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Language. The World of Words. The Nature of Language. Language is Symbolic. Symbols are Arbitrary Symbols are Ambiguous Symbols are Abstract. Language is Rule-Guided. Phonological Rules – how language sounds Syntactic Rules – how symbols are arranged

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Language

Language

The World of Words



Language is symbolic
Language is Symbolic

  • Symbols are Arbitrary

  • Symbols are Ambiguous

  • Symbols are Abstract


Language is rule guided
Language is Rule-Guided

  • Phonological Rules – how language sounds

  • Syntactic Rules – how symbols are arranged

  • Semantic Rules – meanings attributed to symbols

  • Pragmatic Rules – inform about appropriate interpretations of symbols

    • Regulative rules

    • Constitutive rules


Language is subjective
Language is Subjective

  • We each ascribe different meanings to the same words/language.

  • “Meanings are in people, not in words”

  • Punctuation


Discuss your group’s quotation, and come up with a concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

Group 1: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Group 2: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just as I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

Group 3: “Learn a new language and get a new soul.”

Group 4: “What ’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”


The impact of language

The Impact of Language concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.


We can think about language as being… concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

or

Expressive

Oppressive


Naming and identity
Naming and Identity concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

CAT

  • Language shapes our identity

  • Language shapes our perceptions of others

  • Naming something makes it real to us

    • Naming the problem

    • Validation


Credibility and status
Credibility and Status concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

  • Your use of language influences how credible others perceive you to be, and how much status they afford you.

  • You make judgments about others’ credibility and status based on their language use.

  • so…

  • By monitoring how you use language, you can help

  • others see you as having more power and credibility.

  • But we also stereotype about others based on what we think is “proper” or “improper” language, and others stereotype us.


Affiliation attraction and interest
Affiliation, Attraction, and Interest concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

The language we use helps us to fit in with others, or to differentiate ourselves from others.

Convergence

Divergence


Power

Powerful (?) speech mannerisms concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

Directness

Conversational control

Less responsive

Less powerful (?) speech mannerisms

Hedges

Hesitations

Intensifiers

Polite forms

Tag questions

Disclaimers

Power

Gender and Culture Variations


Racism and sexism
Racism and Sexism concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

  • Language defines race and gender

    • Can be inclusive or exclusive (e.g., firemen vs. firefighters; he vs. he or she)

    • Definitions based on different criteria (e.g., Smith wins election! Vs. Black leader wins election! Vs. Smith becomes first lady governor!)

    • Language names what exists (e.g., discrimination)

  • Language organizes perceptions of race and gender

    • (e.g., girl, chick, lady, bitch, woman)

    • (e.g., Negro, Black, African-American, person of color)

  • Language evaluates race and gender

    • Language is frequently demeaning to women and people of color

  • Language allows self-reflection

    • Language allows us to think about ourselves and how we want to define ourselves and others

  • Language is a process

    • Language can change to be more inclusive and less oppressive (e.g., Ms., harassment, racial profiling)


Communication cultures

Communication Cultures concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.


Communication cultures1
Communication Cultures… concrete example of the point being made in the quotation.

  • “Exist when people share norms about how to use talk and what purpose it serves.”

  • Are defined by shared understandings of how to communicate

  • Have distinct “rules”

  • Can be based on:

    • Ethnicity

    • Gender

    • SES

    • Less formal characteristics (age, occupation, etc.)



Communicating precisely or vaguely
Communicating Precisely or Vaguely Improving Verbal Communication

  • Equivocal Language

    • Words/Phrases with multiple meanings

    • Listeners questions and feedback are important

  • Abstractions

    • Can lead to stereotyping, confusion, relationship miscommunications

    • Using behavioral descriptions can be helpful

  • Euphemisms

  • Relative Language (e.g., fast, slow, easy, hard)

    • Try giving specifics, or scaling

  • Static Evaluations

    • Stable characteristic vs. behavior


Conveying responsibility
Conveying Responsibility Improving Verbal Communication

  • “It” Language

  • “You” Language

  • “I” Language

    • “I” Statement

      • The other person’s behavior

      • Your feelings

      • The consequences the other person’s behavior has on you

  • “We” Language

  • “But” Statements


A few common errors
A Few Common Errors Improving Verbal Communication

  • Fact-Opinion Confusion

    • Can clarify when a statement is an opinion

  • Fact-Inference Confusion

    • Identify the facts that have led to your interpretation, and ask for feedback (Perception-Checking)

  • Emotive Language

    • May be helpful to use more neutral language


Some suggestions
Some Suggestions… Improving Verbal Communication

  • Strive for Accuracy and Clarity

    (especially when you don’t have much shared understanding &/or when conflict is present)

  • Own Your Own Thoughts and Feelings

  • Engage in Dual Perspective (Empathy)

  • Respect What Others Say About Their Feelings and Ideas


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