Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

General Semantics at UNLV. (News & Notes)

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

General Semantics at UNLV. (News & Notes)

Article excerpt

About 35 students attended a course titled General Semantics and Public Discourse at the University of Nevada this summer. Dr. Martha Watson, Dean of the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and holder of the Professorship, developed the course for junior and senior communication majors.

"Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Sanford Berman, who created the Sanford Berman Professor of General Semantics, the Hank Greenspun School of Communication was able to offer an introductory course in General Semantics during the summer term," Professor Watson told ETC.

Professor Watson introduced the students to the basic theories of general semantics and then led them in the application of the theories to the understanding of pieces of public discourse. The course began with an examination of the relationship between words and things. With that as a basis, the students were asked to look at language in action in samples of public discourse.

"For example," said Dr. Watson, "the students examined Barbara Jordan's Statement during the impeachment trial of Richard Nixon as a sample of how a skillful, principled rhetor can use factual statements to support inferences. Within the speech, Jordan first states the criterion for an impeachable offense and then iterates the activities of Nixon that correspond to those criteria. …

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