Chapter five notes
Chapter five notes 1230.0
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Clark on Saturday September 12, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to 1230.0 at Bowling Green State University taught by Lynne Hewitt in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 60 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION DISORDERS in Language at Bowling Green State University.
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Date Created: 09/12/15
Asking the Right QHBStiOIlS Chapter 5 What Words or Phrases are Ambiguous Your next step is to put this structural picture into even clearer focus While identifying the conclusion and reasons gives you the basic visible structure you still need to examine the precise meaning of these parts before you can react fairly to the ideas being presented Identifying the precise meaning of key words or phrases is an essential step in deciding whether to agree with someone s opinion You cannot react to an argument unless you understand the meanings explicit or implied of crucial terms and phrases How these are interpreted will often affect the acceptability of the reasoning Before you can determine the extent to which you wish to accept one conclusion or another You must first attempt to discover the precise meaning of the conclusion and the reasons One language is highly complex Most words have more than one meaning These multiple meanings can create serious problems in determining the worth of an argument o we often misunderstand what we read or hear because we presume that the meaning of the words are obvious A term or phrase is ambiguous when its meaning is so uncertain in the context of the argument we are examining that we need further clarification before we can judge the adequacy of the reasoning Many documents like constitutions are intentionally left ambiguous so that the document can evolve as different meanings become practical There is no way to avoid ambiguity The first step in determining which terms or phrases are ambiguous is to use the stated issue as a clue for possible key terms The next step in determining which terms or phrases are ambiguous is to identify words or phrases that seem crucial in determining how well the author s reasons support their conclusion When searching for key terms and phrases keep in mind why you are looking Look only for terms or phrases that will affect whether you accept the conclusion Look for these terms in the reasons and conclusion Another useful clue is that the more abstract a word or phrase the more likely it is to be susceptible to multiple interpretations Abstract is defined as a term that becomes more and more abstract as it refers less and less to particular specific instances Clues for locating key terms Review the issue Look for crucial words in the reasons and conclusion Watch for abstract words or phrases Use rolereversal to find words with other meanings for other people Focus on each term and ask Do I understand its meaning To answer this question you must overcome many obstacles One obstacle is believing that you and the author mean the same thing Ask What do you mean by that instead of I know just what you mean Second is assuming that terms have a single obvious meaning Ask Could any of these words or phrases have a different meaning A good test to determine ambiguity is substitution Substitute an alternate meaning into the reasoning structure and see if changing the meaning makes a difference in how well a reason supports a conclusion Always ask What does the author mean by that and look for abstract words Advertising is often full of ambiguity It intentionally uses ambiguity to persuade you that their products are superior to others Resist the temptation to make not of the unclear meaning of any and all words Steps to recognizing ambiguity lSt inspect the issue for terms we want the author to clarify 2nd list all key terms and phrases in the conclusion and reasons Look closely to determine different meanings that effect the conclusion 3rdBefore you decide whether or not to agree with the conclusion decide what they want you to believe 4th create mental pictures of what the list of phrases mean If you can t that means they are ambiguous Different images cause different reactions to the reasons Writers and speakers only rarely define their key terms The only guide to meaning is context Context is the writer s background traditional uses of the term in a particular controversy and the words or statements preceding and following the questionable key term Meanings usually come in one of three forms Synonyms Examples definition by specific criteria For critical evaluation of most controversial issues synonyms and examples are inadequate Dictionary definitions frequently consist of synonyms examples and incomplete specifications of criteria for usage In many arguments you will not be able to find adequate dictionary definitions The context also may not make the meaning clear One way to discover possible alternative meanings is to try to create a mental picture of what the words represent Different emotional reactions to selected terms and phrases can greatly in uence how we respond to arguments Terms and phrases have both denotative and connotative meanings Denotative refers to the agreedupon explicit descriptive referents for the use of the word Connotative refers to the emotional associations that we have for a term or phrase Ambiguity is not always an accident those trying to persuade you are often aware of the multiple meanings of words Anyone trying to use language to lead us by the heart can take advantage of these emotional words It is a reader s responsibility to ask questions to clarify ambiguity HOWEVER a reader s responsibility ends at that point The role of the persuader requires them to respond to your concerns about possible ambiguity No one has the right to be believed if they cannot provide you with a clear picture of their reasoning In the midst of conversation two people have the immediate opportunity to clarify potential ambiguities However in the solitude of writing people often forget the diversities of cultures experiences and ideologies that add layers of meaning to words Effective writers strive for clarity They review what they intend to say multiple times to look for ambiguous statements Exploring your argument from another s perspective may draw your attention to ambiguous spots you didn t previously notice To help share your writing with others and encourage them to ask questions Observe what terms they might use in a different manner than you do Also think about your audience Some terms are defined in specific ways to specific groups of people If your writings are intended for a general audience keep in mind that specialized language may be lost on them 4
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