The Oath | The Gift | Elaboration | weePORTs

What is a banana? Let’s elaborate it!

As mentioned in The Gift, you are now ready to learn how expand the definition of a thing by using any number of different elaboration strategies (or methods).

To do so, we will turn our attention back to the photo at right and ask ourselves, “What is a banana?”

Recall that Merriam-Webster told us that a banana is, “an elongated usually tapering tropical fruit with soft pulpy flesh enclosed in a soft usually yellow rind.”

Although some people might agree to begin and end their semiotic journey with Merriam-Webster’s definition, most serious scientists won’t stop there. Instead, scientists are often forced to elaborateor expand upon–already existing definitions. Some reasons for elaboration include, but are by no means limited to:

When speaking or writing, scientists worry that existing definitions…

  • contain words or phrases their intended audience will have difficulty comprehending and/or understanding.
  • fail to mention the similarity (or similarities) in which their intended audience is most interested.
  • fail to mention the difference (or differences) in which their intended audience is most interested.
  • fail to embody the most current understanding(s) of what it is they represent.

What is elaboration?

Although there may be other elaboration strategies out there, over the course of the year your teacher will make no less than four elaboration strategies available to you. They are…

  1. Translation
  2. Explication
  3. Classification
  4. Description

Still using the example of the banana, we will examine the four elaboration strategies together, each on their own dedicated webpage. The first elaboration strategy is the simplest and its’ called translation.


Last updated: September 2019