words have multiple meanings
Ambiguous words can be amusing, but they can also be used to mislead someone Ex: Politicians

16 Secondary meaning 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

17 metaphor 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)

18 irony The saying of one thing in order to mean the opposite
Example: It is storming outside and someone says, “Nice weather we are having!?”

19 Meaning and interpretation
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…

20 Language and translation
Problems of Translation Three problems arise in translating something from one language to another. Context The meaning of a word in a language is partly determined by its relation to other words. Untranslatable words Every language contains words that have no equivalent in other languages. Idioms Meaning is nonsensical if interpreted literally, but means something else entirely when examined as a whole.

21 idioms Examples: “Don’t beat around the bush” “I was over the moon”
“He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth”

22 Language affects the way we see and think about the world
Part two

23 Labels Putting labels on things has its advantages and disadvantages…
labeling is efficient and economical Disadvantages labeling creates the danger of mislabeling things

24 stereotypes 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.

25 The sapir-whorf hypothesis
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

26 language and values 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.

27 4 ways in which language can influence and persuade people
Emotionally laden language Weasel Words Grammar Revealing and Concealing

28 Emotionally laden language
Emotive Meaning: the aura of favorable or unfavorable feeling that hovers about a word Example: Euphemisms

29 weasel words words that give ambiguity to a statement Examples
many, should, probably Our product will work for you if you simply follow instructions carefully.

30 Grammar 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.

31 Revealing and Concealing
Language can reveal certain aspects of reality and conceal other aspects by diverting attention away from them. 4 descriptions of the same person. I have invited an attractive blonde to the party. I have invited a cellist to the party. I have invited a marathon runner to the party. I have invited a lesbian to the party. Each description has different connotations…

32 Language is power!!! Take this statement seriously!
Language can be used to educate, enlighten, and fuel the flames of hatred.

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