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Consolidation

A Study the expanded definition of 'civilization' below. Then write your own expanded definition of one of the following: literacy science mechanics

economics medical ethics agriculture

Civilization has received many definitions, but is often associated with cities. The words civic, civil, and civilized come from the Latin civis (citizen) and relate to obligations of people in a civitas (city-state). Civilization implies complex government. Usually a civilization also uses metals. Finally, a civilization develops arts of some matur­ity and creates some form of writing.

B Define, in at least three sentences, an abstract concept (e.g. 'beauty', 'honour', etc.) that has some influence on the way you live. Show your work to a partner and work together to judge how far your ideas have been communicated successfully. Make any changes necessary to enable your partner to fully understand your text.

C Quoted below you will find a passage from a well-known British novel, Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in which Humpty Dumpty gives his opinions on defining words.

1. Discuss Humpty Dumpty's ideas in groups of three or four. For example, can you use words in any way you want? Are there some words which can be used in different ways? Do some groups of people define particular words or groups of words in their own ways? If so, which words and in what ways?

". . . that shows that there are three hundred and sixty'four days when you might get un-birthday presents."

''Certainly/' said Alice.

"And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!"

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory'," Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argu­ment'," Alice objected.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

2. Write a text giving your own views on how words and their meaning(s) might be defined and organized. What is meaning, anyway?

Looking back

Now that you have finished this unit you should understand how we use definitions in English, and should be able to recognize and produce them in sentences. You should also be familiar with ways of defining in texts.

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