Emotive Language

In: English and Literature

Submitted By SlenderSloth
Words 2265
Pages 10

Emotive language is all around us:

* In adverts * In news headlines * In reports, speeches and interviews * In everyday interactions between people
Emotive language is any language that aims to manipulate, influence or create feelings in us so that we adopt the viewpoint of the writer or speaker.

Before we look at emotive language, we need to take a step back.

Denotation / Connotation:

Words can have two different types of meanings:

* The denotative meaning = the factual, objective meaning of the word * The connotative meaning = the idea that words give, as opposed to its strict meaning
Think about a rose:

* Denotative meaning of rose = a flower * Connotative meaning of rose = love / passion
When we talk about emotive language, we’re referring to the connotative meaning of words, i.e. the deeper meanings that these words convey and the emotions that they stir up.

Now, the problem comes in where words have different emotive associations to different people. This can have unfortunate results!

The following verse by John Donovan illustrates this perfectly:

Call a woman a kitten, but never a cat; You can call her a mouse, cannot call her a rat; Call a woman a chicken, but never a hen Or you surely will not be her caller again.

You can say she's a vision, can't say she's a sight; And no woman is skinny, she's slender and slight; If she should burn you up, say she sets you afire And you'll always be welcome, you tricky old liar.

While some emotive words have favourable connotations, others have unfavourable connotations, for example:

* Predictable vs boring * Scholarly vs nerdy * Self-confident vs conceited * Youthful vs…...

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