Irving J. Lee, Lecture Excerpts

Lee's Stories and Anecdotes

Professor Irving J. Lee (1909-1955) taught speech and general semantics at Northwestern University. In 1952, he presented six 30-minute televised presentations in Chicago that were later distributed as "Talking Sense." Professor Lee was a master teacher and lecturer. These six clips were selected as examples of his lecturing that also pertain to understanding the ThisIsNotThat point of view which this website attempts to convey.

Watch clips of Professor Lee's stories and anecdotes. Excerpts from Lee's "Talking Sense" series also appear on these pages of Fundamental Aspects:

A View About the World (2)

A View About Language (1)

A View About Language (2)

A View About Behavioral Consequences (1)

A View About Behavioral Consequences (2)

A View About Learning and Doing What You Know

The 3-hour, six-part "Talking Sense" video recordings by Irving J. Lee are available for purchase from the Institute of General Semantics.

Here's Something About GS cover

Here's Something About General Semantics:
A Primer for Making Sense of Your World

ISBN 978-0-9824645-0-2; 290 pages. FREE!
Available in eBook format (PDF) for immediate purchase and download.

Hereís Something About GS provides a thorough yet accessible overview of this misunderstood and under-appreciated discipline, reflecting work Iíve done in learning, teaching, and writing about general semantics for more than 13 years. It explains and demonstrates principles that promote an ongoing awareness of differences that make a difference. Learn how language and other symbols influence how you perceive your world, how you respond to your perceptions, and how you think-and-talk about your responses.

As a former student wrote: "This class was so much different from any class I've taken in college thus far. In my opinion, it was a class teaching us how to think, rather than what to think."

For example, some of the topics commented on include:

  • A fence sieve language
  • Eating menus
  • Definitions vs. meanings
  • Tips for playing roulette
  • Defending the swastika (ooh, controversy!)
  • Making a federal case out of bad words (ooh, more blanking controversy!)
  • Word magic
  • Calling out the symbol rulers
  • Lay off of my persuade shoes
  • Symptoms of language misbehaviors
  • Semantic pollution
  • The bridge at Neverwas

The book is filled with examples, quotes, and has over 50 illustrations. It includes 13 pages of Notes and Sources and an Index of Names with over 250 entries. It has links to additional online material to augment the content, including links to more than 150 video clips. Itís written for a general audience, but could be especially useful for teachers who want to introduce GS principles to supplement a secondary school curriculum, or even as a module in a college-level humanities or social sciences course. Iíve included some introductory materials for those who know nothing about GS; some more in-depth explanations and descriptions including published articles, newspaper columns, and presentations I've made; and some history about the people and organizations that have been involved with GS over the years. Click here to read an excerpt, review the Contents, order, and download now!

Interested in an excerpted video? Check out the Bib-Vid-liography listings here.


We discriminate against people to the degree we fail to distinguish between them.—Irving J. Lee
We think that is which appears to be.—Henry David Thoreau
To a mouse, cheese is cheese. That is why mouse traps are effective.—Wendell Johnson

More Quotes to Consider

Learn About ThisIsNotThat

Fundamental Aspects

By, About Steve Stockdale