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The Emotive Component of Meaning. By Louis B. Salomon From Semantics and Common Sense. Warming up. What does these words mean? (literal/implied) Dove : a bird of the pigeon family; a symbol of peace; a person who prefers peace to war. Hawk: a strong fast bird of prey;

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The emotive component of meaning

The Emotive Component of Meaning

By Louis B. Salomon

From Semantics and Common Sense


Warming up
Warming up

  • What does these words mean? (literal/implied)

  • Dove:

    a bird of the pigeon family;

    a symbol of peace;

    a person who prefers peace to war.

  • Hawk:

    a strong fast bird of prey;

    a symbol of force;

    a person who supports the use of military force to solve problems.


Warming up1
Warming up

  • Man:

    male human being;

    strong, brave.

  • Woman:

    female human being;

    tender, caring,etc.


Warming up2
Warming up

  • What is your reaction to these words?

  • Mother (love, tenderness)

  • Traitor (revulsion)

  • Shit (disgusting)

  • Desk (nothing)

  • Because (nothing)


Denotation and connotation
Denotation and Connotation

Denotation:

  • The referent that the word names;

  • The most literal and limited meaning of a word or phrase.

    Connotation:

  • Whatever is suggested beyond what is actually said;

  • The emotive or affective component of a linguistic expression.

  • Meaning: denotation + connotation

  • Connotation: linguistic meaning + emotive meaning


  • Denotation and connotation is a distinction introduced by J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (The Oxford Companion to Philosophy)


More examples
More examples J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (

Lion:

  • A kind of large meat-eating animal

  • fierce; wild; cruel; powerful

    Snake:

  • length, poison, death

  • Disgusting, fear

    Crow:

  • Black

  • Disgusting, sorrow


  • 认知意义( J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (Linguistic meaning):语义学中区分出来的一种意义类型,又称理性意义或概念意义。与“内涵意义”相对。指语言单位所反映的人们对外部客观世界本质特征的认识。如“桌子”可以有不用的颜色、外形,可以用不同的材料制成,这些是非本质特征。其本质特征则是“一种家具,上有平面,下有支柱,用来放东西或做事情。”食物的本质特征构成语义的基础。(《语言百科辞典》)


  • 内涵意义( J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (connotative meaning):语义学中区分出来的一种意义类型,与“认知意义”相对,指语言单位所反映的人们对非本质特征的认识。如“女人”的本质特征是

    [+人]、 [ -男性]、 [+成年],除此以外,“女人”一词还有非本质特征,如身躯特征:“苗条的”、“轻盈的”;性格特征如:“温柔的”、“易动感情的”等等,这些特征是开放的,不确定的,随社会和个人因素而异。内涵意义是语言单位通过所指事物来传递的意义。


Words with without emotion
Words with/without Emotion J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (

Words that carry emotion:

  • Honesty, courage, traitor, deceit…

  • Love, hate, fear, joy, sorrow, damn, shit…

  • Sincere, hypocritical, wonderful, skinny…

    Words that do not carry emotion:

  • in, on, at, within,…

  • so, but, since, because, though…

  • A, an, the,…

  • Book, lamp, desk, window, door,…

  • Add, subtract, swim, run, read,…


Para 1

Questions: J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (

Why is the human mind unable to operate like a calculating machine?

What would happen to a word if the human mind indeed operates like a calculating machine, unaffected by emotion?

Our response to a word is not always rational. Can you explain it by an example?

What accounts for our irrational response to words? (e.g., dog)

When does a word acquire an emotive value?

Para.1


Key for reference
Key for reference J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (

1. Because the human mind is endowed with the ability to think and feel. Our reasoning process is prone to constant emotional interference.

4.It is due to the strong feeling that keeps interfering with our perception of things. Due to the work of emotion, the word “friend”, for example, which simply denotes companion or an associate, has the connotation of loyalty or affection. And “traitor” connotes revulsion and contempt. “viper” connotes disgust. These show that our reason will be at the mercy of our emotion.

5. A word acquires an emotive meaning when human reaction to the word is more or less the same. In other words, it is the frequency and uniformity of our emotional response to a word that eventually gives the word an emotive meaning. The writer points out that the emotional meaning to a word is not determined by the individual, but the fairly general response to it.


Paraphrase the following sentences
Paraphrase the following sentences J.S. Mill. The denotation of a term, e.g. ‘woman’, is all the individuals to which it correctly applies, e.g. Mrs Smith, Lady Gaga, etc. The connotation of terms consists in the attributes by which it is defined, e.g., being human, adult, female. A term’s connotation determines its denotation. According to Mill, connotation is taken to be meaning. Terms like proper names, e.g. “Diana”, which have denotation, since there is someone so called, but no connotation, since no attributes define “Diana”, are taken to lack meaning. (

  • 1. If the human mind were a strictly logical device like a calculating machine, it would deal with words simply as names of categories, and with categories as essential tools for imposing order and system on a universe which otherwise presents itself as an unsorted chaos of sense stimuli. (Paragraph 1)


  • If the human mind were a strictly logical device like a calculating machine, it would deal with words as names used to denote classes, groups or family of things or persons, and bring order and system by means of category to the world of human experience which otherwise would appear as a confused mess of sensation.

  • Could we improve this paraphrase?


  • 2. calculating machine, it would deal with words as names used to denote classes, groups or family of things or persons, and bring order and system by means of category to the world of human experience which otherwise would appear as a confused mess of sensation. Whenever the users of a language evince a fairly uniform emotional response to a given word, that response becomes part of the connotation, therefore part of the standard meaning of the word in that language. (Paragraph 1)



Paragraph 2
Paragraph 2 same, that reaction becomes part of the connotation, consequently part of the standard meaning of the word in that language.

  • Is there a topic sentence in the 2nd paragraph?

  • How does the author illustrate or support this point? Could you give more examples to prove it?

  • What does “watch you language!” mean and imply in paragraph 2?

  • (you must be careful about the choice of your words or expression. Mind what you say and how you say it.)

  • Explain: …there are words that snarl and words that purr and, of course, there are innumerable gradations in between.


  • What’s the difference between “informer” and “informant”, “sweat “and “perspiration”, “selective service” and “draft”?

  • To learn more about selective service or Draft, please consult the following websites:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Service_System ;

    http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/wars/a/draft2.htm

    informer: one who secretly accuses another, often for a reward Informant: one who gives or serves as a source of information

    sweat (n.& vi.): informal and colloquial

    Perspiration (n.): more formal and literary


Para 2
Para.2 “informant”, “sweat “and “perspiration”, “selective service” and “draft”?

  • Paraphrase and translate the following sentences:

  • 1. Not that it is always easy to distinguish the emotional response to a word itself from the emotional response to the class of things or concepts the word names.


  • It is not always easy to draw a line of demarcation between one’s emotional response to the word itself and emotional response to the class of things or concepts that very word designates.

  • It is not always easy to tell…from…

  • It is not always easy to draw a line between …and…

  • I don’t mean that it is always easy to …



  • He is usually not depriving you of your right to / speaking against your right to refer to the thing you’re referring to, but demand earnestly that you should refrain from using any expression that offend his ear or eye.  …而是郑重的要求你不要使用令人耳目不悦的表达方式。


  • 3 against your right to refer to the thing you’re referring to, but demand earnestly that you should refrain from using any expression that offend his ear or eye.  …(….sweat and perspiration produce the same demand for deodorant)— but the different words have different odors too, and the nose that is insensitive to their scent is apt to end up a punched nose; the ear that does not hear their harmonies and discords, a cauliflower ear.


  • The person who is insensitive to the stench contained in the word(s) is likely to get his nose punched and the person who is deaf to the offense contained in the word(s) he uses is likely to get his ear disfigured by those who take offense at the word(s), in other words, his ear would end up a cauliflower ear, a smashed ear.



Para 3
Para.3 emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.

  • Thou=you (subject case)

  • thee=you (object case)

  • Thy=your (possessive case)

  • Art=are

  • Dost=do

  • Knowst/accompaniest/consort’st


Montague emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.

Capulet

Romeo

Juliet

Benvolio

Tybalt

Mercutio


Questions
Questions emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.

  • How does paragraph 3 relate to paragraph 2? Is there any new point raised here?

  • In what way does the author organize this paragraph? And can we thus infer that narration and exposition are combined here?

  • Note the change of tense and explain the changes in the meaning of “consort” .


Para 4
Para.4 emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.

  • Topic: Different forms of the same basic verbal symbol will carry variant emotive charges.

  • Find in this paragraph the examples used to support this point, and explain their differences.

  • Emotional difference of the slightly different forms of the same word, e.g.:

manly

mannish

manlike

Womanly

Womanish

womanlike

Childish

childlike


Main idea of each paragraph
Main idea of each paragraph emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.

  • Para.1: words with/without emotion. Most words have connotative (emotive) meanings apart from denotative (literal) meanings.

  • Para.2: words bearing the same idea have different shades of meaning, and the user of a language loads words with his own feeling.

  • Para.3: words that have different denotation bear different flavors— commendatory, derogatory or neutral.

  • Para.4: words of the same basic verbal symbol carry variant emotive charges.


Reader and purpose
Reader and purpose emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.

  • Who do you think is the ideal reader of this article?

  • What is the main point argued by the author?


Analyze the text in terms of sentence types and their effects
Analyze the text in terms of sentence types and their effects

  • Sentences can be classified according to different criteria, such as:

  • complexity or the number of constituent clause– simple /multiple sentence (compound or complex, mixed sentence);

  • Length—long/short sentence;

  • position of subordinating clause—periodic /loose sentence;

  • conformity with the regular patterns of clause structure—major /minor sentence (e.g.: “If I listened to him!”; “Taxi!”; “Morning!”)


What point or semantic issue can you infer from the following case
What point or semantic issue can you infer from the following case?

  • “只生得个小姐, 小字莺莺”—(《西厢记》)

  • 阳光文化基金会主席杨澜小姐致辞

  • 只因问了一声“小姐,你住哪个房间?”宾馆保安被女顾客抓伤前胸,并遭到脚踢。


Written assignment
Written assignment following case?

  • Translate the following selected sections:

  • Para.1: Whenever the users of a language evince a fairly …to knockout force.

  •   But human reaction to words, like much other human behavior, is also motivated by irrational impulses such as those we label love, hate, joy, sorrow, fear, awe, and so forth. whenever the users of a language evince a fairly uniform emotional response to a given word, that response becomes part of the connotation, therefore part of the standard meaning of the word in that language


  • 3.  While the bulk of the vocabulary doubtless consists of words that carry little or no perceptible emotional charge (lamp, book, read, subtract, through), there are nevertheless a good man that produce reactions of various colors and shades, with voltages ranging from mild to knockout force.



  • 5.Today, although the minstrel connection no longer operates to arouse such a violent sense of insult, the word consort still had a somewhat derogatory flavor. (compare the phrase “consorting with known criminals”) as compared with the almost completely neutral associate, though both terms have the same denotation and the same linguistic connotation.


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