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Improving Vocabulary Word Connotation and Denotation RPDP Secondary Literacy Students will differentiate between word connotation and denotation.

RPDP Secondary Literacy Even though synonyms are said to be words with the same meaning, very few words have exactly the same meaning. Usage and connotation give words special meanings.

RPDP Secondary Literacy All words convey a literal meaning, the specific meaning found in a dictionary. This is called denotation. RPDP Secondary Literacy

DENOTATION THE LITERAL DEFINITION FOUND IN THE DICTIONARY. RPDP Secondary Literacy Many words,

however, stir up emotions or suggest associations. This is called connotation. RPDP Secondary Literacy CONNOTATION

AN IDEA, FEELING, OR EMOTION THAT A WORD CREATES FOR SOMEONE. RPDP Secondary Literacy Take the word shark, a marine carnivorous fish with large teeth. What do we associate with the word shark?

DANGER! Can you think of a single person who doesnt feel some fear at the very mention of this word? RPDP Secondary Literacy Writers have always been sensitive to the emotional power of words.

Writers who wish to create a more emotional response in their readers will choose words with a stronger connotation. RPDP Secondary Literacy The choice of words often reveals a writers attitude toward a subject.

Example: The boy seemed very youthful. The boy seemed very immature. RPDP Secondary Literacy Immature suggests that the boy is childish and juvenile. Using that word makes it

clear that the writers attitude is negative. Youthful just suggests he is young. RPDP Secondary Literacy Lets take a look at the words: trip and vacation. Both words have similar denotations, but vacation

has an extra level of meaning. It makes us feel a sense of freedom, relaxation, and fun. RPDP Secondary Literacy Understanding connotations is important because

some words have similar denotations but opposite connotations. RPDP Secondary Literacy The city was bustling with people during the holiday. RPDP Secondary Literacy

The city was mobbed with people during the holiday. RPDP Secondary Literacy http://www.urban75.org/photos/newyork/ny203.html In these examples, the words bustling and mobbed

both mean filled. However, bustling suggests a positive feeling of energy and excitement, while mobbed suggests a feeling of overcrowding and restricted movement. RPDP Secondary Literacy Which words have a more positive

connotation? Every October the old maple (paints, litters) the lawn with its falling leaves. The girl ran (courageously, recklessly) into the flaming barn to save her colt. We walked at a (leisurely, sluggish) pace. RPDP Secondary Literacy Every October the old

maple paints the lawn with its falling leaves. The girl ran courageously into the flaming barn to save her colt. We walked at a leisurely pace. RPDP Secondary Literacy The man and woman were retired

and living on a fixed income, which forced them to be very A. generous. B. cheap. C. careless. D. thrifty. RPDP Secondary Literacy How did you do?

Cheap and thrifty have close to the same dictionary meaning. However, the connotation of the word cheap is so different. Its almost like a criticism, while thrifty seems more like a natural description of a way someone is forced to live and implies a wise or careful use of whats available. RPDP Secondary Literacy

Lets say you want to describe someone. The first word that comes to your mind is loud. Now, you have to decide if loud is the best word to use in this situation. RPDP Secondary Literacy

From Rogets II, The New Thesaurus loud adjective 1. marked by extremely high volume: earsplitting, deafening, roaring 2. tastelessly showy: chintzy, flashy,

gaudy, tacky, garish 3. offensive in manner: unpleasant, aggressive, distasteful RPDP Secondary Literacy Negative There are over 3,000 vagrants in this city. Neutral

There are over 3,000 people with no fixed address in this city. Positive There are over 3,000 homeless in this city. RPDP Secondary Literacy All three expressions

refer to the same people, but they trigger different associations in a reader's mind: A vagrant is often seen as a public nuisance, while a homeless may have fallen into hard times. RPDP Secondary Literacy

Someone writing an editorial in support of a new shelter might use the positive form. Yet someone writing an editorial in support of anti-loitering laws would use the negative form.

RPDP Secondary Literacy The connotation of some words - or the attitudes we associate with them - can be seen in these pairs of words that are similar in meaning, but different in the positive or negative attitudes they evoke in most people. refreshing chilly plain natural clever sly

snob cultured cop officer skinny slender RPDP Secondary Literacy Positive Connotation: The child held tightly to his mother. Negative Connotation: The kid hung onto his mother.

RPDP Secondary Literacy The words child and held tightly sound more sensitive and compassionate than kid and hung onto. RPDP Secondary Literacy Positive Connotation: The doctor gave the child an injection.

Negative Connotation: The doctor gave the child a shot. RPDP Secondary Literacy Choose the word below that suggests a more positive connotation. The portions at the restaurant were A. sufficient B. adequate How did you do? RPDP Secondary Literacy

However Sufficient suggests exactly what is needed. While the word adequate implies barely enough. RPDP Secondary Literacy If you look up the words house and home in a dictionary, youd

find that both words have almost the same meaning "a dwelling place." However, the expression above suggests that home has an additional meaning. RPDP Secondary Literacy The feelings, images, and memories that surround a word make up its connotation.

Why do you think that real estate advertisers use the word home more frequently than house? RPDP Secondary Literacy The glass has shattered. The glass has cracked. Both words mean broken, but have different connotations. Cracked is less

severe than shattered. Shattered implies being broken violently into many pieces and beyond repair. Cracked implies its not completely destroyed. RPDP Secondary Literacy Hector was a _____________ teenager whose arms and legs seemed to get in his own way. Which of the following words has a less

flattering or more negative connotation? A. tall B. gangling RPDP Secondary Literacy The word gangling implies that someone is very tall and usually awkward. Tall just implies having

greater than ordinary height. RPDP Secondary Literacy There is nothing wrong with the old hotels in Las Vegas. However, many hotels are antiquated and should be replaced. Which of the following words has a more positive connotation?

A. old B. antiquated RPDP Secondary Literacy The word antiquated suggests the hotels are old-fashioned and out of date. Old merely suggests theyve been around for

a long time. How did you do? RPDP Secondary Literacy The audience ___________ when the master of ceremonies introduced the singer by the wrong name. Which of the following words has a less flattering or more negative connotation?

A. snickered B. chuckled RPDP Secondary Literacy The word snicker suggests laughing at someone in a smirking, unkind way. Chuckle suggests a more good natured type of laughter with someone.

RPDP Secondary Literacy My neighbor is always ________ dressed when she goes out. Which of the following words has a more flattering connotation? A. nicely How did you do?

B. impeccably RPDP Secondary Literacy The word impeccable suggests flawless, elegant, and close to perfect. While the word nice is also a compliment, it suggests neat, presentable, and

suitable and is not quite as strong. RPDP Secondary Literacy Connotation is the emotional association surrounding a word. Denotation is the strict dictionary meaning of a word.

RPDP Secondary Literacy Copyright Notice Permission is granted to copy (unmodified) all or part of this PowerPoint for educational, personal, noncommercial use off-line as long as the copyright message (Copyright 2006 by Jill Leone) is maintained on the title page. This material may not be sold, duplicated on other websites, incorporated in commercial documents or products, or used for promotional purposes.

Copyright 2006 by Jill M. Leone RPDP Secondary Literacy

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