Pursuasive Language

How do people use language to manipulate others?

Emotionally Laden Language

Emotionally Laden Language is language that has an emotional connotation. An example of this is the "American Revolution" ad campaign by Chevrolet. The idea of an "American Revolution" inspires a sense of national pride, making the viewer want to be a part of the revolution by buying a Chevy.

Weasel Words

A modifying word that undermines or contradicts the meaning of the word, phrase, or clause it accompanies. In the picture below, the "New" and "Exciting" Diamond Shreddies are the exact same as the "Old" and "Boring" Diamond Shreddies. New is the weasel word, for it is not really new but is portrayed as such. (However, the New ones ARE rotated--HOW NEW AND EXCITING!)

Grammar

The use of passive voice is a way to manipulate an audience's perspective on a situation. For instance, news stations often say things in the passive voice in order to make a situation appear more innocent that it really is. In the picture, the headline says that Bin Laden was killed, but it does not say by who.

Revealing and Concealing

Revealing and Concealing language is when specific information is omitted or included in to portray certain aspects to certain people/things. For instance, you could say to a friend "I got you a cat!" but fail to mention that the cat is dead. You could say to someone else about the same cat "I got you a dead cat" to a Chinese friend who eats cats. You conceal the fact that it is dead to the first person, for they would not like the fact that it is dead, but reveal this fact to the Chinese friend, for they would like the fact that it is dead.

Knower's Perspective

We must avoid manipulatively persuasive language in order to ensure that language is unbiased and fair to all who hear or read it. If our language is persuasive, we could unknowingly manipulate individuals into doing things or feeling things that they would normally not. In some areas, this is an acceptable part of life, such as in marketing, where the goal is to persuade the people to buy products. However, this is not acceptable to people who do not expect it.

By: Austin Drake and Scott Mendenhall