Semantics Essay Research Paper

Semantics Essay, Research Paper

- Abstraction – to move to a different level, leaving characteristics out

- Agreements – harmony of opinions or feelings

- Allness Attitude – someone who believes they know ALL about a topic or object

- Analogy – a complex metaphor when all items are expressed as words

- Argument from absurd extremes – using unrealistic extremes in arguments

- Argument form definitions – using your own definitions of words in an argument

- Argumentum ad hominem – argument to the man

- Aristotelian System – the system of thought originally brought upon by Aristotle

- Autosuggestion – repeating little sayings to oneself such as “I like me”

- “Bandwagon” technique – the human desire to do what everyone else is doing

- Begging the question – “I don’t like radishes because the taste awful” (obvious)

- “Big lie” technique – if a lie is preposterous enough, everyone will assume it is true

- “Card stacking” technique – using numbers and figures to prove an argument

- Classifying – to put an object into a group with a specific label

- “Common enemy” technique – scaring people using an enemy that scares most everyone

- Concrete poetry – poetry in which shape has to do with its meaning

- Connotation – the emotions that are brought upon by a word

- Contexts – the manner in which a word is used

- Dating – offering dates to the descriptions of objects or people

- Denotation – the dictionary definition of a word

- “Ear mindedness” – someone who learns easily by hearing

- Ecology – study of how living things are relates to their environment

- “Either-or-thinking” – thinking that there are only two solutions to a problem

- Elementalism – tendency to let words make us think of things in isolation

- “Etc.” – … on and so on

- Euphemism – substitution of an inoffensive term for an offensive one

- Extensional devices – small additions to writing and speaking to make yourself clear

- Extensional orientation – the world outside our head

- Eye mindedness – being able to learn easily by seeing

- False analogy – an analogy that does not adequately compare two objects

- Faulty contradiction – when both parties in an argument are wrong

- Faulty syllogism – using false accusations to prove a point

- General semantics – the group of principles that Korzybski coined

- Glittering generalities – statements that often re flashy to make up for lack of substance

- Gobbledegook – writing that does not express itself fluently or understandably

- Grammarian – a person who studies grammar

- Guilty by association –guilty of a crime because of association with the true guilty party

- Indexing – giving a label to objects in order to avoid confusion

- Inferences – an assumption made from statements or comments made

- Institute of General Semantics – a major semantic institute in Connecticut

- Intensional orientation – the world within our heads

- International Society for General Semantics – a major semantic institute in California

- Jumping to conclusions – evaluating a situation before viewing all evidence

- Korzybski, Alfred – a famous semanticist/philosopher who studied many semantic topics

- Laws of thought – simple syllogisms such as “If anything is A, then it is A”

- Lexicographer – one who makes long lists of words and definitions

- Magic Words – words used mainly for their connotations; often lack meaningful denotations; they are used to get us to behave in certain ways-marvously effective.

- Maps and territories – the words, ideas, and images in our heads are like maps of the territories that lie outside our skins.

- Meanings of words – meanings are not found in words- they are found in people’s heads. (there is a difference between word meanings and peoples meanings)

- Metaphor – involves the comparison of two things that are essentially unlike- it is a comparison make by the mind, not by noticing true similarities in the extensional world.

- Multi-valued orientations – semantic sanity depends on this because it reminds us that we cannot know all the possibilities in any situation.

- Mumbo jumbo – kind of verbal voodoo that pollutes advertising and politics-often very meaningless.

- Name-calling – smearing of ones opponents with negative labels is an old tradition in American politics.

- Non-Aristotelian system – the laws of thought are associated with the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Korzybski believed that most traditional thinking reflected what he called an Aristotelian system. To describe his own modern, scientific system, he chose the term non-Aristotelian, or non-a.

- Non-verbal communication – communicating without words.

- Observations – “facts” we know from personal experience.

- Operational definitions – tells us what to do to experience the thing defined.

- Perception – the way we gain knowledge of the world through our five senses.

- “Plain folks” technique – using a common touch to appeal to the average person.

- Post hoc ergo propter hoc – after the fact, therefore because of the fact.

- Projection – “ throwing own map onto the territory” seeing the territory to be like his particular map.

- Propaganda – “ good word with a bad reputation” a tool for good or bad purposes (public relations).

- Propaganda techniques – “ soft soap, big lie, glittering generality transfer, testimonial, quoting out of context, name calling, plain folks, fancy figures, card stacking, bandwagon, repetition, appeal to fear and prejudice, two-valued orientation, selling the image, the common enemy, presenting inferences, word magic.”

- Psitiacism – production of meaningless speech sounds to fit the occasion.

- Quotes- indicate that we can not know all about the vague words that often mean different things to different people.

- Reification – turning a “non-thing” into a “thing”. We reify when we think of ideas and qualities as “real” things, objects to see and touch.

- Reports – statements that are far removed from our own experience. Historical “facts”

- Science and Sanity – book in which Korzybski set forth the group of principles that he termed General Semantics.

- Self-adjustment – each person’s individuality should be recognized. He himself should not try the impossible to be a copy of someone else. He should realize that what entitles him to respect are his private mental maps.

- Self-fulfilling prophecy – term or statement that becomes true in the future simply because we believe it to be true today.

- Self-image – every individual knows himself in the same way he knows anything else, through the mental maps in his head.

- Selling the image – politicians put images before issues- they vote for individuals, not messages.

- Semantic reactions – his complete reaction as a complicated human being- it may or may not include words.

- Semantics – the study of the relationships that exist among human beings, the word symbols they use, and the world they live in.

- Sign – command an action or announce the presence of a person or thing.

- Soft soap technique – flattery, insincere compliments from advertising.

- Space signals – “formal and informal” distance, size signals, used to communicate with out words.

- Stereotyped thinking – assuming that a cause has only one important effect.

- Structural differential – device to show the many complicated relationships among human beings, words, and things.

- Syllogism – time-honored form of argument with two premises or statements and a conclusion.

- Symbol – words of other devices that stand for something else.

- Testimonial – recommendation by a well-known person.

- Time signals – time can be used to communicate, often we speak of in terms of money. “Spend our time, save our time, waste our time.”

- Transfer – if a politician makes a speech under a picture of Abraham Lincoln, his aim is obvious- to transfer some of the famousness to himself.

- Triangulation – we miss complications unless we force ourselves to look for 3 way patterns, not simply 2 way patterns

- Two-valued orientation – a serious kind of mental disability either- or- thinking.

- Unconscious communication – a critical question about unconscious behavior is what other people project into out actions.

- Value judgment – opinions, seldom factual but are thought to be true

- Verbal barking – use of words as weapons- used either to impress or frighten others.

- Verbal pollution – like the air we breathe, our verbal environment can become polluted- it fills us with false fears, warps our ability to think straight.

- Verbal questions – the answer depended not on the evidence but on the definition of instinct.

Word magic – words selected only to suit propagandistic purposes- convey opinions and emotions.


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