FOUR AREAS OF LANGUAGE USE ARE IMPORTANT TO CRITICAL THINKING • Word Choice • Ambiguity • Definition • Intensity
WORD CHOICE • The English language contains 500,000 usable words . • 500 most common words have a combined total of more than 14,000 different meanings. • The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis maintains that the words of a particular language help to determine the way that people interpret events that occur. • The hypothesis theorizes that thoughts and behavior are determined/influenced by language. • Word choice al ows us to indirectly express our real feelings. • Words affect the way an audience reacts to an argument
AMBIGUITY • Ambiguous language runs the risk of being misunderstood. • Ambiguous means a word or phrase has more than one meaning. • Euphemism is a less direct term, used in place of a more specific term which can be considered offensive. • Euphemisms are used to clean up one’s language and should be used sparingly. • Euphemisms can increase the ambiguity level. • Doublespeak = makes the bad seem goo, the negative appear positive, unpleasant appears attractive. It conceals or prevents thought.
AMBIGUOUS LANGUAGE • Causes confusion • Leads to over-generalizing/stereo-typing • Leads to bypassing
DEFINITION • The primary function of a definition is to get the sender and receiver on the same semantic wavelength in order to avoid unnecessary semantic hurdles that prevent a discussion of more important issues. • Used to indicate the sense in which you use a familiar term.
MEANINGS • Denotative meaning = refers to the way a word is general y used. • Connotative meaning= refers to the way a person emotional y responds to it. This is an important part of human communication.
INTENSITY OF LANGUAGE • Refers to the use of words and phrases that often raise the emotional level of any communication encounter. • Intensity of language can be found in one of the three areas = (negative evaluate words, strong emotive words, or abusive language)
IMPACT OF LANGUAGE ON CRITICAL THINKING • Language is related to audience attention and comprehension • Language is related to audience acceptance and rejection of an argument. • Language affects arguer credibility. • Language determines how people interpret their environment.
CONCLUSION • Language choice must be matched with time, place, person and occasion for which the language is intended. • Using correct language can enhance credibility and claim adherence. Using incorrect, can damage credibility and lead to rejection of the position being advanced.