Nonverbal Communication GAO Yongchen Suzhou University
Warm-up Questions • Why may you be communicating even if you don’t speak? • How many modes of communication do you know? • What is verbal communication and what is nonverbal communication? Amd how much do you know about them?
Definition of Nonverbal Communication • Nonverbal communication is communication without speech. --- The most general definition accepted so far • Nonverbal communication is a process in which communicators transmit various information and express specific meanings to others by means of their own bodies’ natural qualities and instincts. --- Yang Ping
Nonverbal communication is an operational process of nonverbal cues which are sent by an individual and would probably produce meaning to others. --- Malandro & Barker • Nonverbal communication involves all those nonverbal stimuli in a communication setting that are generated by both the source and his or her use of the environment and that have potential message value for the source or receiver. Nonverbal messages may be both intentional and unintentional --- Samovar & Porter
Nonverbal communication has been referred to as: metacommunication, paralinguistic, second-order messages, the silent language, and the hidden dimension.
Classifications of Nonverbal Communication Most relevant to speech communication: • Kinesics • Paralanguage • Object language • Proxemics • Chronemics
Kinesics • Kinesics (body language) The study of how movement communicates is called kinesics, including posture (the way one walks, sits, stands), gesture, facial expression, eye contact, body touch, etc.
Cultural Differences in Kinesics • The same nonverbal cue has very different meanings in different cultures (e.g. the “O” cue). • Different nonverbal cues carry the same meaning in different cultures (e.g. The same message: “I’m very full” (after a meal) can be sent by different nonverbal cues in various cultures). • There exist nonverbal cues and meanings in one culture, with no equivalent in another (e.g. The gesture of touching one’s own nose with raised forefinger means “It’s me” only in China).
Matching Task • Think over the following and make a proper match between cultures and gestures or the meanings they convey. 1. How to beckon somebody to cover over 1) in America a) waving the hand with the palm down 2) in the Middle East b) just waving the index finger 3) in Portugal c) downward waving of the arm 4) in Tonga d) waving the hand with the palm up
2. How to point something or somebody out 1) in America a) pointing with the lips 2) in Mongolia b) pointing with the tongue 3) in India c) extending the index finger 4) in Guinea-Bissau d) pointing with the chins
3. How to show approval 1) in France a) raising one’s eyebrows 2) in Greece b) having two thumbs up 3) in Tonga c) having one thumb up 4) in Kenya d) tilting one’s head
4. What the folded arms may suggest 1) in America a) no special meaning 2) in Russia b) impatience 3) in Finland c) being rude 4) in Wales d) arrogance
Paralanguage • Paralanguage (voice and articulation) It is also called “Voice modulation” (the way voice is modulated), including speed, pitch, volume, pause, etc. In other words, it involves the linguistic elements of speech, that is, how something is said and not the actual meaning of the spoken words.
Three Kinds of Vocalizations in Paralanguage • Vocal characterizers (laughing, crying, yelling, moaning, whining, belching, yawning) • Vocal qualifiers (volume, pitch, rhythm, tempo, resonance, tone) • Vocal segregates (“un-huh,” “shh,” “uh,” “oooh,” “mmmh,” “humm”)
Object Language • Object language (clothes and things) It includes clothes and such things as cosmetics, hair style, smell, etc. Usually, from what people wear (the kind of tie, glasses, shoes, watch) to what they have (the kind of bag, car, furniture), we can almost guess who they are, though we have a kind of warning “never trust appearance”.
The “TOP” Principle • It refers to “time”, “occasion” and “place”. In deciding what to wear, consider this principle. In a western society, jeans and bare feet indicate a relaxed way of life. The suit and the briefcase indicate professionalism. In New Zealand, a student who is being interviewed for a job and does not own a suit may borrow a friend’s formal clothes. Anyway, “clothes make the man”.
Proxemics • Proxemics (space and distance) The term is coined by Hall and also called “space language”, including body touch and distance.
Four Basic spatial Zones • Intimate distance: for loving, comforting, protecting or fighting • Personal distance: for conversations with intimates, friends and acquaintances • Social distance: for impersonal business and social gatherings • Public distance: for one-way communication from speaker to audience such as lectures, concerts, plays, speeches, ceremonies
Space Speaks • It is hard to decide how much distance between individuals and those with whom they interact, for different cultures have different space or distance systems. • What is personal distance in one culture may seem to be intimate in another.
A Case Study • Under which basic spatial zone does the following notice fall? One day, a Chinese teacher went to a post office in Cambridge to pay her rent. There she saw a noticeboard put beside a white line on the floor and in front of the queue. It read, “Special Notice to All Our Customers: Please respect the privacy to the customer being served. Post Office” The distance between the white line and the counter was about 4 feet.
Chronemics • Chronemics (time) It is the study of our use of time, so also called “time language”, including punctuality, promptness, time orientation.
Time Talks • Time as a nonverbal form varies with cultures and situations. • In American culture, people pay much attention to promptness. They have such sayings as “Time is money” “Time is life” “Procrastination is the life of time”. Lateness means to show little respect for the situation or audience. • However, in England, it is impolite to come for a dinner party at one’s home on time.
A Case Study • Explain the following metaphor made by Chuang-tzu. Being restricted by living space, the frog living in a well cannot talk abouy the sea; being restricted by life-span, the worm living in the summer cannot talk about ice.
Time Orientations • Past-oriented cultures (Chinese, native Americans) More likely to respect and venerate the elderly than future-oriented cultures • Present-oriented cultures (Filipinos, Latin Americans) Emphasizing living in the moment and having little desire to talk about events out of their control • Future-oriented cultures (Americans) Planning for the future and welcoming innovation and change
M-time & P-time • Monochronic (M-time) cultures (Germen, Austrians, Swiss, Americans) Thinking time as lineal, segmented and manageble and regarding apointments and schedules as very important. • Polychronic (P-time) cultures (Arabians, Asians, Latin Americans) Dealing with time holistically and emphasizing people more than schedules.
Functions of Nonverbal Communication • Repearing • Substituting • Contradicting • Regulating • Complementing • Accenting
Summary • Nonverbal communication/behavior as Edward Sapir spoke of is “an elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all”. Of course, here “all” refers only to members of the given speech community of the same culture.
Class Activities • Watch an American film and look for examples of differences in kinesisc, body laguage, proxemics and chronemics. Compare these differences to our own culture. • Look at the following six pictures and explain how to get the most out of the party season by decoding the secret body signals people send out.