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Language - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Language. Chapter 12. Language. System of verbal or gestural symbols a community uses to communicate with one another. Semantic triangle. Thought. Symbol. Referent. Language Choices. Concrete Words Refers to tangible object, person, place or thing Abstract Words

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Chapter 12

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  • System of verbal or gestural symbols a community uses to communicate with one another

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Semantic triangle




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Language Choices

  • Concrete Words

    • Refers to tangible object, person, place or thing

  • Abstract Words

    • Refers to ideas or concepts but not to specific objects

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Abstract vs. Concrete Language

Physical activity Abstract



Professional golf

Tiger Woods Concrete

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  • Fixed, distinctive expression whose meaning is not indicated by its individual words

  • Examples:

    • Horsing around

    • Busy as a beaver

    • Face the music

    • Give the cold shoulder

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Improve Accuracy of Language

  • Check definitions of words being used

  • Work with someone who has strong language skills

  • Study the language

  • Learn pronunciation

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Oral Style

  • Reflects the spoken rather than the written word

  • Oral style is more

    • Interactive

    • Casual

    • Repetitive

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Spoken Language

  • Is interactive

    • speakers make adjustments as they speak

    • speakers monitor interest & understanding

    • speakers ask or respond to questions

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Spoken Language

  • Is casual

    • writing more rule governed

    • speakers use contractions & colloquialisms

    • speakers run words together

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Spoken Language

  • Is repetitive

    • speakers repeat main ideas & arguments

    • speakers summarize main points

    • speakers restate important arguments

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  • An explicit comparison of two things that uses the word like or as

    “Air pollution is eating away at the monuments in Washington, D.C., like a giant Alka-Seltzer tablet.”

-- from the original radio broadcast of War of the Worlds

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  • Comparison between two things not using like or as

  • Emphasizes similarities

    “America’s cities are the windows through which the world looks at American society.” ~ Henry Cisneros

-- Mario Cuomo, 1984 DNC Address

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Student Video Example

Tara Flanagan;

Descriptive Language

(20 sec.)

Click image to play video; “alt” & “enter” keys for full screen.

Windows Media Player required

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Mixed Metaphor

  • Makes illogical comparisons between two or more things

  • Example

    • "He stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horns“

    • "People who skate on thin ice are likely to find themselves in hot water"

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  • Attribute human characteristics to animals, objects, or concepts

-- Bruce Sutter, Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Address

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  • Arrangement of words into patterns so sounds of words together enhance meaning of phrase

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  • Arrange related words so they are balanced

  • Arrange related sentences so they have identical structures

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Parallelism example

“The denial of human rights anywhere is a threat to human rights everywhere. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~Jesse Jackson

-- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

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  • Repeat keywords or phrases at the beginnings or endings of sentences or clauses

“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.” ~ G.W. Bush

Robert F. Kennedy, Announcing the death of Martin Luther King

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (delivered by Jeff Daniels)

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Student Video Example

Ogena Agbim;

Repetition & Contrast

(1 min.)

Click image to play video; “alt” & “enter” keys for full screen.

Windows Media Player required

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  • Repetition of a particular sound in a sentence or phrase

- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

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Alliteration example

“We should not demean our democracy with the politics of distraction, denial, and despair.”

~Al Gore

- Bill Clinton, 1992 Democratic National Convention

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Mnemonic Device

  • Rhyme, phrase, or other verbal device that makes information easier to remember

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  • Place words & phrases in contrast or opposition to one another

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Antithesis example

“Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens at the White House but on what happens inside your house”

~ Barbara Bush

-- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address