Language use


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Language use

  1. 1. LANGUAGE USE Using Appropriate Language
  2. 2. CLICHÉS: AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE!  Cliché—an overused expression that no longer communicates effectively.  It is better to come up with new, fresh expressions than used overused ones  Examples Calm before the storm Dead as a doornail Easy as Pie Green-eyed monster Jack of all trades Kill two birds with one stone Law of the land The road to hell is paved with good intentions  Slept like a log  Hindsight is 20/20        
  3. 3. OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE  Offensive Language—language that could potentially offend readers Should not be in formal academic writing or business writing  Avoid all profanity and vulgarity  This will help you come across professionally to your audience (build credibility)  Profanity and vulgarity can be appropriate in more creative forms of writing, depending on the audience and purpose.
  4. 4. OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE Profanity and vulgarity can be appropriate in more creative forms of writing, dependin g on the audience and purpose.
  5. 5. STANDARD ENGLISH  Standard English—the generally accepted language of people in academic, the business world, and other contexts where correct usage is expected.  It is standard because it conforms to established rules of grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling.  People are often judged based on how well their writing conforms to this standard.
  6. 6. FORMALIT Y  The level of formality reflects the writer’s tone, his/her attitude toward his/her subject and audience. The tone may be highly formal, very informal, or somewhat in between. Less Formal Texting Journaling Email to a family member More Formal Essay for a class Graduate thesis
  7. 7. FORMALIT Y  Informal writing—uses words and sentence constructions close to speech (like slang, colloquialisms, religionisms) and vague word choice. Uses first and second person, contractions, sentence fragments, and simple word choice.  It should not be used in academic writing.
  8. 8. FORMALIT Y  Formal writing— scholarly and sophisticated, uses technical words, complex sentence structures, and often third person. Not reflective of speech.  Hint: You’ll want to know the difference between formal and informal writing.
  9. 9. CONNOTATION AND DENOTATION  Sometimes, words mean exactly what we think, and sometimes they carry baggage that can affect the our interpretation of them.  Denotation—the dictionary definition of a word (You can remember it because both denotation and dictionary begin with d).
  10. 10. CONNOTATION AND DENOTATION  Connotation—the implied meaning that is associated with a word. It conveys an attitude or emotional overtones (positive or negative) beyond the literal definition .  Do the words below have positive or negative meanings? • • Group 1: Thin, slim, lanky, slender, gaunt, skinny Group 2: Shrewd, bright, clever, brilliant, cunning, smart, intelligent, brainy
  11. 11. WHAT IS BIASED LANGUAGE? Biased Language—This is language that can potentially offend certain groups of people based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, political interest, or race Often occurs with gender (sexist language)
  12. 12. SEXIST LANGAUGE  Many of the modern masculine terms in use today originated as gender neutral terms in Old English  More awareness of social ef fects of this language use in the 20 th centur y  Advocates of non-sexist language, including many feminists, argue that traditional language fails to reflect the presence of women in society adequately:       Over-use of gender-specific pronouns like "he" Use of "man" to refer to all people Over-use of gender-specific job titles Use of Miss and Mrs. non-parallel usage, such as "man and wife" Stereotypical words such as virile and ladylike  Advocates of non-sexist language say that sexist language:  It marginalizes women and create the impression of a male -dominated society  It’s patronizing, for example treating women only as marriage material  It perpetuates stereotypes about the "correct" way for a man or woman to behave
  13. 13. BIASED LANGUAGE EXAMPLES  Generic Use—Although MAN in its original sense carried the dual meaning of adult human and adult male, its meaning has come to be so closely identified with adult male that the generic use of MAN and other words with masculine markers should be avoided .  Original: mankind  Alternatives: humanity, people, human beings  Original: man's achievements  Alternative: human achievements  Original: man-made  Alternatives: synthetic, manufactured, machine -made  Original: the common man  Alternatives: the average person, ordinary people  Original: nine man-hours  Alternative: nine staff-hours
  14. 14. BIASED LANGUAGE EXAMPLES (CONT.)  O c c u p a t i o n s — Av o i d t h e u s e o f M A N i n o c c u p a t i o n a l te r m s w h e n p e r s o n s h o l d i n g t h e j o b c o u l d b e e i t h e r m a l e o r fe m a l e .  Original: businessman  Alternatives: business executive, business person  Original: fireman  Alternative: firefighter  Original: mailman  Alternative: mail carrier  Original: chairman  Alternatives: coordinator (of a committee or department), moderator (of a meeting), presiding officer, the head of the committee  Original: policeman and policewoman  Alternative: police officer  Original: congressman  Alternative: congressional representative These examples were taken from
  15. 15. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH BIASED LANGUAGE?  Biased language can alienate potential readers.  If you alienate your readers, you lose credibility. Without their faith in your words, you have lost your audience and cannot effectively convey your message.