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The Anatomy and Biology of a particular human being do not vary greatly from one another. Their understanding, on the other hand, is what sets them apart. They all stem from different backgrounds and, while some have had tough lives, some have had it better. Some are adopted by their own parents, and others are not, but they all have different morals and values. When they get older, they can have new careers, meet different people, see different things, and face different challenges. It is why they formulate their own opinions and these views almost always lead to bias. People can only pass judgment based on their recollections of the events that take place around them both in the past and in the present. As Newman P. Birk and Genevieve B. Birk eloquently explains in their book “Selection, Slanting, and Charged Language,” no one can be blamed for this incidence because knowledge and experiences tend to dictate how people react to their words.
The principle of selection, according to Birk and Birk, tends to play a significant role in determining what human accept or reject regardless of whether they intended or not (223). The way issues are perceived is primarily based on the knowledge one already has and their selective memory. According to the authors "In both noticing and remembering, the principle of selection applies, and it is influenced not only by our particular interest and point of view but by our whole mental state of the moment" (224). Birk and Birk explain how a student who was feeling embarrassed while in class would lose focus of what was going on around them but would be able to remember precisely. They describe a feeling of blood mounting, as he felt embarrassed which went up his face and into his ears (224). A person’s physical, emotional, and mental state also plays a significant role in the process of selection. Before anything is selected and placed into our memory the process of selection acts as a sieve that chooses what is important (224). The mind’s selection feature is based on the fact that it is hard to take in everything at once, a reality that the authors relate as a complicated object or setting of the subject’s awareness (224). So, what is observed is based on the principle of selection in use when we obtain that knowledge.
The Concept of Slanting
The principle of slanting is a founded on contrasting foundations to the principle of selection, which takes place while one is receiving information and it occurs when knowledge is converted into words. Slanting may be defined as the process of selecting knowledge that is either factual or attitudinal, words, and emphasis, to enable the realization of intention of the communicator (Birk and Birk 224). In this scenario, a person would use their emotions and facts they have kept, select words, and put emphasis to convey what they want to express. According to the authors, “Slanting by use of the devices of emphasis is unavoidable, for emphasis is simply the giving of stress to subject matter, and so indicating what is important and what is less important" (225). The way a speaker or writer would use the principle of slanting through emphasis would be with the use of punctuation marks, the order in which they choose to place their words, and the highlight of words. “For example, if we have in mind only two facts about a man, his awkwardness and his strength, we subtly slant those facts favorably or unfavorably in whatever way we may choose to join them” (225). Going off Birk and Birk’s example, one would choose to either place the word they find unfavorable or favorable to slant what is and what is not important. Slanting through a selection of facts is using verifiable facts to slant the point of view in either for or against the subject by using favorable or unfavorable facts.
Slanting by using charged words are specific terms used to get a favorable or unfavorable reaction. The Corlyn descriptions use direct words to produce different results; the first Corlyn description, the writer describes Corlyn's attire as "A well-cut black dress draped subtly about her slender form" (229). In the second Corlyn description, the writer describes the same girl attire as "A plain black dress hung on her thin frame" (229). Clearly, the facts used in the first description were placed to be favorable to describe Corlyn and the second unfavorable to her description. Which is a prime example why it is important to notice the use of charged words; being in control of its use dictates the response to be taken either negatively or positively. The use of charged language inattentively can cause the readers to view it as bias and respond with unintentional negative feedback. However, Birk and Birk explains how “without charged language, life would be but half life” (231). Based on these it is correct to use charged language just with caution.
In the Jamieson paper, it is hard to find bias at work. Word placement, punctuation, and facts that are used all appear to be utilized in the correct form. After reading the paper, the information obtained did appear to be based on favorable or unfavorable perceptions but seemed to appear as a balance. Jamieson provided each side with its facts and questions. The amount of information on each side of the argument also seemed to be in balance. He was fair by opting not to take sides throughout the paper as he provided the facts of each side and allowed the reader to formulate their opinion. The structure of paper provided a chance for those with a negative or positive response, depending on the side the reader preferred. For the most part, Jamieson did a good job keep the use of charged language under control there for also keeping biased views at bay.
Birk and Birk’s passage explains the process where people tend to consciously or unconsciously select knowledge to be expressed through words. Each process was broken down into lettered sections that include the principles of selection and slanting, slanting by the use of emphasis, slanting by the selection of facts, and slanting through the use of charged words. The tools provided by Birk and Birk, give an individuals insight on how to detect bias at work in different ways. The knowledge obtained by facts or observation goes through the process of selection, it then passes through a screening of selection and slanting as it is put into words. A lot of the information is processed with the use of emphasis of facts. The emphasis of facts can lead many people to have a negative or positive response to the use of charged language, which tends to be unavoidable. It should, however, be utilized properly so that knowledge is shared and obtained accurately.
Eschholz Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark, eds. Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. 11th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2013. Print
Birk, Newman. Birk, Genevieve. “Selection, Slanting, and Charged Language” Eschholz, Rosa, and Clark 223-231.
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