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Class:ENG 120E - THE EXPERIENCE OF LITERATURE
Subject:ENGLISH
University:Connecticut College
Term:Fall 2014
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To be able to understand language convention, need to read the text and identify language conventions that have been used. Language conventions are the techniques used to construct a text’s meaning and the purpose. In simple terms, language conventions are used to help write a text based on narrative and generic conventions.


Before I talk about some language conventions that I have identified and sort of analysed from the short story “Reason” by Isaac Asimov. 


I would like to know what you know about the term language conventions in general: 

Figurative language 

Tone 

Dialogues between the character’s

Language pattern 

Language features 

Stylistic features 

Intertextuality

For example, figurative languages are only common in persuasive texts not in short stories so it don’t apply in “Reason”.


Some language conventions that I was able to identify from the text are:

(Slide 2)

Q) What is Derogatory Language? (Slide 3)

(Class input)

Asimov uses derogatory language; words that are meant to hurt people’s feelings or insult someone from what is said about them.


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(Slide 4)

Theses are some derogatory terms used in “Reason”.

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Why is Cutie being painful?    Does any one know? 

This is because of his questioning on his existence as a robot.

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As the fact that he won’t believe human’s made it.

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The author has purposely used these words to implement the hate humans have on their own creations, when difficulties occur with technology (Such as when the latest device is not working to what you might have expected, the word ‘worthless’ is used to express the rage.


In “Reason” the character Donavon has been represented as an aggressive scientist that physically abuses the robots. (Little gap) 


Such as this quote from the text, (Slide 5)


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Evidently it’s the words said by Donovan that justify his offence as a character in the text. This is shown from the use of harsh derogatory language that Asimov has used to position the robots, as victims who are being tortured from scientists. (Which might not be true, depending on the perspective of reader)


It clearly shows the readers that the scientists don’t care for sentient robots. But instead labels the robots with ruthless names. Such as mentioned. 

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(Section 2:)


As “Reason” is a Science Fiction short story, it is essential for the author to use scientific language, as part of language convention. 


He uses this type of metalanguage by combining technology and science to set a futuristic setting in the story.

Such as these quotes. 

(Slide 6)


2. Why has the author used these words? (Don’t read the question)

The reason why the author had used these words is because; science fiction involves technology we currently don’t have access to or have invented, so names of specific processes and equipment will have odd names to those in the past. Just like iPhones would have been considered as a science fiction product in the early 20th century. 


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Because Asimov was a professor of biochemistry it was easy for him to use scientific language in his stories, as he knew what the words meant.

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Q) Any other impacts you can think off?

What if Asimov had used these terms instead?

(Slide 7) 


Q) Why did’t Asimov purposely use “gamma-ray intensity”, when he could have used other words?


They seem fine, but the fact is that the words don't fit well with what Asimov is trying to imply, so it is important use the correct word to get the point across. 


They are very similar in the sense of ‘energy’ and ‘power’, but the use of “gamma-ray intensity” represents that the influence of Science in the text. 


Section 3:

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Language that makes fun of religion is also used in “Reason” that allows people to attribute things that happen to them as acts of God, or what was meant to happen, rather than thinking about how or why it happened. This helps in building up the story line by the influence of intertextual content that can challenge the reader’s thoughts.

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Religious (Makes fun)

(Slide 8)

These terms directly satirise religion, because “Master” is referred to God. As Cutie believes that the control centre is the “Master”.

From what i have said, why do you think Asimov has used these terms in the text?

Yes, its is to make fun of religion, bringing in his own personal thoughts about religion and questioning on the existence of God. 

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The reason why Asimov has used these terms is from the influence of him being a rationalist who doesn’t believe in God but instead looks for reasons. 

(Which is why I'm guessing the tittle of the text is “Reason”.)

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Similar to QT’s constant need for reasons regarding existence, it is similar to Asimov. As he also needs reasons as to why people believe in religion.  


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However:

- Asimov believed that science is strictly a construct of the human mind working according to the laws of nature. And that religion is something that lies outside and may embrace science.

- Question is, why does Asimov have religion aspect in the story?

This is because he believed that “it is impossible to write science fiction and really ignore religion”.

- With the use of religion Asimov shows that reason is not such a high train of thought, because it can be shaped based on what someone wants to think. Reason may be a part of being “human,” but that doesn’t mean that the ideas that come from it are always good.

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And this is mainly from Asimov’s contextual perspective that he has implemented it in the short story. 

Use of intertextuality:

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In contrary Asimov has cleverly used the convention of diction in “Reason” associated with the word Prophet at a time when society was losing faith in religion. In the text, Asimov has used intertextuality that creates a meaning of satirising religion by using a famous statement and changing the main belief of a particular religion (which is in this case from Islam) to suit his own purpose. 

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When Cutie says, ( Slide 9:) “There is no Master but the Master and QT One is his prophet!”) This especially challenges audience’s expectations of the time by contrasting the religious belief between human beings known as the robots in the text, and God who is the Master.


(Slide 10)


Section 4:

Asimov has also implemented the use of Philosophy to tie the existence of Cutie with life. Deep philosophical questions are used in “Reason” about what it means to be alive, how we make sense of our own existence, and how we use (often faulty) but logic to get there. 


Philosophy: 

(Slide 11)

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The quotes represent QT’s philosophy regarding him questioning how he was, in a way, born but also how be came into existence. Then draws to the conclusion that he was made by the Master based on his philosophies.

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René Descartes, famous French philosopher’s quote has been used : "I think; therefore, I am".

- He was the first major figure in the philosophical movement known as rationalism, a method of understanding the world based on the use of reason as the means to attain knowledge.

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Even though Asimov wrote  the story long before current developments in artificial intelligence, Asimov had profound insights into the philosophical and moral implications. As his writing is filled with cautionary tales against technology


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In “Reason,” the philosophy is applied and makes Cutie seem as a spiritual machine, because of his continuous questioning about it’s own existence. By showing the comparisons of Cutie’s existential journey to the concept that is credited to Descartes, this scenario demonstrates that such a form of synthetic life may be able to rationalise its own existence and create its own religion. By mimicking this aspect of the “human condition,” Cutie shows that such a robot could blur the line between what we consider synthetic and what we consider human.


End: (Slide 12)

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What i have said can be used to answer exam questions that involve language conventions. Have a god at this question using the information I have presented. 

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To be able to understand language convention, need to read the text and identify language conventions that have been used. Language conventions are the techniques used to construct a text’s meaning and the purpose. In simple terms, language conventions are used to help write a text based on narrative and generic conventions.


Before I talk about some language conventions that I have identified and sort of analysed from the short story “Reason” by Isaac Asimov. 


I would like to know what you know about the term language conventions in general: 

Figurative language 

Tone 

Dialogues between the character’s

Language pattern 

Language features 

Stylistic features 

Intertextuality

  

For example, figurative languages are only common in persuasive texts not in short stories so it don’t apply in “Reason”.


Some language conventions that I was able to identify from the text are:

(Slide 2)

Q) What is Derogatory Language? (Slide 3)

(Class input)

Asimov uses derogatory language; words that are meant to hurt people’s feelings or insult someone from what is said about them.


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(Slide 4)

Theses are some derogatory terms used in “Reason”.

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Why is Cutie being painful?    Does any one know? 

This is because of his questioning on his existence as a robot.

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As the fact that he won’t believe human’s made it.

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The author has purposely used these words to implement the hate humans have on their own creations, when difficulties occur with technology (Such as when the latest device is not working to what you might have expected, the word ‘worthless’ is used to express the rage.


In “Reason” the character Donavon has been represented as an aggressive scientist that physically abuses the robots. (Little gap) 


Such as this quote from the text, (Slide 5)


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Evidently it’s the words said by Donovan that justify his offence as a character in the text. This is shown from the use of harsh derogatory language that Asimov has used to position the robots, as victims who are being tortured from scientists. (Which might not be true, depending on the perspective of reader)


It clearly shows the readers that the scientists don’t care for sentient robots. But instead labels the robots with ruthless names. Such as mentioned. 

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(Section 2:)


As “Reason” is a Science Fiction short story, it is essential for the author to use scientific language, as part of language convention. 


He uses this type of metalanguage by combining technology and science to set a futuristic setting in the story.

Such as these quotes. 

(Slide 6)


2. Why has the author used these words? (Don’t read the question)

The reason why the author had used these words is because; science fiction involves technology we currently don’t have access to or have invented, so names of specific processes and equipment will have odd names to those in the past. Just like iPhones would have been considered as a science fiction product in the early 20th century. 


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Because Asimov was a professor of biochemistry it was easy for him to use scientific language in his stories, as he knew what the words meant.

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Q) Any other impacts you can think off?

What if Asimov had used these terms instead?

(Slide 7) 


Q) Why did’t Asimov purposely use “gamma-ray intensity”, when he could have used other words?


They seem fine, but the fact is that the words don't fit well with what Asimov is trying to imply, so it is important use the correct word to get the point across. 


They are very similar in the sense of ‘energy’ and ‘power’, but the use of “gamma-ray intensity” represents that the influence of Science in the text. 


Section 3:

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Language that makes fun of religion is also used in “Reason” that allows people to attribute things that happen to them as acts of God, or what was meant to happen, rather than thinking about how or why it happened. This helps in building up the story line by the influence of intertextual content that can challenge the reader’s thoughts.

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Religious (Makes fun)

(Slide 8)

These terms directly satirise religion, because “Master” is referred to God. As Cutie believes that the control centre is the “Master”.

From what i have said, why do you think Asimov has used these terms in the text?

Yes, its is to make fun of religion, bringing in his own personal thoughts about religion and questioning on the existence of God. 

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The reason why Asimov has used these terms is from the influence of him being a rationalist who doesn’t believe in God but instead looks for reasons. 

(Which is why I'm guessing the tittle of the text is “Reason”.)

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Similar to QT’s constant need for reasons regarding existence, it is similar to Asimov. As he also needs reasons as to why people believe in religion.  


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However:

- Asimov believed that science is strictly a construct of the human mind working according to the laws of nature. And that religion is something that lies outside and may embrace science.

- Question is, why does Asimov have religion aspect in the story?

This is because he believed that “it is impossible to write science fiction and really ignore religion”.

- With the use of religion Asimov shows that reason is not such a high train of thought, because it can be shaped based on what someone wants to think. Reason may be a part of being “human,” but that doesn’t mean that the ideas that come from it are always good.

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And this is mainly from Asimov’s contextual perspective that he has implemented it in the short story. 

Use of intertextuality:

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In contrary Asimov has cleverly used the convention of diction in “Reason” associated with the word Prophet at a time when society was losing faith in religion. In the text, Asimov has used intertextuality that creates a meaning of satirising religion by using a famous statement and changing the main belief of a particular religion (which is in this case from Islam) to suit his own purpose. 

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When Cutie says, ( Slide 9:) “There is no Master but the Master and QT One is his prophet!”) This especially challenges audience’s expectations of the time by contrasting the religious belief between human beings known as the robots in the text, and God who is the Master.


(Slide 10)


Section 4:

Asimov has also implemented the use of Philosophy to tie the existence of Cutie with life. Deep philosophical questions are used in “Reason” about what it means to be alive, how we make sense of our own existence, and how we use (often faulty) but logic to get there. 


Philosophy: 

(Slide 11)

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The quotes represent QT’s philosophy regarding him questioning how he was, in a way, born but also how be came into existence. Then draws to the conclusion that he was made by the Master based on his philosophies.

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René Descartes, famous French philosopher’s quote has been used : "I think; therefore, I am".

- He was the first major figure in the philosophical movement known as rationalism, a method of understanding the world based on the use of reason as the means to attain knowledge.

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Even though Asimov wrote  the story long before current developments in artificial intelligence, Asimov had profound insights into the philosophical and moral implications. As his writing is filled with cautionary tales against technology


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In “Reason,” the philosophy is applied and makes Cutie seem as a spiritual machine, because of his continuous questioning about it’s own existence. By showing the comparisons of Cutie’s existential journey to the concept that is credited to Descartes, this scenario demonstrates that such a form of synthetic life may be able to rationalise its own existence and create its own religion. By mimicking this aspect of the “human condition,” Cutie shows that such a robot could blur the line between what we consider synthetic and what we consider human.


End: (Slide 12)

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What i have said can be used to answer exam questions that involve language conventions. Have a god at this question using the information I have presented. 

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