The Language and Reason Behind Advertisements By Rhea mehta

Essential Question: How does language shape our knowledge?

Ideas and Planning:

- We can connect language to reason

- One of the logical fallacies of reasoning is equivocation

- Equivocation: the use of ambivalent language

- Emotive meaning in ads: Aura of favourable or unfavourable feeling that hovers about a word.

- Advertisements often use ambivalent language to manipulate buyers

- We can look at various ads and point out how they use ambivalent language to affect a person’s ability to reason correctly

Learning Journals:

Journal #1-

Today in class my group and I had to choose a WOK to present. We decided to do language since it is really important to learn how different people communicate. Also we thought we could do a cool project since everyone in our group spoke a different language. I read the whole chapter, but I forgot to read the key points and so because of that I failed the quiz the first time. After reading the key points, I finally passed so from now on I will read the key points at the back of the chapter. We didn't have time to discuss any ideas for the project so since next class is a work day, our group will plan ideas.

Journal #2 -

As a group we came up with many ideas today, but we finalized on one idea. Our essential question is how does language shape our knowledge; and to present that we are going to show the class an advertisement and talk about the usage of persuasive language in the advertisement. Persuasive language includes of motive meaning, weasel words, and revealing and concealing. Since we had to connect our WOK 3 presentation to another WOK we know we decided to choose REASON. Our plan/script is below:

Emotive Meaning (Rhea)

Some words have not only a descriptive meaning, but also emotive meaning. Emotive meaning is the aura of favorable or unfavorable feeling that hovers around a word. "guilty” has a negative connotation and “pleasure” has a positive connotation. That’s why people relate to guilty as a bad thing and pleasure as a good thing. They are in favor for pleasure not in favour of being guilty. Euphemism is a type of emotive meaning and in this advertisement the bold phrase “guilty pleasure” is an example of it. This phrase serves to hide the reality of chips being unhealthy and making it acceptable to eat chips that are popped because they aren’t unhealthy and undelicious. Words like "unhealthy" and "undelicious" have a negative connotation but in context it's positive because its saying that pop chips are healthy and delicious because they don't bake or fry them

Weasel Words (Seong)

Definition of Weasel Words: Words that qualify a seemingly clear and precise statement and make it vague or ambiguous. Ex) Less guilty, More pleasure. It is a statement dictated in a (seemingly) clear and precise way but yet it is made ambiguous.(Where you can interpret it in another way- leaves an “escape route”) Ex) You’ve got delicious snack with just 100 calories, 3g of fat and 17+ chips per single serve bag. (The + sign conveys that you're going to receive a lot of chips per single bag. Where it is stated clearly but yet again, it is intentionally misleading.) So “+ and Less/More” is just a weasel word that this company is utilizing to say that they are getting more chips per bag and they can eat more for a less calorie consumption.

Revealing and Concealing (Patrick)

The idea of “revealing and concealing” is a tactic used in advertising to be truthful in the ad without truly allowing the consumer to comprehend the downsides. An example in a TV ad would be the way medication ads very quickly list side effects so consumers don't have time to comprehend the downsides of the product. In this case, the other nutrition facts are written in small sized font. The ad states that for 100 calories, you can eat more Popchips. However, more popchips also yield more carbs, less protein, and less fiber. Those aren't preferable nutrition facts so they are concealed by small font.

Connection to Reason (Reshmi)

Equivocation: ambivalent language

“Less guilty, more pleasure” or “guilty pleasure”

“Crunch the numbers” - as in do the math or crunch as it relates to chips

False analogy: assuming that because two things are alike in some respects they are alike in others (revealing and concealing assumes that the buyer will do this)

Ad ignorantiam: because the bad parts are not clearly shown, we as buyers assume the chips are healthy

Journal #3 -

Our presentation was quite successful. Overall we all did an exceptional job in discussing our topic of Language and Reason. It made sense to the audience and it gave me a new insight to Language. I would've never taken this approach of using an advertisement to explain the knowledge behind language. It was very unique and it also answered the question. If I was to do this project, I would've done something along the lines of using different languages to convert a point since our school is so diverse and it would be easy to portray this.

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