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Language “a collection of symbols governed by rules and used to convey messages between individuals”

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Presentation on theme: "Language “a collection of symbols governed by rules and used to convey messages between individuals”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Language “a collection of symbols governed by rules and used to convey messages between individuals”

2 Language is symbolic Symbols- represent a communicator’s thoughts Symbols- represent a communicator’s thoughts We experience the world through symbols We experience the world through symbols Examples of symbols: Examples of symbols: ---Words, gestures, and signs ---Words, gestures, and signs

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9 Meanings are in people not words People give words their meaning People give words their meaning People often interpret words differently People often interpret words differently A common communication error takes place when we assume that everyone attaches the same meanings to words that we do. A common communication error takes place when we assume that everyone attaches the same meanings to words that we do. We need to clarify meaning when communicating with others We need to clarify meaning when communicating with others

10 Language is rule governed Phonological rules: how we pronounce words Phonological rules: how we pronounce words Syntactic rules: how we structure language Syntactic rules: how we structure language Semantic rules: how we assign meaning to specific words and symbols Semantic rules: how we assign meaning to specific words and symbols Pragmatic rules: tell us how to interpret a message in a particular context Pragmatic rules: tell us how to interpret a message in a particular context

11 Language shapes attitudes The way we speak gives others certain impressions of us The way we speak gives others certain impressions of us Credibility and status are often decided according to the language we use Credibility and status are often decided according to the language we use

12 We need to be aware of how the language we use may effect others By avoiding sexist language By avoiding sexist language By avoiding racist language By avoiding racist language By avoiding stereotypes By avoiding stereotypes

13 A riddle to solve: A young boy was riding in a car with his father, together they got in a horrific car accident, the father died and the son was rushed to the hospital for critical surgery. A young boy was riding in a car with his father, together they got in a horrific car accident, the father died and the son was rushed to the hospital for critical surgery. The boy was in the surgery room when the doctor walked up, looked at him, and said “I can not operate on this boy, he is my son!” The boy was in the surgery room when the doctor walked up, looked at him, and said “I can not operate on this boy, he is my son!” How is this possible? How is this possible?

14 Sexist language Language that favors one sex over another Language that favors one sex over another

15 What is wrong with the following statements? “I now pronounce you man and wife.” “I now pronounce you man and wife.” “I can’t believe Ann kept her name when she got married.” “I can’t believe Ann kept her name when she got married.” “John stayed home with his son while his wife went grocery shopping.” “John stayed home with his son while his wife went grocery shopping.” “He is a male nurse” “He is a male nurse” “She is a female lawyer.” “She is a female lawyer.” “She is an actress.” “She is an actress.”

16 Racist language The use of derogatory terms used to label people outside of “the group” The use of derogatory terms used to label people outside of “the group”

17 Language based on stereotypes Stereotypes – mistaken generalizations we make about others

18 What is wrong with these statements? “My friend Hachividi is from India, but he acts like a regular guy.” “My friend Hachividi is from India, but he acts like a regular guy.” “Asian people are smart” “Asian people are smart” “Everyone from France is rude” “Everyone from France is rude” “All Italian men cheat on their wives” “All Italian men cheat on their wives”

19 The language of misunderstandings Equivocal language – words that have two meanings Equivocal language – words that have two meaningsExamples: Produce- fresh farm products (fruit or vegetables) Produce- fresh farm products (fruit or vegetables) Produce- to create something Produce- to create something Tear-a drop of clear salty liquid that lubricates the surface between the eyelid and eyeball Tear-a drop of clear salty liquid that lubricates the surface between the eyelid and eyeball Tear- to pull apart into two or more pieces Tear- to pull apart into two or more pieces

20 Relative words Gain their meaning by comparison Gain their meaning by comparison The meaning we attach to relative words depends on what they are compared to The meaning we attach to relative words depends on what they are compared to Examples: Examples: Large/ small Large/ small A lot/ a few A lot/ a few Near/ far Near/ far Cheap/ expensive Cheap/ expensive ***Using relative words without explaining what we mean may lead to misinterpretations

21 Slang Language that is used within a particular group of people who tend to identify with one another Language that is used within a particular group of people who tend to identify with one another What are some examples of slang? “ I’ve got the bling bling” “That car is dope” “He lives in a phat pad”

22 Jargon Specialized vocabulary that is used by people with common backgrounds or experience Specialized vocabulary that is used by people with common backgrounds or experience A simplification of words or concepts A simplification of words or concepts Often only known and understood in a particular group Often only known and understood in a particular group

23 What are some examples of Jargon? Computer Jargon Sports Jargon Educational Jargon

24 Abstract language A way of speaking that is unclear or vague A way of speaking that is unclear or vague Speaker is usually not aware that they are being abstract Speaker is usually not aware that they are being abstract Abstract language causes problems: Abstract language causes problems: 1. Stereotyping 1. Stereotyping 2. Confuses others 2. Confuses others 3. Misunderstandings 3. Misunderstandings

25 Abstraction ladder A ladder of descriptions of objects, people, or events A ladder of descriptions of objects, people, or events Items lower on the ladder are more descriptive—detailed Items lower on the ladder are more descriptive—detailed Items higher on the ladder are more generalized--vague Items higher on the ladder are more generalized--vague

26 Example using Abstraction ladder Top of ladder (most abstract): Top of ladder (most abstract):-Car -blue car -small car -two door car -sports car -Porsche Porsche, midnight blue, convertible, 911 Twin turbo with bucket leather seats - Bottom of ladder (least abstract)

27 Behavioral description Helps us to clarify message Helps us to clarify message One of the best ways to avoid abstractions One of the best ways to avoid abstractions Move down the abstraction from more general descriptions to more detailed descriptions Move down the abstraction from more general descriptions to more detailed descriptions ***In studies couples that use behavioral description rather than blame tend to be description rather than blame tend to be more satisfied with their relationships more satisfied with their relationships

28 A thorough behavioral description should answer: 1. Who is involved? 2. In what circumstances does the behavior occur? occur? 3. What behaviors are involved

29 Disruptive language – language that causes conflict Three ways to avoid disruptive language: 1. Avoid confusing facts and opinions opinions – statements based on speakers beliefs 2. Avoid confusing facts and inferences Inference- conclusions made based on speaker’s interpretation 3. Avoid emotive language – language that comes across as descriptive when in reality it is filled with the speakers attitude toward something

30 Evasive language A type of language used that is vague and unclear A type of language used that is vague and unclear Avoids clear meaning Avoids clear meaning Speaker is aware of using vague language to mislead others, or avoid conflict Speaker is aware of using vague language to mislead others, or avoid conflict

31 Two types of evasive language: 1. Euphemisms – a pleasant indirect term used to replace a not so pleasant direct term 1. Euphemisms – a pleasant indirect term used to replace a not so pleasant direct term 2. Equivocation – a vague statement that can be interpreted in more than one way 2. Equivocation – a vague statement that can be interpreted in more than one way

32 Gender and language Men and women tend to talk about different things Men and women tend to talk about different things Men and women have different reasons for communicating Men and women have different reasons for communicating Yet, the ways men and women communicate tend to be more similar than different Yet, the ways men and women communicate tend to be more similar than different

33 Culture and language Two cultural ways of using language: Two cultural ways of using language: Low-context cultures – use clear, and direct language (U.S. and Canada) Low-context cultures – use clear, and direct language (U.S. and Canada) -- speak to the point -- speak to the point High-context cultures – use less clear and more abstract language in order to prevent conflict, and hurting the other person (Asian and Middle Eastern countries) High-context cultures – use less clear and more abstract language in order to prevent conflict, and hurting the other person (Asian and Middle Eastern countries) --beat around the bush

34 Language and worldview Linguist determinism – language is a reflection of culture Linguist determinism – language is a reflection of culture - the language a culture speaks is determined by what is important to them by what is important to them - each culture’s language emphasizes specific words and meanings that are of importance to that particular culture - each culture’s language emphasizes specific words and meanings that are of importance to that particular culture  Linguist relativist – the language a culture speaks affects the way they view and interpret the world

35 Whorf-Sapir hypothesis – theory that states that our language shapes the way we see the world – theory that states that our language shapes the way we see the world


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