The emotive component of meaning
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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

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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


The emotive component of 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 terms 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

Lion:

  • A kind of large meat-eating animal

  • fierce; wild; cruel; powerful

    Snake:

  • length, poison, death

  • Disgusting, fear

    Crow:

  • Black

  • Disgusting, sorrow


The emotive component of meaning

  • Linguistic meaning


The emotive component of meaning

  • connotative meaning:

    [+] [ -] [+]


Words with without emotion

Words with/without Emotion

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:

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

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

  • 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)


The emotive component of meaning

  • 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?


The emotive component of meaning

  • 2. 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)


The emotive component of meaning

  • When the users reaction to a word is more or less the same, that reaction becomes part of the connotation, consequently part of the standard meaning of the word in that language.


Paragraph 2

Paragraph 2

  • 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.


The emotive component of meaning

  • Whats 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

  • 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.


The emotive component of meaning

  • It is not always easy to draw a line of demarcation between ones 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 tellfrom

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

  • I dont mean that it is always easy to


The emotive component of meaning

  • 2.He is usually not attacking your right to refer to the thing(s) you are referring to, but only urging you to abstain from an expression that in itself, quite apart form its denotation and linguistic connotation, is offensive to his ear or eye. (Paragraph 2)


The emotive component of meaning

  • He is usually not depriving you of your right to / speaking against your right to refer to the thing youre referring to, but demand earnestly that you should refrain from using any expression that offend his ear or eye.


The emotive component of meaning

  • 3(.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 emotive component of meaning

  • 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.


The emotive component of meaning

  • It implies that different words carry different degree of emotional charge, positive or negative. Inappropriate use of certain words, therefore, may cause embarrassment and serious result.


Para 3

Para.3

  • Thou=you (subject case)

  • thee=you (object case)

  • Thy=your (possessive case)

  • Art=are

  • Dost=do

  • Knowst/accompaniest/consortst


The emotive component of meaning

Montague

Capulet

Romeo

Juliet

Benvolio

Tybalt

Mercutio


Questions

Questions

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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);

  • Lengthlong/short sentence;

  • position of subordinating clauseperiodic /loose sentence;

  • conformity with the regular patterns of clause structuremajor /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?

  • , ()


Written assignment

Written assignment

  • 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


The emotive component of meaning

  • 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.


The emotive component of meaning

  • 4. 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 emotive component of meaning

  • 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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