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Cuba is a democracy). An American would probably regard Cuba as undemocratic in that it only has one political party—the Communist Party—whereas the USA has two major parties. A Cuban might respond by pointing out that the Democrat and Republican parties in the USA are so similar that there is little choice between them. Obviously our hypothetical American and Cuban debaters have different definitions of democracy. Yet, if we asked them to spell out their definition, they might both respond by saying the same things: 'all people have the right to vote'; 'all people are equal'; and so on. The meaning of the word 'democracy' simply depends on more words, which themselves require definition. (What do we mean by 'all people', for example? In the USA, most poor African-American and Hispanic citizens do not vote because they believe it will not change the system that, by and large, has failed to benefit them. Do they fall within the definition 'all people'?)

Hence, writing well-formed claims will always require some consideration of both the surface and hidden meanings of the words from which these claims are constructed—meanings that are created differently in different contexts. Connotations can never be controlled completely. We could try to use 'definitions', but definitions themselves give rise to even more connotations (since they, too, are made up of words). One trick is to align your choice of words with the understanding of the intended audience so that you can be confident that what you mean will be reasonably similar to what your audience might think. And, to be even safer, you can actually discuss possible conflicts of connotations. Alternatively, you can establish (to a large extent) the interpretive context within which you want the meaning of your words to emerge. Either way, you need to consider the possible interpretive contexts that affect your choice of words.

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