U-Assignment 1: 10 Words to Know

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U-Assignment 1: 10 Words to Know

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:29 am

The objective of this lesson is to begin defining words by context. The word 'context' comes from Latin. 'Con-" means "together"; "texere" means to weave or to make. So a "context" is a weaving together, a joining together of meanings within text that are not explicitly stated.

There are many forms of context. Not only do we encounter context in individual sentences and paragraphs of our reading, but also in the historical and social background of the text itself. When and where was it written? What were the predominant ideas, social mores, and conventions of that time? How did the author's contemporaries react to the text?

When Thoman More wrote "Utopia", sea travel was very common for trade and exploration. People were becoming very interested in the customs and cultures of other lands. Learning how people lived abroad inspired Europeans to critically examine their own society and ways of doing things, instead of just assuming that European customs were the only ones (or the best). Probably, only educated and wealthy people could read Thomas More's book, as mass industrialized printing would not be developed for many years. Some of the phrases, conversational conventions, and colloquial terms in the book would sound unfamiliar to a modern reader, as the form of English common in the 1500s would be considered archaic now.

Other forms of context exist at the level of the word (etymological derivation) and sentence, and paragraph. Please use this thread to discuss all things contextual!


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