Observations on Linguistic Connotations

Emotions play a very important role in arguments, not because they contribute to determining factual truth, but because they have tremendous influence over convincing power (and also because they can be used to bait your opponent into saying something they'll regret).

How to inflame

Something that in turn has tremendous infleunce over emotions is the *connotation* of the words we choose. Understanding these connotations can help us exploit them and avoid being affected by our adversaries exploiting them against us. Here are a few I want to shed light on.

Mass Effect makes heavy use of this one for its racist propaganda. Nothing would sound as universal and yet personally applicable if they said "Krogans started the war" instead of "The Krogans started the war".

Mass Effect review

Prismata review

Statistics - not the trump card you think

A better way of phrasing it is "But who decided who counts as a harasser in that study? How do we know the judgements are unbiased?" This phrasing shows better how the burden is on your opponent to defend their claim and is slightly less vulnerable to emotional responses like the above.

Also, questions asking for proof or for a simple answer are usually stronger than statements because a statement doesn't linguistically require a response. If a *question* goes unanswered, it's seen as a sign that the person it was posed to *couldn't* answer it, probably because they're in the wrong.

* revenge | retaliation | retribution, justice

* obsessed | dedicated, devout

* unsolicited | surprise

* negativity | criticism

* arrogant | proud

* stubborn, obstinate, bent | determined, confident, resolute

* forced, nonconsensual | compulsory, mandatory

* complicated | intricate

* kill | execute

* kidnap | arrest

* slavery | draft, conscription (this one isn't an exact equivalency, but the latter two are far too nice-sounding for being a strict subset of slavery)

* theft (or come on, at least "property seizure") | eminent domain, civil forfeiture, taxation


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