In the Online Handbook of Northern Illi’s page, listed as the Sourcebook on the Lesson exchange page, go to “Paraphrasing & Quoting” and look at “Playing with Connotations.” I really like that as a fun exercise to recognize PC language, if nothing else.
Here it is:
OBJECTIVE: To alert students to how paraphrasing can change meaning.
Playing With Connotations: Politically Correct Language
That deaf, dumb, and, blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!
The Who, “Pinball Wizard”
That acoustically challenged, non-verbal speaking, visually disadvantaged, young person, engages in a positive pinball experience.
Keith and Jason
This is an exercise designed demonstrate the various ways that paraphrase can be used. As the example above demonstrates it can be used to do more than simply restate information. Rewriting “Pinball Wizard” using ridiculously P.C. (Politically Correct) language demonstrates the writers attitude for that language without ever explicitly stating it.
Your job is to take the following speech from Shakespeare’s play As You Like It and paraphrase it in the same manner, using P.C. language. Copy the following text to your disk, saving it as Shakel and then change the existing lines on the screen.
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mulling and puking in the nurse’s arms. And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel, And the shining morning face, creeping like a snail, Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a willful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lin’d, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last seen of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Now, save your paraphrase …. paraphrase the speech again, only this time try to retain as much of Shakespeare’s original intention as possible. …make printouts of all three versions for your journal. Your homework assignment for tonight is to compare the three versions and write a short essay explaining how the P.C. language distorts Shakespeare’s original intention and what those implications indicate to you.
I can’t use this for this semester, but it might be a good thing to do for next semester in Freshman Comp II.
You know, this class I am taking really gives a lot of good help for English teachers. I wonder if the others are finding it as useful.