BBI3436CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKINGLanguage and Critical Thinking
Language and Critical ThinkingLanguage is important to critical thinking. Language determines how effective ones argument will be. Language choices can conceal the truth, confuse, mislead, or deceive us.A good critical thinker uses language that meets the needs and expectations of the audience, and is appropriate to the time, place, person, and occasion.
Four areas of language:Word choiceAmbiguityDefinitionIntensity
Word ChoiceThe words you choose: Affect the way other react to the argument you present. Allow you to indirectly express your real feelings about people, events and things in the environment. Gives exactness to detail. Helps the communicator paint a picture in the audiences mind. Reduce the chance of miscommunication.
AmbiguityWords or expressions that can be understood in more than one way.
Euphemisms- use of a mild, neutral, evasive, or vague term in place of one considered taboo, offensive, blunt, or unpleasant (chronologically challenged, pre-owned)
Jargon - language of a professional, occupational, or other group, often meaningless to outsiders. (cookies, bug, LOL)
Ambiguity in Language
When the meaning of a word, phrase, or sentence is unclear, we say that it is ambiguous.
Interpreting the issue, conclusion, and reasons is much more difficult when ambiguous language is used.
Ambiguity in Language
The nature of language is that it is flexible. Words and phrases can have different meanings in different contexts.
Sometimes a speaker / writer is ambiguous due to being sloppy with language.
Other times, the ambiguity may be intentional.
In any case, we need to watch out for ambiguous language, and discern the correct meaning before we can decide if we agree with someone.
Ambiguous languageInterferes with the clear expression of thoughts. An ambiguous word is a word with more than one (1) meaning that is open to different interpretations. Examples:
He fed her dog biscuitsThe duck is ready to eatFlying planes can be dangerousThe shooting of the hunter disturbed him
Ambiguitydeep can mean profundity (what you have said is very deep), Or it can be used to describe physical depth (this hole is very deep). young (inexperienced or young of age)bank (river bank or financial institution)
Ambiguous language can lead to over-generalization and stereotyping. E.g. Everyone thinks that democracy is a good thing. Young drivers are all alike, inconsiderate and dangerous.
Ambiguity Resulting from Confusion of Different MeaningsLexical ambiguity - when a word or phrase, in the context of a particular sentence, could refer to two or more properties or things.She put her glasses on the table.Hes gone to the bank.
It is sometimes clear from the context which meaning is intended, but not always.Pavarotti is a big opera star.
Ambiguity Resulting from Confusion of Different MeaningsReferential ambiguity when the context does not make it clear what a pronoun or quantifier is referring to.Lizzy hit Paula and then she started bleeding who is bleeding?The boys chased the girls, and they giggled a lot.
Grouping ambiguity - whenever we refer to a collection of individuals, we must clearly show whether the reference is to the collection as a group or as individualsPoliticians are corrupt generalisation
Syntactic AmbiguityAmbiguity because of the structure of the sentence rather than a word or phrase - the words are not confusing but the word order is. There is more than one way to interpret the grammatical structure.
Example: He chased the girl in his car. What does this mean? Did he chase a girl already inside his car? Or did he chase a girl (perhaps in another car) with his car?
Vague languageUsing words that are very imprecise and general. Vague words are words that lack a clear and distinct meaning. Examples:
I had a nice time yesterdayThat is an interesting bookShe is an old personShe is a beautiful girlAs the sun sets the surroundings become dark, but there is no sharp boundary when the surroundings suddenly switch from being bright to being dark. So dark and bright are vague terms.
Examples of VaguenessMen burn off 438 calories per hour gardening.Doctor: The arrhythmia you are experiencing indicates that you should lay off jogging for awhile.Your satisfaction is guaranteed with our two-year limited guarantee.
Does TV violence negatively affect children?
What qualifies as violence?
Define negatively affect?
Children of what ages?
Identify Key Terms
Which East Asian countries have the most freedom?
Which countries are part of East Asia?China, Japan, Korea? Any others?
Ask yourself:What does that mean?
Could that word / phrase / sentencebe interpreted in more than one way?
If the answer to the previous question is yes, ask:Does the statement still support the conclusion?
Definition Avoid problems caused by ambiguity by defining the terms you are working with . The definition gets the sender and the receiver on the same page in order to avoid unnecessary confusion. Words are not limited to one single meaning. Most words have multiple meanings, which are categorized as either denotative or connotative .
Meaning as denotationThe literal, neutral, descriptive meaning of a word or phrase the information content or data.What a word denotes is the thing, person, characteristic, or action to which the word points or refers.
ball blue mowing Prime MinisterUniversity
Meaning as connotationEmotive meaning - is not necessarily very emotional, although it can beThis aspect of meaning expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval. It is thus evaluative. It conveys the feelings or associations connected to the thing named.Often the connotations depend upon the experiences we have had with an object.The connotative meanings of a word exist together with the denotative meanings. The connotations for the word snake could include evil or danger.
ConnotationSafari, Gravity, XS, Obsession, Curvebureaucrat vs government official vs public servantdiscriminating vs distinguishing vs scoring vs sorting vs grading
The denotative meaning:The connotative meaning:
There is a funny odour about Pungent.....Pungent, the cheapest scent you can get in your local discount store
There is an air of insatiable desire about Shalimar.... Shalimar, the most exquisitely voluptuous perfume on Earth.
IntensityWords or phrases that negatively raise the emotional level of communication.Demonstrates irreverence, contempt or disrespect. Words that considered coarse, vulgar, obscene or offensive. Intensity of language can be found in three areas: Negative evaluative words - Understood through a comparison with their opposite (ex:ugly, fat) Strong emotive words - Describe something, but represent the persons attitude toward what is being described. (Ex: he is such a loudmouth) Abusive language - Obscenities, name calling, insults, swear words. ****Use of high intensity language= poor critical thinking****
Patterns of OrganisationSee pg 59
USING GRAPHIC ORGANISER
A graphic organizer is a visual representation of knowledge.
Graphic organisers are ideal tools to support critical thinking.
They help you organise many different pieces of information into a few logical concepts or ideas.
Different types of graphic organisers have been created for different purposes
However, all graphic organisers show relationships among information, ideas and concepts.
You must choose the type of graphic organiser that will best help you accomplish your goals
***An ambiguous sentence is one that has two or more different but usually quite precise meanings. A vague sentence isone that lacks a precise meaning. Ambiguous sentences should be avoided whenever there isa possibility of someone choosing the wrong meaning. Vague sentences should also be avoidedexcept in cases where more precision is either not required or not possible. For instance, it mightbe necessary to use vague language when describing a vague thought or feeling as in That was a noisy party that they had last night, and it went on until all hours.
In the case of the following,My officials are monitoring the situation very closely, and I can promise that we shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the situation is resolved in a way that is fair to all the parties involved,
vague language, such as appropriate measures and in a way that is fair, is not required and is being used intentionally to be non-comittal. In such cases more precise language should be used and sentences like the one here should be criticized for not using more precise language.
VaguenessA term is vague if it has an imprecise boundary. As the sun sets thesurroundings become dark, but there is no sharp boundary when thesurroundings suddenly switch from being bright to being dark. So darkand bright are vague terms."Tall" is also vague since there are cases where it is hard to say whether aperson is tall or not, but this indecision is not due to lack of knowledgeabout that person's height. You might know exactly how tall that person is,but still you cannot decide whether he is tall or not. This is because themeaning of the term is not precise enough. Many terms in the languageare vague, e.g. "mountain", "clever", "cheap".Notice that we s