Knowledge Issue with Language

By: Reece Williams

Knowledge Issue:

To what extent does language influence the way in which we perceive the world?

Language affects the way in which we view objects

Emotionally laden language, weasel words, grammar, and revealing and concealing are all language techniques which are used to influence perception. These techniques are especially used in advertisements.

Emotionally Laden Language

Emotionally laden language contains emotive language which are intended to affect the way which something is viewed. For example Coca-Cola uses the slogan "Things go better with Coke"This advertising appeals to the buyer's emotions and gives them a positive view of the product
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Weasel Words

Another language technique which exists in advertisements is the use of weasel words. Weasel words are ambiguous words and are not supported by facts. They created an illusion of clear, direct communication.For example many stores will advertise that many items are "up to 50% off"This is an example of the use of weasel words because the buyer automatically assumes that many products are half off; however, that is not the case. This advertisement simply means that some products may be on sale by 50% or less.

Grammar

Grammar effects the way people see things. It can influence a reader or viewer to agree with a certain perspective. In ordert to affect the way which people perceive things, passive voice is often used. Passive voice can prevent the reader from understanding the full extent of the topic. For example a newspaper article might say,"Four killed by US Air Strike" insteade of, "US Air Strike Kills Four Civilians." By using the passive voice, the author is able to affect the way in which the reader sees the information which is being presented. On the cotrary, active voice can be used to affect the way the reader perceives the information.

Revealing and Concealing

This is used to reveal certain aspects of reality and conceal other aspects of reality. George Carlin said, "By and large, language is a tool for concealing thetruth." Language can reveal some ideas while concealing the truth. For example:While running for the presidency, Mitt Romney said, "I oppose taxes which hinder economic growth." This is an example of revealing and concealing because some will think that he opposes taxes because they hinder economic growth while others will that he opposes only taxes which hinder economic growth. He is not completely revealing the full truth.
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Knower's Perspective

After completing research on language techniques which are used in order to influence someone's perspective of an idea or object, I now have increased knowledge. I am now aware of how language can be ambiguous and can influence my view of a certain topic without being completely aware of it. Language influences our ideas everyday and most often we are oblivious to the effcts of language.