Topics: Connotation, Denotation, Illegal immigration Pages: 5 (2043 words) Published: August 6, 2013
According to the dictionary, the word ‘alien’ can be used as either a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it can mean a person whose native country is not the one which they are currently residing in. It can also take the form of a noun meaning anyone who has become estranged or excluded. The final form that the word ‘alien’ can take as a noun is an extraterrestrial creature. ‘Alien’ can also at to describe something as extraterrestrial through the form of an adjective. Additionally, it can be used to describe something strange or unlike one’s own. Similarly to the word ‘alien’, the word ‘exotic’ can also mean many of the same things. It can mean something that is not native to a country, or it can mean something strikingly unusual or strange. However similar those two words are in the dictionary, their denotative meanings are generally overridden by the meanings that are applied in the mind: the connotative meaning. A word’s connotative meaning makes two sentences, which give the same information, a completely different mood. For example, if someone were to say “wow, that concept sounds so exotic!” there would be a far different subliminal message than if someone were to exclaim that the concept sounded alien to them. Along those lines, if someone is described as being an alien as opposed to being called exotic they start off with a cloud over their reputation. But why? Why is it that someone in a country illegally is called an illegal alien rather than an illegally present exotic? Perhaps, this connotation comes from the extraterrestrial side of the word alien. There is often a prejudice against people who reside in a country that they are not registered in. For example, in the United States, illegal immigrants do not pay taxes to support the schools that they attend, the roads that they drive on, or the national security that they reap the benefits of. Additionally, the illegal immigrants are not registered with the United States, which gives them the ability to offer their work for less pay. This entices business leaders to hire them over the registered and tax paying citizen of the United States. Often times, illegal immigrants are looked upon as drug smugglers, and lower class citizens who raise the tax burden upon the tax paying citizens as well as bringing up the unemployment rate in America. Because of this view, they are seen as different. They are seen as strange and a nuisance. They are seen as alien: something from somewhere out of this world. However, there is another side of the illegal immigrants that many people fail to observe. Many people are caught up in the stories of drug cartels and terrorists and spies who have snuck into the United States to see that a lot of the people who sneak into the country are hardworking, often times willing to work harder than the average American. As well as their hard working attitude, the majority of illegal immigrants do jobs, such as house keeping and yard work, which many Americans refuse to do due to the fact that it would be too low status of a job. The illegal immigrants also bring a foreign flare to the country, they make the country the melting pot of nationalities that it is. These immigrants, illegal or not, when looked at in this light are a major vertebrae of the backbone of the country. They are truly exotic as well as aliens. Unfortunately, when people begin to refer to illegal immigrants as exotic rather than an alien, exotic will soon gain the negative connotative meaning that the word alien once had. It seems that whatever term is used, the negative connotation that people apply will follow. For this reason, an extremely neutral word, such as ‘foreign’ seems like it would be a better choice when describing someone. ‘Foreign’ means essentially the same things that exotic and alien both mean, such as something that comes from another country or region, and also something that is different, but it has little to no connotation...

Cited: "19e. the Alien and Sedition Acts." U.S. History: Pre-Colombian to the New Millennium. Independence Hall Association of Philadelphia, 2008. Web. 16 July 2013. .
"Alien." Random House Dictionary. 2013. Web. 15 July 2013. .
"Alienist." Random House Dictionary. 2013. Web. 15 July 2013. .
"Exotic." Random House Dictionary. 2013. Web. 15 July 2013. .
"Foreign." Random House Dictionary. 2013. Web. 15 July 2013. .
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