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Denotations and Connotations in Language Essay

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Updated: Aug 14th, 2022

Even the most common word can cause negative or positive associations within different persons. These associations can be defined as the meaning of a word and are divided into two groups: denotation and connotation. Fauziyah and Ilmi (2020) claim that denotative and connotative meanings could be found in many literary works, such as short stories, poetry, and novels. For a correct understanding of many texts, both literary and, for example, legal, it is necessary to distinguish one meaning from another and to understand the context of their use.

Almost any word can have both types of meanings; however, while connotation can be challenging to find, denotation is always present. This is because this term means the dictionary, direct meaning of a word, which is perceived equally by the majority of native speakers (“Denotation vs. Connotation,” n.d.). In other words, denotation has the actual definition of a word, without reference to any emotional associations. An example of denotation is understanding the word “house” as a structure used for living. This phrase is correct and understandable to any person, but at the same time, it is devoid of emotional connotation.

The connotation, in turn, can be unique to each person, referring to the emotional or psychological associations. This meaning is primarily based on the cultural and social context, as well as the person’s experiences (“Denotation vs. Connotation,” n.d.). Rao (2017) states that connotation plays an essential role in almost every part of communication. The example of the word “home” used above can be perceived by one person with the help of connotation as a place filled with comfort, and for another, it can be associated with unpleasant memories. Both examples will be correct connotations of specific people regarding a given word.

Therefore, different types of texts and speech must use different types of word meanings. For homeland security paper, it is necessary to use denotations that have strict definitions. Since such documents are widely used and are read by many people, they must have a specific interpretation that does not allow finding any second meaning. To maintain this level, they are often introduced in the text of papers to avoid incorrect readings and, as a result, inaccurate conclusions or actions. This is especially important for homeland security papers that regulate an entire state’s security since there should be no disagreement about the values in this case.

References

Fauziyah N. N., & Ilmi R. N. (2020). Denotative and connotative analysis on Elia Pettie’s short story. Journal of Applied Studies in Language, 4, 57-67. Web.

Rao, C. S. (2017). A brief study of words used in denotation and connotation. Journal for Research Scholars and Professionals of English Language Teaching, 1, 1-5.

(n.d.). Dictionary.com. Web.

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