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Written Word

The Written Word 1


One of the ways we communicate is with the written word. Our mission is to properly interpret the messages that we read. To do this we need clues.


Our first clue is word meaning.

Words can have more than just one meaning.


A board--this man has one, but it doesn't look anything like this one, or this one.


And this man is on his board, and it doesn't look anything like this one.


When used as a verb, board describes getting a ship, plane, train or one of these.


A board of directors has a different meaning than a writing board.


Apparently, board can have more than one meaning. To interpret correctly, more clues are needed.


Our second clue is literary context, which teaches us that the smaller the language unit being studied, the greater the chance of misinterpretation.


We saw this easy tendency in our example of the word "board."


But within a phrase, sentence, paragraph or chapter, meaning becomes more clear.


Here are two phrases that share the word, "web." The context clues us in to the proper meaning.


"The purest sources on the web."

"The water hung like beads on the web."


Besides word meaning and literary context, there are historical and cultural questions which will help us accurately interpret.


These questions are:

Who wrote the words, and when?

Wo received the written document?

What was the impact on the original audience?


These questions make up our third clue: historical and cultural background.


Now lets apply these three questions to this:

"Big German pockets have been turned inside out."


Who wrote the words? A San Diego newspaper, the Tribune Sun.

When were they written? May 4, 1945.

Who received the original written words? A southern California newspaper audience.

What was the impact on the original audience? Big German pockets were areas of Nazi occupations which were at last being freed. Americans were relieved to anticipate World War II was ending.


We have seen the importance of additional clues in the mission of proper interpretation.


Questions we should ask of the written word include ones of word meaning, literary context and historical and cultural background.


It's not a mission impossible.
 

The Written Word 1

Posted by: Jane Hsu
Released Date: Mar-08-2010

The three clues we need to properly interpret the messages that we read.

The Written Word 2
The Written Word 2
The Written Word 3
The Written Word 3
The Written Word 4
The Written Word 4
The Written Word 5
The Written Word 5
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