Chapter 3: The Emotive Function of Language

Chapter 3: The Emotive Function of Language Denotation, Connotation, and Cognitive Meaning (p. 18) The denotation of a term consists of all the objects picked out by the term. The connotation of a term consists of those properties (characteristics) a thing has in virtue of which it is contained in the denotation.

Denotation, Connotation, and Cognitive Meaning (p. 18) Types of Connotations The objective connotation consists of all the properties objects in the denotation have in common (whether or not anyone knows what they are). The subjective connotation consists of all the properties you use to pick out the objects in the denotation. The conventional connotation consists of all the properties a group of people use to pick out the

objects in the denotation. The conventional connotation is what you usually find in a dictionary. Denotation, Connotation, and Cognitive Meaning (p. 18) Cognitive meaning alludes to the connotation of a term in any one of the three previous senses. The cognitive meaning tells you what the characteristics of a thing are. Emotional Connotations of Words

(pp. 18-21) Different words with the same or approximately the same cognitive meaning can affect you in different ways. Does it make any emotional difference whether you describe someone as a killer, a soldier, or a military hero? Euphemisms Death is nasty. It is much better to pass away. Euphemisms disguise the negative emotional impact of unambiguous terms such as death.

Why noticing emotional connotations is important (pp. 20-21) Biases Biases can blind a person regarding what is seen (Chapter 10) or what is important (Chapter 11). The choice of words can show ones biases regarding a person, a group, an organization,

or an object. Positive and negative biases should be taken into account in evaluating the accuracy and completeness of descriptions (Chapter 4) and the evidence presented to support a position. Why noticing emotional connotations is important (pp. 20-21) Emotional terms and arguments Arguments provide reasons to accept the truth of a claim (the conclusion). Only factual

claims are relevant to accepting the truth of a claim. Weasel Words: There are words such as of course or certainly that have positive emotional connotations and suggest that there is evidence even when none is presented.

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