A concept is an idea, especially an abstract one; it is the notion of the world around us. A concept includes one’s image of things or actions. A concept is considered to be a cognitive unit of meaning; it consists of an image, a symbol, an association. In language, the concept is represented with a word. While hearing the word “town” we imagine someplace or events related to this word, other people may have absolutely different images arising in their minds after hearing this word. According to the dictionary article, a town is “a thickly populated area, usually smaller than a city and larger than a village, having fixed boundaries and certain local powers of government” (Dictionary 1).
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The concept “small town” may be described in several ways. The first method that I am going to apply practically is the method of associations. Can anyone tell me what comes to your mind after having heard the word combination “small town”? The images would be different even if people belong to the same religion, social status, have the same background knowledge. Even people who were born in such a small town grew up and lived there during a long period of their lives would have completely different images of “small town”.
Thus a little girl about five years old that lives in a small town possesses a certain image of her native town which is small and cozy, her parents live there, her friend is also an inhabitant of this small town. For this little girl, a small town is a place equal to home; it is a place where she, her parents, and friends live, a place where she can see fireworks on the 4th of July and eat some ice cream. An elderly man has got another image of a small town. For him, it is the place where he has lived all his life, where he went to school, met his first love, got married, and started a family,
where all his companions live with their families and gather for a Saturday night preference. A small town is the storage place for memories of the whole life. People possess absolutely different opinions on the same notion.
And the last person to be set as an example is a young boy who lives in a small town that is applied to the metropolitan area of New York. This boy works in an office in the centre of the city and lives in a small town as it is much cheaper to rent a flat in a small town than in the city. For this boy a small town is just a transshipment point of his life. Someday he will make enough money to rent or even buy apartment in the city. Thus different people have different concepts of a small town, as different sources possess different images of this concept. The dictionary article gives one definition; the public opinion poll would give a great number of other different definitions, as many men, many minds.
A concept is a range of associations, images or symbols connected in the mind of one person with some events, people or actions from his/her life. The concepts of one and the same notion are different for different people, as every one imagines different things in diverse ways and sees the notion in the light of his/her own perception. Thus the concept of a small town can be viewed according to the background knowledge, social position, age and many other different principles. Any concept can be represented in many different ways.
Dictionary.com. An Ask.com Service. 2009. Dictionary.com, LLC. Web.