Ling 21 - Lecture 5 - Language

Ling 21 - Lecture 5 - Language - Linguistics 21: Lecture 5:...

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Linguistics 21: Lecture 5: LANGUAGE, POWER, AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
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Precision: To communicate clearly To defend one’s claims without room for confusion or misinterpretation To assess the truth of premises presented to us in the arguments of others
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Imprecise Language Vague – Vague words have meanings that are fuzzy and inexact, and thus have debatable applications. Overgeneral Overgenerality occurs when language is too broad and unspecific. Ambiguous Ambiguity involves words (‘semantic ambiguity’) or sentences (‘syntactic ambiguity’) that have two or more distinct meanings in a particular context.
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Vagueness / Overgenerality / Ambiguity 1. No cruising on this street. 2. Headline: Need Plain Clothes Security: Must have Shoplifting Experience 3. Weather forecast: Cloudy with a chance of rain. 4. Headline: Advice to Teachers and Parents on Drugs 5. He ate his cheesecake with relish. 6. Sign: Dogs must be carried on escalator.
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Vagueness / Overgenerality / Ambiguity 1. With her enormous bottom exposed to the sky, Ellen watched Titanic slowly sink. 2. Bob told Devlin he was hot. 3. Headline: Former Concentration Camp Guard Helps Burn Victims 4. 3 + 5 x 3 = ? 5. Headline: British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands. 6. She cannot bear children.
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Vagueness / Overgenerality / Ambiguity 1. Politician: We need a tax code that is fair to working families. I intend to introduce appropriate legislation that achieves this end. 2. Parent: Where are you going? Kid: Out. Parent: When will you be back? Kid: Later. 3. Headline: Teacher Strikes Idle Kids 4. Cricket rule: It is unfair for any member of the fielding side to waste time. 5. Headline: Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over 6. Never withhold herpes infection from a loved one.
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DISPUTES Verbal dispute: occurs when people appear to disagree on an issue but actually have simply not resolved the ambiguity of a key term. Factual dispute: occurs when opponents disagree not over the meanings of words but over the relevant facts.
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Verbal Dispute or Factual Dispute? 1. Tracy: Sue is really religious. She reads her Bible and prays every day. Mark: She isn’t religious, She never goes to church. 2. Paul: This is a maple tree. I know because it’s just like the one in my backyard. Amy: Bull! Maple trees don’t have acorns! 3. Mike: We better leave now. Coach said the game starts at 1:00. Linda: We have plenty of time. The game starts at 4:00.
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1. Prosecutor: The defendant was neither legally insane nor coerced when he shot Frank Smith, mistaking him for a porcupine. Thus, the defendant acted freely. Defense attorney: Your honor, my client shot Frank Smith accidentally, not intentionally. So my client did not act freely. 2.
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course LING 21 at San Jose State University .

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Ling 21 - Lecture 5 - Language - Linguistics 21: Lecture 5:...

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