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#113070 - 10/04/03 12:52 AM connotation v. denotation  
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We all know what these two mean here, don't we? They're just easy to distinguish between for us, aren't they!

Problem is: The dictionary definitions, though clear to us, are going to fall flat on the ears of my kids at school.

Can any of you take a stab at connotation--explain it in your own words with any example, no matter how bizarre? Actually, bizarre examples seem to have more sticking power than ordinary ones.

I will be very appreciative. If I can use something that one of you uses here, I will certainly give your board name persona credit. Oh, and I will provide about four different definitions out of standard dictionaries for my kids, but, honestly, real people's off-the-cuff explanations seem to get class discussions going more than, ho-hum, dictionary definitions.

Thanks for any input into connotation.


#113071 - 10/04/03 03:08 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Ha! Well, it's 5 a.m. here, so let's hope that this makes sense:

Connotation, to me is an implied secondary meaning in addition to the direct meaning. And I'd better be right, because that's the way I've always used it and I'd look a right idiot if I've got it wrong, huh?

"Wordwind went to the shop. The connotation of that is that she needed to buy some groceries."

Denote, on the other hand, is the primary meaning - "The stars on the New Zealand flag denote the Southern Cross."

HTH


#113072 - 10/04/03 03:23 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Connotation: an idea that is understood but not stated, when a certain word or phrase is used.

I think the only way I internalized this meaning was by seeing examples. I'll see if I can think of any: evil; gypsyish; hippie. Here's one they may relate to, although I myself don't know all the connotations: punk, or punker.
This thread reminds me of Anna's link to that site where foreign writers had so much trouble translating Pres. Bush's "Bring it on"--we in the U.S. knew exactly what was meant.


EDIT: Hrmph! Well, [nose in air e] it's getting on for 12:30 a.m., here, so I hope mine makes sense! (How dare he sneak his in while I was composing, grumble grumble...)

#113073 - 10/04/03 11:08 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Dear Wordwind

One of the problems with connotation is, of course, that often the primary connotation takes on the role of main meaning, or denotation. For instance, sinister means left-handed, or on the left, but the connotation, from left-handed people being viewed as a bit weird, has now become the denotative meaning for the word – a bit dark and possibly evil.

If you want really explosive, as it were, denotation/connotation differences, try sexually or racially loaded words. The word ‘negro’, for instance, is simply Spanish for ‘black’, but think of the connotations!

What about ‘blonde’? Of course it’s a hair colour, but worldwide (and especially in the UK), it also ‘stands for’ ditzy, dizzy, silly, even stupid: “I’m having a blonde moment”.

Or take another simple example: ‘vulture’ – a type of large bird that usually feeds by scavenging and tends to have a featherless head and neck. But connotatively – the epitome of the evil feeder on the dead, a scrounger that waits for you to die so that it can ravage your corpse. How easily it lends itself to metaphorical use with regard to humans and their behaviours: impossible without the connotations of the word.

Or think of words that, in modern scientific use are near-synonyms, like ‘brain’ and ‘mind’, but how different in their connotations: a mind suggests an aspiring object, an entity separated from the corporeal, a thing that drives itself; a brain, on the other hand, is definitely corporeal and if at all it drives the body, it seems to do so mechanically, compared to the spiritual dimension we attribute to the mind. The brain can be clever, but it is the mind that is creative.

“This is the feminine gender”. “She is very feminine”. Cherchez le difference…

Nice topic.

cheer

the sunshine warrior


#113074 - 10/04/03 11:18 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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The usage note for denote in the AHD4, I think, is good, as are the examples we've been given here by various AWADdies. What we need is a good mnemonic for remembering which is which.

Denote just sounds more 'pointy" to me; connote has more of a sidelong feel to it.


#113075 - 10/04/03 12:49 PM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Many euphimisms and aphorisms convey meaning through their connotations in that more is understood than what is actually said. Here are some examples that come to mind. Not all may be suitable for children...

A woman of ill repute At face value this means a woman who has a bad reputation for some unstated reason; we all know that it means a prostitute. Likewise a lady of the evening.

John kicked the bucket. Everyone knows this has nothing to do with John's foot and a cylindrical container.

Watch the maid closely as she has sticky fingers. The maid's fingers are soiled with glue or honey; she's known to be prone to larceny.

There are lots of (unkind) euphimisms for mental illness: bats in the belfry, not playing with a full deck, etc

Likewise for stupidity: not the most colorful crayon in the box, not the sharpest pencil in the pack etc


#113076 - 10/04/03 04:33 PM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Here's another example, WW. My daughter and I have just returned home from what was known for years and years as the St. James Court Art Fair. Recently the official name was changed to the St. James Court Art Show. And I hate that, because although it is a juried art show, the noun "fair" has SUCH a better connotation about it: images of movement, color, and most of all, fun. And this really is; it's out of doors, on a street full of Victorian houses and big old trees; the atmosphere is very fair-like--customers and sellers alike are ready to have a good time: there are no grouches, there! The displays, of course, are colorful, and some of the art even moves, such as hanging stained glass and the big, bright kites; and the crowd makes an ever-changing kaleidoscope (not one you could fit in your house, Helen!) of movement, color, and noise.

We got hot chocolate to sustain us through the chill upon our arrival, and by lunch time we were sitting at a picnic table with our food, the sun warming us and just enough of a breeze to keep it from being hot. Wonderful!


#113077 - 10/04/03 04:55 PM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Thanks to everybody above! You've provided a good number of terrific examples I can use when putting together the Connotation Page.

How much fun using the 'having a blonde moment' and Jackie's story about the art fair v. art show among the others above. I think I can broach a little bit of sexuality. Need to think about that...

In doing a bit of Googling, I realized that another area rife with examples is that of pictorial connotations used in advertising. So I'll try to pull one apt example in black and white off the Web to flesh out my page a bit.

Many thanks to you all! If I put the page together this weekend, I'll paste here what I ended up with other than the pictures.


#113078 - 10/05/03 03:45 PM Re: cottonation v. detonation  
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This is very easy: detonation is the action of causing a substance to explode; cottonation (quite a rare word) is the action of friezing cloth.

what's that?!... oh, never mind.



#113079 - 10/05/03 04:48 PM Re: cottonation v. detonation  
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But, but...cotton plants won't grow where it's freezing...


#113080 - 10/05/03 07:09 PM Just do it  
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Can any of you take a stab at connotation?

How about using Nike's "swoosh" symbol and slogan "Just do it" as examples of "denotation" and "connotation" respectively?

What does the "swoosh" symbol denote?

What is the connotation of "Just do it"?

The kids know what "Just do it" connotes ... but it may not have the same connotation for them as it does for us.


#113081 - 10/05/03 08:55 PM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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What we need is a good mnemonic for remembering which is which.

If I wrote about “dealing the Queen of Hearts”, I would be denoting a playing card; but the connotations might include references to feelings of love and so on.

Connotation is context;
Denotation is the deal itself.



#113082 - 10/06/03 12:21 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Cool mnemonic, Mav!

tsuwm--ha! You surprised me! Completely delightful bit of absurdity from you!


#113083 - 10/06/03 04:11 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Denotation is the definition, connotation is what they'll use to con you.

Bingley


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#113084 - 10/06/03 01:40 PM verbal ouroboros  
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I just realized another example: verbal. Strictly speaking this word means of, or relating, to words, but when we say a verbal contract we mean a spoken agreement rather than a formal, written contract. So the denotation is "related to words" but the connotation is "oral rather than written."

from http://www.m-w.com
Main Entry: verbal
Pronunciation: 'v&r-b&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin verbalis, from Latin verbum word
Date: 15th century
1 a : of, relating to, or consisting of words <verbal instructions> b : of, relating to, or involving words rather than meaning or substance <a consistency that is merely verbal and scholastic -- B. N. Cardozo> c : consisting of or using words only and not involving action <a verbal protest>
2 : of, relating to, or formed from a verb <a verbal adjective>
3 : spoken rather than written <a verbal contract>



#113085 - 10/14/03 10:54 PM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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I always thought of the difference as Dennotation is from the dictionary and Connotation is how we connect to the word.
My favorite example is the difference between:
He claimed he was 18.
He stated he was 18.
He admitted he was 18.
In a dictionary the definitions aren't that different but our reaction to them is. I won't let my students right that a patient "claimed" to be in pain since the connotation is that the pain is not real.



#113086 - 10/15/03 12:57 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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Zed, that's wonderful, and welcome back! Do you know, I didn't even notice the word ouroboros till I saw your post. What's it mean? Alex?


#113087 - 10/15/03 03:56 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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In reply to:

I won't let my students right that a patient "claimed" to be in pain since the connotation is that the pain is not real.


If you think the connotation is wrong, why won't you let them right what they have written?

Bingley



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#113088 - 10/15/03 10:38 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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If you think the connotation is wrong

Now, Bingley. You know she meant I won't let my students ride that a patient "claimed"…


#113089 - 10/15/03 11:22 PM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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You must right one hundred lines.
I will use spell check.
Iwill use spell check.
I well use spill check.
I wull use splil check.
I will use spill chuck.



#113090 - 10/15/03 11:32 PM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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I had to share this:
on looking up "ouroboros" at One-Look, the sponsor for the day was a company called Endless Pools...



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#113091 - 10/16/03 12:29 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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We're back at the bottomless cesspit again, aren't we.

Bingley


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#113092 - 10/16/03 12:35 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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In reply to:

Now, Bingley. You know she meant I won't let my students ride that a patient "claimed"…


...and to think all this time I've been imagining that Zed is a male. Must be the Jed Clampett connection. The Asp will understand.


#113093 - 10/16/03 02:46 PM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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Hey, Wordwind, don't get me involved! (I thought you were male at first, too, but hey...)


#113094 - 10/16/03 04:43 PM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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The best way to understand what an ouroboros is is to do a Google image search. (But whatever you do, don't "google" it!) Here's a link to one example http://www.esoterica.gr/articles/sciences/quantic/ouroboros.jpg. I was just being cheeky because the idea that the word "verbal" would serve to illustrate a linguistic concept seemed...autophagous as it were.



I thought of another good connotation/denotation pair. "Evil" and "wicked" seem pretty close, but in normal everyday speech here in the U.S. we'd use the latter more to describe someone whose activities violated social mores (e.g. sexual mores), for example "a wicked woman." But someone who is truly dangerous or harmful would be more aptly described as evil.

#113095 - 10/17/03 01:41 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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Ewww, what is that thing? Thanks, though--at least now I know. Alex--you can be very deep, you know that? Very subtle connections there, my friend. Kudos.


#113096 - 10/17/03 11:04 AM ouroboros :again, and again  
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Its interesting, i looked at ouroboros, and it took me a minute to recognize it,(sad) since i have posted the word not once but twice! (and sadder still the second time, i was claiming once again not to know the word!)

i wonder if its the concept, or what, but its a word that several of us have trouble remembering!

(my last post about it was 24/25 months ago? --somehow, i think it was near/just before September 11( the september 11) i have vague memeries, that the book was late back to the libray because it was on my desk, and the office was closed, and i couldn't get to it.)


#113097 - 10/18/03 10:48 AM Re: verbal ouroboros  
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Thanks for posting the link, Alex. I can only imagine what comes up on googling. I tried googling Powwow the Indian Boy earlier this week. Careful with that one, too. Anyone here remember that cartoon? I think Faldage said he did but I haven't found many who do.


#113098 - 10/18/03 01:12 PM Re: Powwow the Indian Boy???  
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Not me. Nuh-unh. Must of was sommedy else.


#113099 - 10/18/03 01:25 PM Re: ouroboros :again, and again  
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its a word that several of us have trouble remembering

prolly a silly, but what are other Greek words that are in common usage in English? and what are the synonyms for ouroboros that might be used more frequently? and are some languages just more difficult to integrate into English than others? and why is the sky blue?




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#113100 - 10/24/03 06:23 PM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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"Wordwind went to the shop. The connotation of that is that she needed to buy some groceries."

That sounds more like implication than connotation to me.


#113101 - 10/24/03 11:12 PM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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Nero Wolfe once burned a dictionary because it stated that imply and infer were synonyms.

and WW I'm definitely female and often feminine but not always ladylike.[batting eyelashes -e]

#113102 - 10/26/03 08:34 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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and here's a late entry for this thread from a book I'm currently reading, Bernard Dick's 'Anatomy of film':

… denotation and connotation are not distinct in film. A movie denotes and connotes at the same time. When Isak Borg raises a glass of wine in Bergman's 'Wild strawberries', he is Isak Borg who at that moment is having lunch with his daughter-in-law and some young hitchhikers; he is also Isak Borg the priest figure, officiating at a communion service and elevating not a wineglass but a chalice …

[Discuss! -- and apologies if the film (made in Sweden in 1957) is not familiar to some AWADers]


#113103 - 10/26/03 10:49 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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...and symbols may operate as both denotations and connotations at the same moment.

It has been over 30 years since I saw "Wild Strawberries"--and it is now just a wash of black and white images. A group of people on a hillside--eating strawberries--and was that the one in which Death makes an appearance? I need to refresh my memory because the story has virtually faded away. More of "Cries and Whispers" has stayed with me over the years, come to think of it...


#113104 - 10/27/03 03:17 AM Take your pick, Dub Dub  
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#113105 - 10/27/03 11:01 AM Re: connotation v. denotation  
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denotation and connotation are not distinct in film. A movie denotes and connotes at the same time.

Uh-huh. And this somehow makes film different from anything else?


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