English Usage of Language Term Paper

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Subject: Sociology
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #26679930

Excerpt from Term Paper :

female of a dog or other animals of the dog family e.g. fox a gray hound *****. However, when used as slang it implies derogatory characteristics of a woman especially a cruel and unpleasant one. In terms of relating it to something or somebody it implies 'making bad or critical comments about someone/something or complaining' inclusive of 'unpleasant situation etc.'.

Thus, its literal meaning is quite different from its common usage. How the literal meaning fell devoid giving birth to a totally new, informal and derogatory meaning is questionable. Although the formal version of the term is still used to imply the gender difference a male dog and a female dog, the informal term still prevails. There lies no apparent connection between the two meanings and it is not easy to comprehend how the two evolved simultaneously for the same word. Attitudes play a major role, the term '*****' is the classification of female dog, but the general public prefers to use it otherwise. As per the informal definition, the term '*****' implies to be a derogatory remark directed towards that female section of the society, which is unpleasant for an individual. Assuming a relationship between the literal meaning and the slang use would be a sheer mistake yet advancing on the same it is visible that the only link present is that both pertain to the feminine gender. This further form the basis of sexual discrimination denounced openly in the society but welcomed here. Last but never the least is that third meaning of the term, this extends to situations and circumstances that are unfavorable to an individual and the expression used sums up his feelings.

Another, difference visible between the literal meaning and the informal / slang definition of the term is that the former simply names a certain species of animals while the other is used to express disgust. That is, disgust or dislike of a woman, situation or something/somebody. In the present day world the term '*****' is rather considered fashionable in the society, be it the young or the old. Its use is also very common to the extent that for many it is a habitual phrase necessary in every conversation.

Thesis statement:

The analysis of how and why terms like '*****' are misused in their literal and slang context with respect to the practical world.

Informative and Affective Connotation of certain terms:

It is obvious that the term ' *****' when used in the context of its literary meaning does not give and hint to derogation. However, its common use certainly gives the impression of degrading nature. According to the essay, 'Words With Built In Judgement', S.I Hayakawa and Alan.R. Hayakawa claim that words that can infer 'affective and informative' meanings concurrently hinder fraternizing of sectors already set apart due to racial, social, sexual and cultural differences. This can be understood in context of the explanation given by Gloria Naylor in her essay 'The Meanings of A Word'. She states that the term used is greatly influenced from who uses it, and in what manner. She quotes the example of a childhood incident when she was called a 'nigger' by a class fellow; although she was unaware of what it meant she knew it was not moral. Even in our daily life many such incidents take place when we do not infer the literal meaning of a word. Taking the example of the term '*****' only it is usual to comment by saying 'what a *****y person / remark/place'. Considering the views of the authors together, it can be understood that the word used depends on who uses it and whom it is directed to. Many times political, racial, social etc. issues end up in heated arguments where such terms are commonly used for the contrasting party. Clearly this does not help in sorting our differences but rather flaring them further.

Naylor explains the fact that in present day circumstances the textual or literary meaning does not restrict the word but depends on its common usage. Another such example can be that of fundamentalist, very commonly used especially after the tragedy of 9/11. The term implies 'extremist' and can be popularly used for people with conservative approaches towards any aspect of life. However, the Muslim genre world over is at times classified notoriously by the use of this one word. If it were used to define a situation for example ' Sally's ideas represent fundamentalism.' It would not arouse hatred or frustration. However, when the same term is implied for the entire Muslim genre it represents them as bitter-enders setting up a religious barrier which only widens the existent gap between the western and the Muslim world. Miscomprehension of words can also arouse from the difference of dialects and language itself. It is not easy to learn a foreign language in its full context however it is east to take up the general implication of words. In this case words like '*****' come as a general solace in times of hardships, frustration etc. It would not be uncommon to describe someone's attitude as *****y. Once exploited these terms can express any emotion as in the case of 'my life is as *****y as hell'; there is no metaphor involved but the meaning gets across as effectively as serious-minded it sounds.

The Use and the User:

However, it would be wrong to assume that the informative meaning of the word ' *****' is not used. It is a fact though; as pointed out by Naylor, that people take such terms more in their slang sense than the literary but the latter does not die out. It is appropriately used when referring to different breeds of dogs; e.g. 'I took my ***** to the vet'. 'A ***** came under my car last night but was able to make it in the hospital'. The greyhound ***** is a stealthy animal. So on and so forth, otherwise the slang implication of the word '*****' would not be used in publication such as newspapers, articles etc. It us used widely in rated films, trashy novels etc. In an attempt to depict real life. They do not deviate from real life and express emotions as done in practical life, but the misuse of such word affects the reader and the viewer influencing the mind towards wrong usage. A good example can of TV-14 rate shows and PG-13 movies which are not suitable for child viewing. It should be considered that the adult audience is bound to be affected and misuse the terms in practical world passing the habit on to children. The question lies in what demarcates the boundary between the users of the term '*****' in its formal meaning and those that misuse it. An apparent distinction is that of better education standards, but many contrary situations may arise. For instance teenagers consider the misuse of the term '*****' as fashionable. Novel writers and teen magazines could boost sales by depicting such fashions. Film producers and scriptwriters can introduce them in order to be close to the common man's life etc. It is not that education alone influences the correct usage of language it also about the brought up and lifestyle that one chooses to live with. Perhaps this is the main demarcating affect between the use and misuse of the word '*****' and other such terms. An example of this can draw from the essay 'The Myth of A Latin Woman: I Just Met A Girl Named Maria' by Dennis. M. Ramos. He explains the views of a Latin girl who is blessed with a supporting family that provide her with the perfect atmosphere for acquiring education. But she soon realizes that the practical world holds greater criticism than she would have ever imagined. This is…

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