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Parisology

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Parisology

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Parisology is the use of equivocal or ambiguous language.

Example

Happy men and women walked in the park (are the women happy?)

The results of the experiment have value, I think. (What value? How much value? To who?)

It can be done. (What? By who?)

Discussion

Ambiguity is often caused by incomplete language. It would be hard work to explain in detail everything we mean, and so our speech gets severely attenuated. We assume others will 'get what we mean', although this is often far from true.

As we face ambiguity all the time and seek certainty, we tend to make assumptions to 'fill in the gaps'. Vagueness may be used in a persuasive context where resolution of uncertainty by the subject is predictable and their assumptions desirable.

Parisology also allows you to imply and insinuate things without getting into trouble, as you can always deny your intent and possibly accuse the other person of unfair attack.

Parisology comes from the Greek 'parisos' meaning 'almost equal' or 'balanced', and 'logos', meaning 'word'.

Classification: Omission, Distortion

See also

Vagueness, Unclear language

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