Analysis Of The Article 'What's In A Word' By George Lakoff

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In the article “What’s in a Word?” (2004), the author George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, describes that the term utilized to refer to the issue of same-sex marriage and the way that society frames the issue can change the whole view. Lakoff develops his claim by breaking down the issue of gay marriage into three perspectives: to American society, to conservatives and to liberals. Lakoff’s purpose of this article is to reveal how the meaning of a word and attitude towards an issue can have a negative affect as a whole in order to encourage Americans to reframe the negative connotation of gay marriage. Lakoff utilizes analytical and persuasive tones throughout the article to approach to his intended…show more content…
Marriage is the beginning of family life, culmination of a period of seeking a mate, and realization of a major goal.
• Paragraph 3: Lakoff asserts that marriage is a big deal. Marriage can also be understood in terms of metaphors such as a journey through life long together, a partnership and etc. Moreover, marriage confers a social status and gives new social roles as married couple.
• Paragraph 4: Lakoff explains that marriage comes with a variety of prototypical cases: the ideal marriage is happy, typical marriage has its ups and downs, and nightmare marriage ends in divorce. Moreover, marriage contains cultural stereotype which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.
• Paragraph 5: Lakoff explains that because marriage is central to family life, it has a political dimension. Often conservative and progressive politics are organized around two different models of married life which are a strict father family and a nurturing parent family.
• Paragraph 6: In strict father family, father has the authority over family as a household and marriage must be heterosexual
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What is at stake is more than the material benefits of marriage and the use of the word. It is about which values will dominate in our society.
• Paragraph 9: Conservatives see that their political values are under attack when it comes to same-sex marriage. This is a serious matter for their politics and moral values as a whole.
• Paragraph 10: Progressives divides into two minds when it comes to same-sex marriage. Pragmatic liberals see the issue as one of the benefits – inheritance, health care, adoption, etc. Civil union would provide equal material protection under the law.
• Paragraph 11: Idealistic progressives see beyond the material benefits. Most gay activists want more than civil unions. They want full-blown marriage, with all its cultural meanings and a sense of normality, on a par with all other people.
• Paragraph 12: Lakoff explains that because the word “gay” means deviant, and sexually irresponsible lifestyle to radical right, they prefer “gay marriage” instead of “same-sex marriage.” Moreover, Lakoff describes that many Americans are against “gay marriage” because of the stereotype of heterosexual

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