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Verbal Communication. CHAPTER TOPICS. Language is Symbolic Understandings and Misunderstandings The Impact of Language Gender and Language Culture and Language. Language is Symbolic. Cat. Symbol- word Referent- thing Reference- meaning. Understanding and Misunderstanding.

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Verbal communication

Verbal Communication


  • Language is Symbolic

  • Understandings and Misunderstandings

  • The Impact of Language

  • Gender and Language

  • Culture and Language

Language is symbolic
Language is Symbolic


Symbol- word

Referent- thing

Reference- meaning

Understanding and misunderstanding
Understanding and Misunderstanding

  • Semantic rules

    • “Bikes” are for riding and “books” are for reading

  • Equivocation

    • Statements that have more then one meaning

      • “Family catches fire just in time.”

  • Syntactic Rules

    • Govern the grammar of language

  • Relative Language

    • Words that gain their meaning by comparison

  • Static Evaluation

    • Statements that contain or imply the word is lead to mistaken assumptions about people

Understandings and misunderstandings
Understandings and Misunderstandings

  • Abstraction

    • Is vague in nature

  • Pragmatic Rules

    • Govern the way speech works in everyday interaction

    • Consider the difference between:

      • I love you

      • I love ya

      • I luv U

Figure 5.1 Page 165

The impact of language
The Impact of Language

  • Naming and Identity

    • They shape the way others think of us

    • They shape the way we view ourselves

    • 1900’s most popular names

      • Bertha, Mildred and Ethel

    • 2010’s most popular names

      • Sophia, Isabella and Olivia

The impact of language1
The Impact of Language

  • Affiliation

    • language can build and demonstrate solidarity with others

    • Convergence

      • The process of adapting one’s speech style to match others

    • Divergence

      • Speaking in a way that emphasizes one’s differences from others

The impact of language2
The Impact of Language

  • Power

    • Power difference between two statements:

      • “Excuse me, sir. I hate to say this, but I . . .I . . .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 Monday, OK?”

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

The impact of language3
The Impact of Language

  • Powerless Language

  • Hedges:

    • “I’m kinda disappointed . . .”“I think we should . . .”“I guess I’d like to . . .”

  • Hesitations:

    • “Uh, can I have a minute of your time?”

    • “Well, we could try this idea . . .”

    • “I wish you would—er—try to be on time.”

  • Tag questions:

    • “It’s about time we got started, isn’t it?”

    • “Don’t you think we should give it another try?”

Disruptive language
Disruptive Language

Three linguistic habits to avoid

  • Fact-Opinion Confusion


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

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

  • Emotive Language

    Seems to describe something but actually announces the speakers attitude toward it

    If you approve, sayIf you disapprove, say

    Thrifty Cheap

    Traditional Old-fashioned

Fact-interference confusion

  • A: Why are you mad at me?

  • B: I’m not mad at you. Why have you been so insecure lately?

  • A: I’m not insecure. It’s just that you've been so critical.

  • B: What do you mean, “critical?” I haven’t been critical. . . .

The impact of language4
The Impact of Language

  • “It” Statements

    “It bothers me when you’re late.” vs “I’m worried when you’re late.”

  • “But” Statements

    • the word but cancels the thought that precedes it:

  • Questions

    • Some questions are used to avoid making a declaration

  • “I” and “You” Language

    “I” statements accept responsibility

    “You” statements express judgment

  • “We” Language

    • Implies the issue is the concern of both parties

  • Gender culture and language
    Gender, Culture and Language

    Gender Differences in Content &Conversation Style

    • Ultimately the language between sexes is more similar than it is different.


      Low-context cultures

      • Generally value language to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas as directly as possible.

        High-context cultures

      • Generally value using language to maintain social harmony.