Language Arts

Download e-book for iPad: Confusing Discourse by K. Janicki

By K. Janicki

We simply listen and notice whilst individuals are speaking and writing, yet we regularly do not realize what they're conversing or writing approximately . This e-book addresses a few resources of bewilderment in discourse and gives feedback for diminishing it.

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Extra resources for Confusing Discourse

Sample text

The word can be seen as a few letters on paper or a few sounds produced in your mouth; the real thing – a tiger – is, you will agree, full of flesh, hide, has claws and teeth, and will be seen by most people as a pretty dangerous beast. Does the word ‘tiger’ include flesh and claws? Do you think it is dangerous? Nevertheless, we use the word ‘tiger’ to refer to the beast out there. It is baffling to observe that in spite of the dramatic difference between words (stick to ‘tiger’ in our case) and what they refer 20 Confusing Discourse to (or, stand for), many people take words for the things that they stand for; people mix levels of abstraction (see for instance, Johnson, W 1946; Weinberg 1959; Hayakawa 1992; Kodish and Kodish 2001).

The latter group falls victim to a very dangerous view, namely, the view that disregards the natural order of abstraction. From this perspective, words are seen as having a life of their own, or, even more dangerously, they are seen as having to lead us to an imaginable, nonexistent world of non-verbal facts. People who disregard the natural order of abstraction tend to take words very seriously, not as mere labels marking abstractions of non-verbal facts. Disregarding the natural order of abstraction leads to confusion and difficulties in communicating with other people.

The natural order of abstraction One of the main points concerning abstraction to remember appears to be that we, as people who produce and try do understand discourse, should follow the natural order of abstraction (see for instance, Korzybski 1933; Kodish and Kodish 2001). This means that we should be fully aware of how abstraction works and draw practical conclusions from this awareness when we are engaged in discourse. 2) shows, the abstracting process starts at the non-verbal object level and only later, at a higher level, does it involve the first verbal – the descriptive level.

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