The Specifics About Specific Language

Specific language covers three ranges of styles known as concrete words, abstract words, and general language. Specific language refers to objects or conditions that can be perceived or imagined. Concrete words describe qualities of immediate perception and abstract words refer to broader less palpable qualities (diction refers to qualities that are rarefied and theoretical). General language signifies a broad classes of persons, objects and phenomena. In practice, poems that use specific and concrete words tend to be visually familiar, and compelling. “But by contrast, poems using general and abstract words tend to be detached and sharp, regularly dealing with universal questions or emotions”. (Polking, Writing A to Z, pg. 124). All writing of any sort has to be done in one of these 3 types of language; concrete, abstract or general, and so they are very important to fictional writing. Concrete nouns name things that we can perceive throughout our senses, for example: your friend, Canada, the brain. If you say “Ice cream is cold”, the word cold is concrete because it describes a condition that you can feel, just as you can taste ice cream’s sweetness and feel its creamy texture in your mouth. “The time it takes to understand a sentence is generally shorter when the sentence is concrete rather than abstract.” (Klee & Eysenck, 1973). “People respond faster to concrete than to abstract sentences in meaning of classification tasks, in which meaningful and abnormal sentences must be refined, which requires a judgment of the truth value of a sentence.” (Holmes & Langford, 1976). It has also generally been found that subjects both encode and retrieve concrete words and sentences faster and more completely than abstract words and sentences. Abstract nouns name qualities (friendship, heroism) or concepts (the province, management). If we describe ice cream as good, we are abstract, because …

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