2018-05-31 16:42:16 2018-05-26 11:15:53 2018-05-26 11:15:53 1678647
Practical Criticism I.A. Richards (1929)
Four Aspects of Language UseIt 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 (1929) p
The list above paraphrases I.A. Richards's Practical Criticism/(pp.175-176). I wanted to use the aspects to take another look at Justin Podur's post about /The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense. Podur's post seems to have disappeared since I saw it eight or so years ago. With some "utterances" there is no purpose other than 32. expressing feelings (Hurrah! Damn!) or 3. expressing an attitute towards the audience. With utterances weighted heavily into 3. "we pass into the realm of endearments and abuse."(p.176) I imagine this is the key to "verbal self defense" realising when there is no need to look for sense in someone's words and start thinking about what to do about inappropriate tone and intention. Because "faults of tone are much more than mere superficial blemishes. They may indicate a very deep disorder."(p.198) After reading Rebecca Solnit's writings about Harvey Weinstein, and related articles about hotel workers, I won't be surprised to encounter disordered minds. Neal Stephenson's mention of Walter Wink's work comes to mind.
- With the Sense aspect,
- we direct attention to a state of affairs or present items for consideration.
- With the Feeling aspect,
- we express our feelings toward the items under our consideration or state within our attention.
- With the Tone aspect,
- we show our attitude toward the audience(listeners or readers), our awareness of the relations among us.
- With the Intention aspect,
- we arrange our words in accordance with overall aims or purposes which may be conscious, or not. We can't know if our words are successful or not unless we see their effects in relation to our purpose.
Style… the secrets of "style" could… be shown to be matters of tone, of the perfect recognition of he writer's relation to the reader in view of what is being said and their joing feelings about it.
… [Bad writing] "overdoes" what it attempts, and so insults the reader… When a commonplace, either of thought or feeling, is delivered with an air appropriate to a fresh discovery or a revelation, we can properly grow suspicious. For by the tone in which a great writer handles these familiar things we can tell whether they have their due place in the whole fabric of his thought and feeling and whether, therefore, he has the right to our attention. Good manners, fundamentally, are a reflection of our sense of proportion, and faults of tone are much more than mere superficial blemishes. They may indicate a very deep disorder.
We must distinguish, however, between what may be called fundamental good manners and the code that rules in any given period…
— I.A. Richards in Practical Criticism (1929) pp.198-199
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