Book Report of "Language in My Thought and My Action"

Topics: Semantics, Barack Obama, Language Pages: 6 (2039 words) Published: January 31, 2012
Reading Assignment - "Language in Thought and Action" by S.I. Hayakawa and Alan R. Hayakawa book report Language in my Thought and my Action
Since I was born, I have been learning languages consciously and unconsciously without asking why. S.I. Hayakawa and Alan R. Hayakawa‘s Language in Thought and Action remind me the goal of the study of language – to learn to think more clearly, to speak and to write more effectively, and to listen and to read with greater understanding.

This book is divided into 2 parts, the functions of language and language and thought. The deepest debt of the author in this book is to the general semantics. It is designed to educate the reader using concepts that are first explained in straightforward terms and then illustrated by excellent examples that further exemplify the basic concept of each chapter. I found the idea of informative Connotations and affective Connotations and the distinctions between The Open and Closed Mind; the concepts of Cooperation; and concept of Symbolism in Advertising especially helpful. Those can be applied to my work, my understanding of mass media and my daily life respectively. What I have learnt form this book in relation to my work

Informative and Affective Connotation
Informative connotation is roughly reports about things, while affective connotation is roughly our feelings about things. Take Barack Obama as an example, he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States at begging of year 2009. His winning due to his affective and emotional language when did the speech. Let peruse a part of his Inauguration Speech at that time:

“With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

He use a lot of words “We, Our, Us”, to show his strong will to serve his country, and he is not the one to got all the glory for the victory. He had emphasized the victory truly belongs to it belongs to citizens. President Obama made an impassioned and emotional speech to the multitude of people who had braved the elements to witness the inauguration of America’s first African-American President. Since he was selected as the forty-fourth president of the USA, Obama has given American people several promises. Although everything doesn’t come true right now, his words conquered the hearts of majority American.

According to the book “ Language in Thought and Action”, from the point of linguistic, due to language plays the most important and irreplaceable role in audience’s thought and action. Hayakawa explained that language has a function of denotation. So, a slogan or a promise is not just only a simple word, but it can affect others’ feelings and actions, even causes what happen in the future. Taking advantage of repeating sentences, affecting words, spurring someone’s emotion, blurring reality, speaker could gain audiences’ trust. On the page 43-6, I found that affective language has the character of a kind of force. Going through this thinking, Obama won his competitors based on his wonderful language speaking.

As an Entertainment News Anchor in TVB, which is the TV station in Hong Kong, I always have to report the news of showbiz industry to the public daily. As we all know, entertainment news is different form hard news what is the kind of fast-paced news that usually appears on the front page of newspapers. Mostly, entertainment news is about the love stories of the artistes, the recent works of the singers and or the leisure life experiences of the celebrities. Actually, entertainment news is the kind of entertainment to the public. So, I need to make the reporting more funny or impressive, to draw audience’s...
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