Second Cultural Lecture, Part 2

During the second part of the lecture we analyzed some examples from warning labels. The first one was:

Warning: Keep this and all medication out of the reach of children. As with any drug, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a health professional before using this product. In the case of accidental overdosage, contact a physician or poison control center immediately.

From this excerpt we analyzed the words “drug,” “health professional,” “physician,” and “overdosage.”

First, we discussed the possible meanings of the word “drug,” including a narcotic drug (medicine), prescription drugs, or illegal substances.

Second, the different words for doctor were addressed in regard to Russian. For example, Russian only has one word for doctor (врач). So the difference betwen a “health professional” and a “physician” may not be immediately apparent.

Last, we looked at the word “overdosage” as compared to simply “overdose.” We concluded that “overdose” would frighten people because it is often associated with overdoses with illegal substances or overdosing on purpose.

Other warning/instruction labels we examined were:
*Chainsaw: Do not attempt to stop chain with hand.
*Nuts on an airplane: Open packet. Eat nuts.
*Clothing iron: Not to iron on body

Then it was on to metaphors which stated that “a person’s conceptual system is metaphorical in nature. Metaphors show how language communities deal with the world.” Example: In Britain an argument is “war”, people “win or lose arguments,” “attack opponents,” and “attack and defend arguments.”

Overall the lecture was very interesting and we met a lot of people who were fascinated by us and came up to us afterward to ask us some questions. It was great to be among people who were all interested in the same topic and could share so many insights and different points of view.


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