Thursday, September 20, 2007

Connotation or Denotation?

At some early age, the words connotation and denotation were defined for me (by a teacher) in the following manner:
Denotation is the definition of the word according to the dictionary. D for dictionary. Connotation is the definition of the word according to common experience or understanding, how it is used, what is implied, etc.

So, I wonder if Ralph's supermarkets chose to rely on the connotation or the denotation of the word local when they decided to advertise their locally grown produce. A few days ago, I received a voicemail message from the new store manager of my neighborhood Ralph's. He politely told me that Ralph's considers anything within a 700 mile radius local. Huh. What does that include, I wonder? It includes Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, perhaps Colorado, Nevada, all of California, almost Oregon, and most importantly....Mexico. Yup. All those Mexican grown garlic cloves, apples, and other delicious items are considered local by Ralph's supermarkets.

So, I guess Ralph's used the denotation of the word local, which according to Merriam Webster is "of, relating to, or characteristic of a particular place." Hmm. Yes, Mexico and Utah are places. So is Nevada. I guess their produce (does Nevada have any, I wonder?) must be local then.

Maybe I need to write to Merriam Webster....

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