Speech Study Guide

however it is not. Language is arbitrary. There is not necessarily any literal connection between a word and the thing it represents. For a word to have meaning, it must be recognized by both or all parties as standing for a particular object, idea, or feeling. Language is also abstract. Two people might interpret the same word differently. Language also changes over time. New words are constantly being invented and existing words, abandoned or assigned new meanings. Some words become obsolete because the thing they represent becomes obsolete. The use of accurate language is crucial to effective speaking because it helps to make a speaker intelligible or clearly understood. If listeners don’t understand what a speaker means then the attempt to communicate is doomed. To help ensure that language is accurate, there are three concepts to examine for how they are interpreted: denotation, connotation, and dialect. Denotation is a word’s explicit definition. In some situations, the denotative meaning of a word may not be clear. Dictionary definitions reflect current and past practices in the language community. Another reason for confusion is that dictionaries offer more than one definition for a given word. Words are defined differently in various dictionaries and may include multiple meanings that may also change over time. Meanings also vary depending on the context , which is the position of a word in a sentence and its relationship to the words around it. Connotation is the positive, neutral, or negative feelings or evaluations that can be associated with a word. Perception of a word’s connotation may be even more important than its denotation in how the word is interpreted. Ogden and Richards were among the first scholars to consider the misunderstandings that result from failure of communicators to realize their subjective reactions are the product of their life experiences. Connotations give emotional power to words, so much so, that people may choose to fight and die for them. They increase the emotional appeal of a speaker’s message. It is crucial to avoid words that might raise unintended connotations. Dialect is a unique form of a more general language spoken by a specific cultural or co-cultural group. They evolve over time and the manner in which they differ from the “standard” of the language may be influenced by other languages spoken in the region or by an ethnic group. If the audience does not share the speaker’s dialect there may be interference with the speaker’s intelligibility. Differences of dialect may affect the speaker’s ethos, the audience’s perception of the speaker’s competence, and the speaker’s credibility. The best way to ensure being understood by all and conveying positive ethos is by using standard English. 7.3 Components of Language All speakers face a choice of which figures of speech, or language components, to use. Figures of speech are used to heighten the beauty of expression, clarify ideas, or enhance the emotional impact of speeches. Similes are used when making comparisons. Direct comparisons between things that an audience may not see as being similar may help them understand a concept or particular set of circumstances.


Achieve Test Prep

Page 59

of 80

Made with FlippingBook Learn more on our blog