Conative is one of three parts of the mind, along with the affective and cognitive. In short, the
cognitive part of the brain measures intelligence, the affective deals with emotions and the conative
drives how one acts on those thoughts and feelings.
Is there ever only one meaning?
Is there ever only one form?
How do we read the bible? Or for that matter, any piece of writing. Too much of the bible is
wrongly classified as historically accurate. Actually the bible has elements of literature, poetry,
history, theological history, narrative, myth, saga, folktales, parables and even humor and satire.
Here is a diagram of the functions of human communication.
Emotive —————————————————————————————Conative
Emotive: stresses the speaker, revealing something about the speaker. (I)
Conative: focuses on the person spoken to, (you) persuasive speech tried to affect the person
spoken to. “Listen to me”
Referential: talks about things, textbooks, manuals, etc.
Poetry: calls attention to the sound and flavor of the words by poetic devices; alliteration,
rhyme, meter, simile.
Questions for you to consider and answer about how we ‘figure out’
what we are seeing or what we are reading.
1. What kind of clues helps the reader to figure out the personality, temperament or ‘intent’ of a
literary character?
2. Imagine you are a movie director and are filming a meeting of a man and a woman on the
street. What devices could a film director use that would convey a particular meaning to the
scene? Describe five different ways by which this meeting could convey different meanings or
The type of communication we use is often related to our social circumstances.
Content and verbal form is closely linked.
3. This is a two part exercise:
a) Write a brief description of your home as you would in a real estate advertisement.
b) Describe your home as you would in a letter to a close friend whom you haven’t seen in years.
4. Let’s see how well you can work backwards. Below in the left column are short phrases that
illustrate familiar types/forms. In the columns to the right, describe what specifically is being
talked about (content) and the exact social circumstances in which that type of writing would be
used (context).
Dear Ms. Peterson:
and they lived happily ever after
4 out of 5 doctors recommend
I will do my best to cut taxes if
He is survived by his wife Emma
and his three sons…..
What has three heads, two eyes
and is green?
Take part B and insert it into part
A of the trolley section of the
Her dress was trimmed with
French lace and she carried a
spray of yellow roses
“I made love to a space alien,
and will carry his intergalactic
love child.”
The party of the first part…
Complete the first three sections
before completing the essay.
5. Use the word ‘course’ (or alternately spelled ‘coarse’) in five different sentences that convey five
dissimilar meanings. While you are working on this assignment imagine the difficulties faced by
someone ‘translating’ a troublesome passage from a fragment of an ancient document.

Conative, along with affective and cognitive, is one of the three elements of the mind. In brief, the cognitive half of the brain assesses intelligence, the affective component deals with emotions, and the conative part deals with reasoning.

determines how one behaves on one’s emotions and feelings

Is it ever possible to have only one meaning?

Is it ever possible to have only one form?

What is the best way to read the Bible? Or any piece of writing for that matter. The bible contains far too much information.

incorrectly labeled as historically accurate In fact, the bible has aspects of literature, poetry, and mythology.

History, theological history, narrative, myth, saga, folktales, parables, and even humor and satire are all forms of storytelling.

The roles of human communication are depicted in the diagram below.


Emotive ———————————————————————————————————————————- Conative


Emotional: emphasizes the speaker, showing something about the speaker. (I)


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