KSU COMM 15000 - Chapter 4: Verbal Communication

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Chapter 4: Verbal CommunicationThe Nature of Language Language and Verbal Communication Defined- Language is a more-or-less formally established collection of symbols that has meaning for a specific group of people. - Verbal communication is the exchange of meanings by the use of the written or spoken symbols of a language system. - A word is a single verbal symbol which is a speech sound or series of speech sounds combined into a single unit conveying an assigned meaning. - Lexicon is a formal system of written characters representing the spoken words of a language system. - 6,912 living languages; 497 of them are nearly extinct. - Languages sometimes can be only spoken or only written and other like sign language don’t use words, they use visual cues s symbols to convey meaning rather than spoken sounds or written symbols.  Language and the Human Ability to think- Cognition is dependent on the ability to use language.- Time-binding characteristic of humans: the ability to accumulate and communicate knowledge of the past in order to live in the present and shape the future.  Language is rule-governed - Phonological rules: how words sound when spoken. - Semantic rules: the range of meanings that a particular language group assigns to a word.- Syntactic rules: how words are combined in sentences. - Pragmatic rules: unstated rules; we understand them through context and are absorbed over time as we observe how the members of our culture use language. (sarcasm) Language is symbolic- Denotative meaning: dictionary definitions- Connotative meaning: personal meanings based on the images and emotions aroused by aword, are the meanings that people respond to. - Words have no meaning unless people assign them meaning.- Language is symbolic: words don’t mean; they are merely symbols that represent ideas, feelings, objects, or events in our experience. Words are arbitrary (no reason for any particular word to represent a particular idea or object.  Language and Culture- Personal meanings attached to words, as well as to how language is used, are a product ofone’s frame of reference. - Directedness of verbal expression varies and extent to which formality is expected.  Language and Gender- Women are more high-context than men. The Power of Language:  Language has power to influence our perceptions of others- Theory of linguistic relativity! Page 103 A culture’s language affects how members of that culture think as well as their perceptions of self and others. Suggest that attitudes about women and people of color are perpetuated by the acceptance and widespread use of racist and sexist language.- Racist language and Sexist language are the intentional use of terms to imply inferiority f persons who are not members if the dominant culture.  Marking: referring to someone’s race, ethnicity, or gender when those characteristicsare irrelevant. Ex. I was treated by a woman physician at the hospital.  Language has power to reflect attitudes- Relational messages: convey information about how you view your relationship with the other person with respect to power and connection.  Affiliation: belongingness with others. Disaffiliation: lack of connection with others. Language has power to affect other’s perceptions of us- Vocabulary level- Use of profanity; overuse of superlative terms.- Verbal communication is a matter of choice.Obstacles to Effective Verbal Encoding Insufficient vocabulary- Average college student possesses a vocabulary of 16,785 words.  Jargon- Specialized vocabulary that group uses as a form of shorthand requiring fewer words. - Could be interpreted as showing off. Euphemisms- Words or phrases used in place of other words or phrases that might be considered offensive, unpleasant or taboo. - Can improve of obscure understanding.  Trigger words- Verbal expressions that arouse emotions to such an extent that internal psychological noiseis created. - Sex, gay, prostitute. Abstracting and Allness- General semantics: the system of language study. Abstracting: when we are making a statement about a subject. Allness: implication that the verbal expression has captured the totality of a person, object or event.  Polarizing terms- Polarize: asserting that the thing discussed must be either of one kind or of its opposite. Imprecise language and relative terms- Imprecise language: words or phrases that lack sufficient clarity to guide interpretation. Relative terms: derive their meaning only by specifying their relationship to other factors. “this restaurant is inexpensive”Overcoming the Obstacles to Effective Verbal Encoding Expanding a poor vocabulary Avoiding jargon Using euphemisms with care Being alert to Trigger words (sexist and racist language) Using dating and indexing - Dating: add a date to a statement- Indexing: acknowledge the differences that may exist between people within a group or between people at different points in time.- “Holland is the best place in the world to vacation in - My trip to Holland was the best vacation I have ever had” Being cautious of extremes Defining and describing with care- Operational definitions: add language to describe what you mean by the terms you use. (concerned with meaning)- Behavioral descriptions: add language to specify the exact actions to which you are referring. (concerned with usefulness in clarifying the actions you are seeing or wish to see)- Should be less word-centered ad more person-centered. - Words have no meaning; people have meaning.Chapter 5: Nonverbal CommunicationWhat is Nonverbal Communication? Nonverbal messages sometimes communicate even better than verbal ones. Key Communication Concepts- Meanings are co-constructed: the messages exchanged in communication are not embedded in the language used but created by people interacting within a particular context from within each person’s frame of reference. Our understanding is not based on language; it is based on our interpretation of all the nonverbal aspects of the event.- Words have no meaning; people have meanings. You cannot not communicate. “The very act of trying not to communicate; is in fact communicating. - Anything you do or do not do, has the potential to communicate if someone attached meaning to it. Nonverbal Communication Defined- Nonverbal communication: includes any symbolic behavior, other than written or spoken language, that is

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