Language and Critical Thinking<br />By Katherine Driscoll<br />
Language and Critical Thinking<br />The critical thinker meets the needs and expectations of the audience.<br />The langua...
Four Areas of Language<br />Word choice<br />Ambiguity<br />Definition<br />Intensity<br />
Word Choice<br />Words chosen must resonate with the audience.<br />Remember: Not everyone uses language in the same way!<...
Word Choice<br />The Impact of Wrong Word Choice:<br /><ul><li>1945: Allies ask Japan to surrender
Prime Minister of Japan uses the word mokusatsu
Meaning 1: “no comment”
Meaning 2: “to ignore
Western press thinks Japan chooses to ignore
USA drops atomic bombs to punish Japan</li></li></ul><li>Ambiguity<br />The goal is to have the target audience understand...
Ambiguity<br />Euphemisms – alternative words that “soften” the impact of offensive words <br />May lead to misunderstandi...
Ambiguity<br />Problems caused by ambiguity:<br />Confused audience – can be genuine or intentional (ex/ when advertisers ...
Definition<br />Denotative vs. Connotative Meaning:<br />Denotative – the most commonly understood meaning of a word<br />...
Definition<br />Types of Definitions:<br />Dictionary Definition<br />Operational Definition<br />Ex/ A “good car” is reli...
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Language and Critical Thinking by K. Driscoll

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Language and Critical Thinking by K. Driscoll

  1. 1. Language and Critical Thinking<br />By Katherine Driscoll<br />
  2. 2. Language and Critical Thinking<br />The critical thinker meets the needs and expectations of the audience.<br />The language should be appropriate to the time, place, person and occasion. <br />
  3. 3. Four Areas of Language<br />Word choice<br />Ambiguity<br />Definition<br />Intensity<br />
  4. 4. Word Choice<br />Words chosen must resonate with the audience.<br />Remember: Not everyone uses language in the same way!<br />Whorf-Saphir hypothesis:<br />Language shapes how one interprets an event.<br />Language is a filter that shapes how you think.<br />
  5. 5. Word Choice<br />The Impact of Wrong Word Choice:<br /><ul><li>1945: Allies ask Japan to surrender
  6. 6. Prime Minister of Japan uses the word mokusatsu
  7. 7. Meaning 1: “no comment”
  8. 8. Meaning 2: “to ignore
  9. 9. Western press thinks Japan chooses to ignore
  10. 10. USA drops atomic bombs to punish Japan</li></li></ul><li>Ambiguity<br />The goal is to have the target audience understand the message.<br />Specificity is valued over ambiguous word choice.<br />Ambiguity may result in misunderstanding.<br />
  11. 11. Ambiguity<br />Euphemisms – alternative words that “soften” the impact of offensive words <br />May lead to misunderstanding<br />Jargon – words known only to a select crowd<br />May exclude some members of the audience<br />Doublespeak – language that conceals or prevents what you truly mean<br />Ex/ misleading statements, sarcasm<br />
  12. 12. Ambiguity<br />Problems caused by ambiguity:<br />Confused audience – can be genuine or intentional (ex/ when advertisers trick you with word choice)<br />Over-generalization and stereotyping<br />Bypassing – using the same word to mean different things, or using different words to mean the same thing<br />
  13. 13. Definition<br />Denotative vs. Connotative Meaning:<br />Denotative – the most commonly understood meaning of a word<br />Ex/ “mother” is the woman who gives birth/raises a child<br />Connotative – a person’s emotional response <br />Ex/ “mother” may suggest thoughts of kindness, trust, love <br />OR<br />Ex/ “mother” may suggest thoughts of depression, fear, hate<br />
  14. 14. Definition<br />Types of Definitions:<br />Dictionary Definition<br />Operational Definition<br />Ex/ A “good car” is reliable and gets good MPG.<br />Definition by Example<br />Ex/ A “good car” is a Honda or a Toyota.<br />
  15. 15. Definition<br />Types of Definitions:<br />Definition by Negation<br />Ex/ A “good car” is not one that breaks down.<br />Definition by Etymology<br />- defining a word by its historical roots<br />Specific Definition<br />- useful for idioms or slang terms<br />
  16. 16. Intensity of Language<br />Avoid using the following types of words:<br />Negative Evaluative Words<br />Ex/ ugly, fat, weird, stupid, strange, etc.<br />Strong Emotive Words<br />- words that clearly show a speaker’s bias<br />Abusive Language<br />- name calling, obscenity, insults, swear words, etc.<br />
  17. 17. Impact of Language on Critical Thinking<br />What type of language will your audience understand?<br />What words will help or hurt you in making your point?<br />What type of language will increase your credibility as a speaker?<br />What language symbols are most appropriate for decoding your message?<br />
  18. 18. Just For Fun…<br />

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