Language Precis

Topics: Meaning of life, Linguistics, Psychology Pages: 1 (308 words) Published: September 10, 2013
Language Precis Words with Built-in Judgments S. I. Hayawaka and Alan R. Hayawaka’s article, “Words with Built-in Judgments”, asserts that prejudice is predominantly seen in language through specific word choices we make. Both Hayawakas point out that people use words such as “Hispanic” and “developmentally disabled” to avoid insulting a specific group of people, as well as other examples, in order to prove that people watch how they speak every day. Given the extensive factual information, it is clear that the Hayawakas know their subject and is writing for an educated audience and have credibility because of their backgrounds. The Meanings of a Word In “The Meanings of a Word” by Gloria Naylor (1986), the author argues that everyone develops their own association for words based on their backgrounds and environment they are exposed to. Naylor gives the example of her own childhood, when she first heard the word “nigger”, and sought the meaning of the word from multiple sources, each having their own answer, in order to establish that language is constantly changing and that everyone describes their own world differently because of their experiences. Naylor is writing for a general public, as she is an essayist and columnist herself, and is a credible source because of her writing background. The Language of Prejudice Gordon Allport’s “The Language of Prejudice” (1954) explains that abstract ideas become concrete through language, and that people label the world around them. Allport goes deeper with psychological evidence from case studies that support his claim. Allport makes this argument in order to bring to light this “basic law of language”, and explain how powerful words can be. Allport, a social science student of Harvard, is writing to an audience who at least is somewhat educated, as he has an extensive background in the subject and is highly educated himself.

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