WORDS
and What They Do To You

Beginning Lessons in General Semantics for Junior and Senior High School
by CATHERINE MINTEER
Illustrations by Lucy Ozone

INSTITUTE OF GENERAL SEMANTICS
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK USA

© 1953, Row, Peterson and Company
© 1965, Cathrine Minteer
Web Edition © 2001, Institute of General Semantics

Table of Contents

EDITOR’S NOTE FOR THE WEB EDITION
WHAT WE OBSERVED IN TEACHING GENERAL SEMANTICS
HOW THE LESSONS ARE ORGANIZED
LESSON
1 WHAT DO WE STUDY IN GENERAL SEMANTICS?
2 WHY DO WE STUDY LANGUAGE HABITS?
3 HOW HUMAN BEINGS DIFFER FROM ANIMALS
4 WORDS ARE NOT OBJECTS OR FEELINGS OR EVENTS
5 NON-ALLNESS-MANY DETAILS-USE OF ETC.
6 HOW WE SELECT DETAILS
7 KINDS OF STATEMENTS-FACTUAL AND INFERENTIAL
8 HOW WE USE THIS NEW LEARNING
9 PROJECTION
10 THE MANY USES OF A WORD
11 SEEING DIFFERENCES-USE OF THE INDEX
12 A WORLD IN PROCESS-THINGS CHANGE-USE OF DATE
13 WORDS ARE LIKE MAPS
14 UNQUALIFIED STATEMENTS
15 EITHER-OR VS. MANY VALUES
16 WHAT ARE GOOD QUESTIONS?
SUGGESTIONS FOR CLASS CHECK UPS
INCIDENTS FOR DISCUSSION
ILLUSTRATIVE READINGS
BOOKS SUGGESTED FOR FURTHER READING

The endsheets of this little book were designed to stress the facts that we live in a constant crossfire of language and that words do something to us. By words we mean all forms of communication—words that reach us in conversations and speeches and classroom discussions, over the radio and television, through newspapers, magazines, and books, from billboards and from advertising on packages.
As indicated above, the program developed in this book is in the area of communication. It presents comprehensive, flexible plans for a course of sixteen lessons. Based on some of the principles of general semantics, the lessons deal with the relationship between language and thought, with the scientific use of language, and with some misuses of language. The course is designed to train pupils to detect and to deal with bias, prejudice, oversimplifications, and ambiguity in what they read and hear. The pupil is also trained to look to language for a clue to understanding himself, understanding his relationship to others, and understanding his environment. Human relations, science, and social science can be correlated subjects in this expanded program of language arts.
Experience shows that these lessons provide pupils with a new, strong motivation for careful listening, critical reading, accurate speaking, and effective writing.





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