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Dr. Jay
VerLinden
Communication
Department
College of Arts, Humanities
and Social Sciences
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Argumentation and Critical Thinking Tutorial

 

LANGUAGE

Quick Review

abstract language : language that is more vague or general in what it refers to, so it's harder to tell what is meant.

asking questions to replace statements : a questionable use of language in which an arguer asks questions to get the audience to supply evidence, instead of providing the evidence for a claim.

bipolar thinking: a questionable use of language that uses language in a way that leads people to think in either-or dichotomies instead of recognizing a continuum of choices or a range of options.

bypassing : a communication problem that happens when two people think they're talking about the same thing, but they really aren't.

concrete language: language that is more specific in what it refers to, so it's easier to tell what is meant.

connotative meanings : the personal, emotional reactions individuals associate with words and phrases.

denotative meanings : dictionary-like meanings people have for words and phrases.

hyperbole : figurative language that uses gross exaggeration to make a point.

idioms : language that uses phrases that refer to one thing or event in terms of something unrelated, with no implied comparison between the two.

inferences: statements that are conclusions about something based on information the person making the statement knows.

irony: using language that says something that is literally the opposite of what is meant.

I statements : statements that identify ideas as personal opinions or perceptions rather than as undisputed facts.

jargon : a questionable use of language that uses language that can only be understood by experts in the field or members of a particular group to hide meaning or intimidate others.

judgments : statements that express a personal opinion, usually explicitly or implicitly evaluating something.

language creates and separates communities: a characteristic of language that means that the way language is used helps people think of themselves as sharing membership in a group and helps them think of others as outside of their group.

language frames experience , a characteristic of language that means that the way we talk about things affects the way we think about them, and what we expect.

language is ambiguous : a characteristic of language that means there are often multiple possible interpretations of utterances.

language is figurative : a characteristic of language that means that the way people naturally use language is often not literal.

language is imprecise: a characteristic of language that means people often use language that is not very specific, when more specific language is available.

metaphor : language that characterizes one subject with terms that literally apply to another subject, making an implicit comparison between the two subjects.

puffery: a questionable use of language in which a claim is made to sound more important than it really is.

reports : statements of fact that are capable of being verified.

sloganeering: a questionable use of language that happens when an arguer uses catch-phrases to substitute for the content of argument.

symbol: something that a group of language users agree stands for something else.

symbols are arbitrary: the sounds and shapes groups of people agree stand for some meaning have no inherent connection to the things and concepts for which they stand.

weasel words: a questionable use of language that uses language to make it appear like more is being claimed than is literally said.

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