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Language: Barrier or Bridge. Chapter Summary. Language is Symbolic Understanding and Misunderstanding The Impact of Language Gender and Language Culture and Language. Language is Symbolic. Signs. Signs have a direct connection with communication Language is symbolic

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language barrier or bridge

Language: Barrier or Bridge

  • Chapter Summary
  • Language is Symbolic
  • Understanding and Misunderstanding
  • The Impact of Language
  • Gender and Language
  • Culture and Language

1

language is symbolic

Language is Symbolic

  • Signs
  • Signs have a direct connection with communication
  • Language is symbolic
  • Symbols enable more effective communication
    • Not all languages use the same symbols
  • Messages mean different things to different people
    • “Take a little of the top,” means one thing to you and another to the barber

2

understanding and misunderstanding

Understanding and Misunderstanding

  • Understanding Words
  • Semantic Rules
    • The way users of language assign meaning to a word
      • Bikes are for riding and books are for reading
  • Equivocation
    • Statements that have more than one associated meaning
    • Some amusing newspaper headlines
      • “Family Catches Fire Just in Time, “Trees Can Break Wind,” and “Man Stuck on Toilet; Stool Suspected”

3

understanding and misunderstanding1

Understanding and Misunderstanding

  • Understanding Words
  • Relative Language
    • Words that gain meaning by comparison
      • “Fast and Slow,” “Smart and Stupid,” “Short and Long.”
      • Relative language is not always clear
      • How cheap is cheap?
  • Static Evaluation
    • Statements that contain or imply the word is
    • Subscripting is a devise that reduces static evaluation

4

understanding and misunderstanding2

FIGURE 5.1

Page 161

Understanding and Misunderstanding

  • Understanding Words
  • Abstraction
    • Abstract vs. Behavior Language
      • Specific things people do or say
    • Overly abstract language can lead to serious problems
    • Specific language can be undesirable and even seen as rude

5

understanding and misunderstanding3

Understanding and Misunderstanding

  • Understanding Structure
  • Syntactic Rules
    • Govern the grammar of language
    • We tend to notice when they’re violated
    • African-American English (AAE)
    • It is important to look past syntax in order to avoid miscommunication
      • “I be angry,” vs. “I am angry.”

6

understanding and misunderstanding4

Understanding and Misunderstanding

  • Understanding Context
  • Pragmatic Rules
    • Pragmatic rules govern the way speech works in everyday interaction
    • Pragmatic rules govern common saying such as:
      • “How’s it going,” and “What’s up.”
      • If someone were to answer these questions literally we’d be confused
    • Even e-mail has PRAGMATIC RULES (stop yelling)

7

the impact of language

The Impact of Language

  • Naming and Identity
  • Research suggests that names are more than just means of identification
  • Names can shape and reinforce a child's identity
    • Naming a child after a family member can create a bond
  • Names also play a role in the identity of groups
    • Labeling of ethnic groups have changed as our culture has developed different sensitivities

8

the impact of language1

The Impact of Language

  • Affiliation
  • Communicators are attracted to those with similar speaking styles
    • Communicators who wish to show group affiliation will adapt
    • This process is called convergence
  • Converges can also take place in the virtual world
    • E-mail and IM users have commonly recognized acronyms
      • “LOL,” “ROTFL,” “JK,” and “BRB.”
      • Can you think of any others?

9

the impact of language2

The Impact of Language

  • ABC News Video

Click on box to play video

10

the impact of language3

The Impact of Language

  • Power
  • Notice the difference between the two statements

“Excuse me, sir. I hate to say this, but I . . . uh . . . I guess I won’t be able to turn in the assignment on time. I had a personal emergency, and . . . well . . .it was just impossible to finish it by today. I’ll have it on your desk on Monday, OK?”

or

“I won’t be able to turn in the assignment on time. I had a personal emergency, and it was impossible to finish it by today. I’ll have it on your desk Monday.”

11

the impact of language4

The Impact of Language

  • Disruptive Language
  • Opinion Statements
    • Opinion statements can never be proved or disproved
    • Consider these examples from page 173

Fact Opinion

You forgot my birthday. You don’t care about me.

You keep interrupting me. You’re a control freak.

You tell a lot of ethnic jokes. You’re a bigot.

12

the impact of language5

The Impact of Language

  • Disruptive Language
  • Fact-Interference Confusion
    • Conclusions arrived at from an interpretation of evidence
    • Instead of trying to guess the other person’s emotion use the skill of perception checking we learned in Chapter 3
  • Emotive Language
    • Seems to describe but actually announces the speakers attitude toward it

13

the impact of language6

The Impact of Language

  • Disruptive Language
  • Remember to take responsibility for your emotions
  • Nonemotive statements are more accurate and have a better chance of being received accurately by others

14

the impact of language7

The Impact of Language

  • The Language of Responsibility
  • “It”
    • These statements replace the personal pronoun “I” with it
    • “I” language clearly Identifies the speaker
  • “But”
    • The word “but” cancels the thought before it
      • “You’re a really great person, but I think we should see other people”
      • “You’ve done great work for us, but we’re going to have to let you go”

15

the impact of language8

The Impact of Language

  • The Language of Responsibility
  • “I” and “You” Language
    • “I” language accepts responsibility
    • “You” expresses judgment
      • “You left this place a mess!”
      • “You didn’t keep your promise!”
    • “You” language doesn’t have to contain the word “you”
      • That was a stupid joke, translates to your jokes are stupid.
      • Mind your own business translates to you’re too nosey

16

the impact of language9

The Impact of Language

  • The Language of Responsibility
  • A complete “I” statement has four elements. It describes
    • the other person’s behavior
    • your interpretation
    • your feelings
    • consequence that the other person’s behavior has for you

17

the impact of language10

The Impact of Language

  • The Language of Responsibility
  • “We” Language
    • Implies the issue is the concern of both parties
      • “We need to figure out a budget that doesn’t bankrupt us.”
      • “We aren’t doing a very good job of keeping this place clean.”
    • “We” language suggests that “we’re” in this together
    • “We” statements are not always appropriate

18

gender and language

Gender and Language

  • Content
  • Conversation Traits
  • Male
  • Music
  • Current events
  • Sports
  • Business
  • Other men
  • Female
  • Personal and domestic subjects
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Health
  • Reproductive matters

19

gender and language1

Gender and Language

  • Reasons for Communicating
  • The goals of almost all ordinary conversations contain
    • Being friendly
    • Showing interest
    • Talking about topics that interest the other person
  • If these rules are ignored the conversation can become unpleasant for all who are involved

20

gender and language2

Gender and Language

  • Conversational Style
  • Women ask more questions in mixed-sex conversations
  • Men tend to interrupt more in mixed-sex conversations
  • Women use conversation to pursue social needs
    • Statements of emotion are much more common
      • “I’ve felt the same way myself.”
      • “How did you feel about that?”

21

gender and language3

Gender and Language

  • Nongender Variables
  • The link between gender and language is not clear cut
    • The language between the sexes is more similar than different
  • Woman use less powerful language
    • Historical role in society at large
    • Powerless speech can help build rapport
  • Men and women speak within their gender roles

22

culture and language

Culture and Language

  • Verbal Communication Styles
  • Each language has its own unique style
  • Verbal styles vary in their directness
    • High-context culture
      • Value language to maintain social harmony
    • Low-context culture
      • Value language to express thoughts and feelings
  • Is the language Elaborate or Succinct

23

culture and language1

Culture and Language

  • Language and Worldview
  • Linguistic Relativism
    • The worldview of a culture is shaped and reflected by the language its members speak

24

language barrier or bridge1

Language: Barrier or Bridge

  • Chapter Summary
  • Language is Symbolic
  • Understanding and Misunderstanding
  • The Impact of Language
  • Gender and Language
  • Culture and Language

25