Monday, November 25, 2019

Definition and Examples of Associative Meaning

Definition and Examples of Associative Meaning In semantics, associative meaning refers to the particular qualities or characteristics beyond the denotative meaning that people commonly think of (correctly or incorrectly) in relation to a word or phrase. Also known as  expressive meaning and stylistic meaning. In Semantics: The Study of Meaning (1974), British linguist Geoffrey Leech introduced the term associative meaning to refer to the various types of meaning that are distinct from denotation (or conceptual meaning): connotative, thematic, social, effective, reflective, and collocative. See Examples and Observations below. Also, see: Conceptual MeaningConnotationFigurative MeaningGlittering GeneralitiesMeaningPolysemyReflected MeaningSemanticsSemantic TransparencyStipulative DefinitionSubtextSynonymy Examples and Observations A good example of a common noun with an almost universal associative meaning is nurse. Most people automatically associate nurse with woman. This unconscious association is so widespread that the term male nurse has had to be coined to counteract its effect.(Sndor Hervey and Ian Higgins, Thinking French Translation: A Course in Translation Method, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2002)Cultural and Personal AssociationsA word can sweep by your ear and by its very sound suggest hidden meanings, preconscious association. Listen to these words: blood, tranquil, democracy. You know what they mean literally but you have associations with those words that are cultural, as well as your own personal associations.(Rita Mae Brown, Starting From Scratch. Bantam, 1988)Pig[W]hen some people hear the word pig they think of a particularly dirty and unhygienic animal. These associations are largely mistaken, at least in comparison with most other farm animals (although their association with various cultural tradi tions and related emotional responses are real enough), so we would probably not include these properties in the connotations of the word. But the associative meaning of a word often has very powerful communicative and argumentative consequences, so it is important to mention this aspect of meaning.(Jerome E. Bickenbach and Jacqueline M. Davies, Good Reasons for Better Arguments: An Introduction to the Skills and Values of Critical Thinking. Broadview Press, 1998) Conceptual Meaning and Associative MeaningWe can . . . make a broad distinction between conceptual meaning and associative meaning. Conceptual meaning covers those basic, essential components of meaning that are conveyed by the literal use of a word. It is the type of meaning that dictionaries are designed to describe. Some of the basic components of a word like needle in English might include thin, sharp, steel instrument. These components would be part of the conceptual meaning of needle. However, different people might have different associations or connotations attached to a word like needle. They might associate it with pain, or illness, or blood, or drugs, or thread, or knitting, or hard to find (especially in a haystack), and these associations may differ from one person to the next. These types of associations are not treated as part of the words conceptual meaning. . . .Poets, songwriters, novelists, literary critics, advertisers, and lovers may all be interested in how word s can evoke certain aspects of associative meaning, but in linguistic semantics, were more concerned with trying to analyze conceptual meaning.(George Yule, The Study of Language, 4th ed. Cambridge University Press, 2010) The Lighter Side of Associative MeaningMichael Bluth: What do you think of when you hear the word, Sudden Valley?George Michael Bluth: Salad dressing, I think. But for some reason, I dont want to eat it.Michael Bluth: Right. But Paradise Gardens?George Michael Bluth: Yeah. Okay, I can see marinating a chicken in that.(Jason Bateman and Michael Cera in Switch Hitter. Arrested Development, 2005)

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