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Four Aspects for viewing Language Use


Practical Criticism I.A. Richards (1929)



Four Aspects of Language Use


It is plain that most human utterances and nearly all articulat speech can be profitably regarded from four points of view. Four aspects can be easily distinguished. Let us call them Sense, Feeling, Tone, and Intention.
— I.A. Richards in Practical Criticism (192
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Brian, which out of the four do identify most with, or see as the most important?

Hello Malcolm, I think all four aspects of language are working together most of the time. These four points of view just help us step back and see what we're doing.

For me, this way of thinking about language helps me focus on what is best done in my ESL or EFL classes, and what should best be left for other contexts or venues. In a beginning English classroom of 40 to a 100 students at varying levels of verbal ability, social maturity, and interest I think a focus on sense is appropriate. I can show how English sentences works to express basic "acts", and students can show if they understand enough to get the sentences to work for them.... The Practical Criticism book focuses on a higher level of language use where judgments need to be made about the subtle cooperations of sense, feeling, tone, and intention all work together to influence us... My guess is English as a Second Language, or Foreign Language is a "failure" is because the textbooks and classes leap right into a certain context of feeling and tone, without being conscious of what they are doing. Mayb... show more