List the 5 characteristics of words. Which one was new to you? Which one do you think is most important? Why? Define “connotative” and “denotative” meanings. What are the steps for performing a word study? How important are word studies in understanding Scripture? Why is it important to do word studies in the original languages instead of in English alone? There are 5 characteristics of words:
1. Words Are Arbitrary Signs- A word is a semantic sign which is a combination of symbols or sounds that represent an idea. Spoken words are a mixture of sounds that represent a specific idea. Written words put letters together that represent sounds to represent a concept. The ideas that are being attempted to communicate can be written or oral. 2. Words Have a Range of Meanings- Plainly speaking a word can have more than one meaning depending on the context and what words and punctuation are being used. 3. Word Meanings Can Overlap- Many words in any given language can have similar meanings that overlap with each other. These words are known as synonyms. They are considered synonyms when at least one of the meanings, within the total range of meanings, overlaps. 4. Word Meanings Change Over Time- Words can mean one thing in a certain age and something completely different centuries later. Often times the original meaning of a word is based on its root etymology, where as future usage may hold little resemblance to its root meaning. 5. Words Have Connotative and Denotative Meanings- There is the literal definition of a word's meaning, this is called the denotative meaning. The Connotative meaning of the word is the emotion or implication that the word evokes from the audience it is being used. None of these characteristics were new to me, but the one that was explained more clearly was Words are arbitrary signs. I always understood they represented specific ideas; interestingly I was intrigued by the word arbitrary. Upon contemplating that concept, it is quite arbitrary...
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