Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Michael R. Schliessmann


Many books and articles have been written about general semantics and specific phrases included in general semantics study. The books generally have a theme of the meaning of words. Very few books or articles, however, have stressed the importance of J. Samuel Bois' danger indicators as part of the meaning of words. "Ego statements" 11 and "either or" 12 indicators have been touched upon in books and articles, but no one has dedicated significant study to the specific danger indicators as presented by Bois. It is this writer's belief that the danger indicators of general semantics should be studied more thoroughly and analyzed in more applications. The danger indicators include aspects of discourse which many find as negative factors in the message. When the danger indicators are removed, the message may again have the positive effect that was originally anticipated. Bois, in Explorations in Awareness, gave a brief explanation of danger indicators, but focused his attention mainly on the six indicators dealing with oral discourse-the "visible" indicators. Bois states, "If we learn to pay attention to them [indicators] we shall: (1) stop wearing ourselves out or destroying ourselves by excessive bursts of energy; (2) keep functioning within an optimum range of efficiency; (3 ) adapt ourselves to shifting objectives and changing conditions. Bois also gave reasons why these indicators should be studied. First, he said, "They reveal how things are 14 going on inside of you." He continues the "inside" theory with the second reason, that these factors or indicators are "laws from inside." When we ignore the laws from inside ourselves, danger indicators occur. Bois did not go into detail explaining the verbal danger indicators, nor did he provide an application of such indicators. This study applies the danger indicators to discourses of S. I. Hayakawa and explains why the indicators demonstrate danger in discourse. Organization of the Study This study provides a biography of S. I. Hayakawa and his work in the area of general semantics. It explains the writer's interpretation of the danger indicators, and application of them to the discourse of Hayakawa. The discourse was then analyzed and a conclusion given as to the use of danger indicators.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hayakawa, S. I. (Samuel Ichiyé), 1906-1992 -- Criticism and interpretation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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