Diction and Tone. ESL 015 Wenli Zhang. What’s your understanding of this sentence?. “T he difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ”. Diction. What is diction?. What is good diction?.
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ESL 015 Wenli Zhang
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ”
What is denotation?
any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles having a long, tapering, cylindrical body and found in most tropical and temperate regions
Denotation: literal meaning --- dictionary definition
evil or danger
Connotation: secondary meaning --- associations or emotional overtones that words have acquired (tone and attitude)
Tip: Deciding which to use depends largely on the connotations.
E.g. mob, crowd, multitude, bunch
---- There was a _______ at the lecture.
Is the language abstract or concrete?
Should I use general or specific word?
When to use jargons?
Is the diction formal or informal?
Love, soda, wisdom, pretty, pancake, freedom, moral, spoon, table, success
Abstract words --- things nobody can touch, see, or hear. (opinions or ideas)
Concrete words --- things can touch, see, hear, smell, and taste (facts)
unconvincing and tiresome
mundane and dry
Abstract Words Concrete Words
You cannot argue about concrete things (facts)
E.g. Drug / Marijuana
Topic? Thesis? Why?
General & Specific words --- context
E.g. Food > dessert > chocolate cream pie
When to use which?
Jargon (technical language) --- special vocabulary of a trade or profession
These small blue figures are called shabtis (pronounced shabtees). They are made of faience, a type of glazed pottery. Shabtis were believed to help people who died. They were placed in tombs to be servants in the afterlife, working for the dead. Hundreds of shabtis have been found in kings’ tombs. These shabtis are holding hoes used by farmers for digging. They are standing like wrapped mummies, ready to work in the afterlife.
Mummy Mask of Paser
One assumes that the mummy of Paser, which has not survived to this day, was clad in a cartonnage ensemble, to which this mask belonged. The features are idealizing and not to be regarded as a likeness, or portrait, of Paser. The mummy, once enveloped in that ensemble, was doubtless placed into Paser’s anthropoid sarcophagus which is on display in this gallery as well. The gilding has a distinctly reddish hue and recalls contemporary ancient Egyptian texts from the New Kingdom which mention “the gold which bled.” It is apparent, therefore, that the ancient Egyptians recognized this property of their gold and appreciated it.
(Informational wall placard)
This guy, Hewson, right, he says that people that speak English, like native speakers, don’t think about when to use words like ‘the’, they just do it.
Hewson (1972, p. 132) has called the English article system a ‘psychomechanism’, through which native speakers use articles correctly but unconsciously.
(Miller, JL 2005, ‘Most of ESL students have trouble with the articles’, International Education Journal , ERC2004 Special Issue, vol., 5, no. 5, pp. 80-88)
Formal language is usually used in speeches; reports, essays, and most other nonfiction writings.
Informal language is more generally used in everyday language --- slang or idioms
Group of three
Each group will get a worksheet.
Finish the worksheet together
What is tone?
Tone is the attitude a writer takes towards the subject and the audience.
It is revealed through diction.
ALWAYS use an adjective when describing diction and tone.____ diction contributes to the ____ tone.