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Warming Up… More about sensors and perception. 05:47. Focus Questions. What is the relationship between language and thought? How do labels affect meaning? What are the implications of recognizing that language is a process? How do rules guide communication?

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focus questions
Focus Questions
  • What is the relationship between language and thought?
  • How do labels affect meaning?
  • What are the implications of recognizing that language is a process?
  • How do rules guide communication?
  • How does punctuation influence the meaning of communication?

Verbal Communication

language and meaning
Language and Meaning
  • Language (words) in the human world
    • “The limits of my language are the limits of my world” by Ludwig Wittgenstein 維根斯坦
  • Language creates reality (or vice versa)
    • 愛斯基摩人有30多種稱呼”雪”的命名
    • P.98 F.Y.I
      • Domestic partners; Birth mother; Date rape; Blended family
    • 用英文點咖啡; 酒、茶、海鮮…
    • 中英文裡親屬、親戚的稱謂:
      • 姑媽、姨婆、堂哥、表弟…
    • 動畫:歐洲人 vs. 義大利人 (義大利人 算不算歐洲人?)

Verbal Communication

features of language symbols
Features of Language (Symbols)
  • Arbitrary 任意性
    • Not intrinsically connected to what is represented; no natural relationship
    • Commonly shared & used in a society; meaning changes over time
  • Ambiguous 模糊性
    • No precise, clear-cut meanings; within a range of meaning but with degrees of uncertainty
    • Specific to contexts, individual experience; relationships
  • Abstract 抽象性
    • Not concrete or tangible
    • Various abstractness (degrees away from external, objective phenomenon) e.g, “reading matter” 讀物

Verbal Communication




morning call的成績出來了,爐主、顧爐、扛爐的還是那幾個宮本美代子的同學,要是我考這種成






Verbal Communication

symbols and meaning
Symbols and Meaning
  • Ladder of Abstraction (Korzybski & Hayakawa)
    • Steps away from observed phenomenon
    • See Figure 4.1 (page 103) (also next slide)
  • Overgeneralization
    • General language to describe groups of people
    • Perceptions (recall) consistent with labels used
    • Labels predispose selective perception (刻板印象)
  • 外延意義Denotationvs. 內涵意義Connotation
    • Denotation: direct, specific, explicit meaning
    • Connotation: implied, suggested, apart from explicit meaning

Verbal Communication




Wealth: characteristics of

“Bessie” are left out.


Asset: all valuable things


Farm assets: in common with other

salable items on the farm


Livestock: referring to characteristics

in common with chicken, goats..


Cow: common characteristics;

not peculiar to specific ones


“Bessie”: the name we give to the object (cow)


Cow: not the word, but the object experience


Cow: consists of atoms, electronics…etc;

scientific reference

Verbal Communication

denotation vs connotation
Denotationvs. Connotation

“紅豆”生南國…..此物最相思 (王維)

“紅豆”、大紅豆、芋頭… (阿雅)


“紅豆”女之戀 (韓劇)

“紅豆” (王菲)

“紅豆”冰 (蚊蟲/皮膚炎)

  • 一顆『紅蛋』 (江蕙)
  • 後山不可再變『深山』 (柯賜海)

Verbal Communication

principles of communication
Principles of Communication
  • Interpretation creates meaning
    • Active, creative process of making sense
    • Process of constructing meaning
    • Brute facts vs. Institutional facts
      • Brute fact: objective, concrete phenomena (e.g., huddling in football)
      • Institutional fact: interpreted meaning of brute fact (players planning the next step)
  • Communication is guided by rules (p. 106: task-to-do)
    • Rule learning through socialization
    • Regulative rules: specify when, how, where, with whom… (e.g., interruption, showing affection,..)
    • Constitutive rules: define meaning (e.g., 加油!)

Verbal Communication

principles of communication continued
Principles of Communication (continued)
  • Punctuation affects meaning
    • Marks a flow of activity into meaning units
    • Punctuation is our perception of when interaction begins and ends.
    • Determines initiation, interaction, invitation, participation…
    • In personal relationships: demand-withdraw pattern (Figure 4.2, p. 108)-----no agreement on ending communication

Verbal Communication

six symbolic abilities
Six Symbolic Abilities
  • Language defines phenomena
    • Labeling (e.g., travel fund, emergency fund)
    • Totalizing: (e.g.,巴黎浪漫之都; 海軍陸戰隊員)
      • One label represents a person totally; ignoring other aspects
      • Spotlighting an aspect; stereotyping: describing with group characteristics
  • Language evaluates phenomena (not neutral)
    • Symbols are loaded with ‘value’
    • Loaded language (長者-老頭子)
  • Language organizes experiences
    • Categories that we place people (資深-受尊重?或快被資遣了?)

Verbal Communication

symbolic abilities 2
Symbolic Abilities (2)
  • Language allows hypothetical thinking
    • Visions of the future (我的志願…)
  • Language allows self-reflection
    • Mead (1934)
      • I : spontaneous, creative self
      • Me: socially conscious self
    • 佛洛依德︰
      • id 本我 – unconscious & instinctive
      • ego 自我 – between id and superego
      • superego 超我 – of moral and social rules; ideal; perfection

Verbal Communication

symbolic abilities 3
Symbolic Abilities (3)
  • Language defines relationships & interaction (職業尊稱、輩份、階級)
    • Three dimensions of relationship-level meaning
      • Responsiveness: question & statements (responses, feedback)
      • Liking: When we say “I care about you.”
      • Power: Establishing control

Verbal Communication

guidelines for verbal comm
Guidelines for Verbal Comm.
  • Engage in person-centered communication
  • Be conscious of levels of abstraction
  • Qualify language
    • Avoid overgeneralization
    • Avoid static evaluation: She ‘is’ selfish
    • Indexing technique: evaluation only applies to specific times, circumstances
  • Own your feelings and thoughts: Claim feelings but not blame others for that
    • You vs. I language (p. 120) (Note: Chinese cultural & syntax differences)

Verbal Communication