A) IDENTIFYING PERSUASIVE LANGUAGE LINKS




d) How to be Persuasive by Wes Boyer & Samuel Stoddard

e) OxymoronList - a large collection of oxymorons
    (contradictory words) by Bored.com (2002)
THINKING AND COMMUNICATION
SKILLS COURSE
      
The topic for the week is accompanied by relevant sites that define the skills as well as provide examples and exercises which may be useful for instructors.
Prof. John Arul Phillips
LearningDomain.com
A) IDENTIFYING PERSUASIVE LANGUAGE LINKS




d) How to be Persuasive by Wes Boyer & Samuel Stoddard

e) OxymoronList - a large collection of oxymorons
    (contradictory words) by Bored.com (2002)
Week 6
IDENTIFYING PERSUASIVE LANGUAGE
          Language is used not only to communicate ideas but also to persuade or convince others to "see things our way".  In other words, to use language to get the persons to act or think in a certain way. A word that used to be popular during "the emergency" (1948-1960) in Malaysia is "propoganda"; i.e. a period during which the government used different methods to persuade the communists to surrender and give up their cause. Propaganda means material wiritten or spoken by people who want others to believe what they are saying is true. The information need not be false or misleading but merely presented for the purpose of covert perusasion.
"Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise".
   - Adolf Hitler (from Mein Kampf)
          Humans are very clever in using techniques that aim to influence others' thinking. There are many propaganda techniques employed but the most common are as follows:
Better!
Cleaner!
Healthier!
1) VAGUENESS
          Words that lack a clear and distinct meaning. Vagueness is always a matter of degree; a scale between extreme generality and extreme specificity.
Eg.    "She is really smart" - General
      "She got an A in physics" - Specific
          One strategy for clarifying vague language is to ask and try answer the following questions: Who? What? Why? Where? How?
2) AMBIGUITY
          A word with more than one meaning that is open to different interpretations. Words used to represent various areas of experiences. We make the mistake of thinking that each word stands for one distinct area of experience - an objecr, thougth or feeling. Eg. "I hope you get what you deserve". We may or may not be sure if the speake is wishing us well or ill unless the contxt of the remark make clear his or her intention.
3) EMOTIVE LANGUAGE
          What is your immediate reaction to the following words?
  fllthy         peaceful       sexy
  adorable       blood-thirsty  cute
          Most of these words probably stimulate certain feelings in you. In fact, this ability to evoke feelings and emotions in people is indicative of the power of language. (Perhaps why they say "The pen is mightier than the sword!"). Making sense of the way that language can influence our emotions is important because emotive language often plays a dual role - it not only symbolises and expresses our feelings but also arouses or evokes feelings in others.
          Emotive words can be used to confuse opinions with facts, a situation that commonly occurs when we combone emotive uses of language with informative uses.
Eg. a) Kuala Lumpur is so polluted and
      filthy. Only idiots would want to
      live there. 
   b) She's the most generous, wise,
      honest and warm friend that a person
      could have.
4) EUPHEMISM
          The term comes from the Greek word meaning "to speak with good words" and involves substituting a more pleasant, less objectionable way of saying something for a blunt or more direct way.
Example:

Instead of saying.... One says ......
He died               He departed this life
Garbage collector     Sanitation engineer
Rotting slums         Substandard housing
Civilians killed      Incurred collateral
in a bombing raid      damage
People imprisoned     Elimination of
without trial and     undesirable elements
shot in the back

5) LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISING
          Advertisers have nearly made a science out of using language to influence people's perceptions, beliefs and actions. One bsic strategy is to associate positive or negative thoughts and emotions with the product or service being sold.
          Many people buy products not because they are better quality than another, but because of associations that have absolutely nothing to do with the products.
Example:
   Product Name          Associations
   Coca Cola       "Adds life - young,
                    attractive people
                    having lots of fun"
   Marlboro        "Marlboro Country" -
                    macho, strong, 
                    ruggedly handsome".
LISTENING SKILLS