The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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2l8                  THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
and when the writer moves efficiently from designators to appraisors to prescriptors he makes use of an arrangement which a suitable reader is likely to find progressively acceptable.
All modes of signifying may be used as persuaders. (A scientist, businessman, etc., may require nothing but designators as persuaders to a feeling or an action response.) But when any one of the modes of signifying is used to persuade, Morris calls the language valuative in purpose. This means that the user places a value on something for or againstand uses such signs as he believes to be the most effective to induce his particular recipient(s) to feel with him and to act with him.
We express our values through the use of adjectival and adverbial persuaders. Cousins, you will recall, referred to an act as "fiendish," to the imagination as "monstrous," called wars "dirty," referred to the use of the word "clean" in connection with bombs as an "obscene" farce. But verbs can also be persuaders. "Incinerate," when used not in connection with garbage but human beings, is such a word. Our nouns too, may be persuaders. Quick-trigger "psychosis," obscene "farce," moral "shrinkage," are such terms. Thus, it becomes apparent that a whole sentencesubject, predicate, and modifiersmay be valuative in purpose. Every word may be saturated through and through with value content. Every word may be a persuader.
When a writer uses words primarily to persuade, he will normally select signs that are likely to communicate attitudes and the necessity for action because of the worth the valueof such attitudes and actions. A writer may, therefore, look at his work critically by asking himself these questions: What values underlie this effort? What do