A collection of symbols governed by rules and used to convey messages between individuals
Arbitrary constructions that represent a communicator's thoughts. Not all are spoken or written (sign language). The way we experience the world.
Meanings are in people...
...not words. Each symbol means something different to each person.
Ogden & Richard's triangle of meaning
-meanings are social constructions in "triangle of meaning" -there is only an indirect relationship between word and what it represents -referents = thing. Many are mythical (unicorns), not tangible (Elvis), or abstract ideas (love)
...governed by rules
govern how words sounds when pronounced
govern the structure of language - the way symbols are arranged. "Technology has spawned subversions of English with it's own syntactic rules.
deal with the meaning of specific words
govern how people use language in everyday interaction, which communication theorists have characterized as a series of "speech acts." How words are understood and used.
The Power of Language
Language allows us to satisfy basic functions like describing ideas, making requests, and solving problems.
names shape the way other think of us, the way we view ourselves, and the way we act.
an example of how speech influences perception. Dr. Myron L Fox delivered a speech to intelligent people about his "area of expertise" (was a false speech) but many believed him.
your "quality" of speaking; accent, choice of words, speech rate
sexism & racism
"he" for girls/boys, "******"
patters which add to or detract from a speaker's ability to influence others, which also reflects how a speaker feels about their degree of control over the situation.
language drives out understanding of time
Language is necessarily flawed...
...there are human creators, human users, human "trainers," human misusers. -it arbitrary -
reflect and shape attitudes
only symbols if they move us
nonverbal symbols include...
-auditory symbols that do not include words -visual symbols -kinesics (gestures, physcial movement) -proxemics
-emblems -illustrations -regulators -adaptors ("um" "like" talking w hands) - these are actually signals of physiological or psychological state, but usually interpreted symbolically. -affect displays
powerless speech mannerism
make a person appear less authoritative and socially attractive
use of similar vocab, etc. to show an "affiliation" or relationship with another
linguistic accommodation between sets or groups of people to distinguish. -when 2+ people feel positive about each other their linguistic convergence is mutual -many will start speaking the "right way" to become affiliated
speaking in a way to emphasize difference from others
-hedges -hesitation -intensifiers -polite forms -tag questions -disclaimers
"I'm kinda disappointed" "I think we should" "I guess i'd like to"
"Uh, can I have a minute..." "Well, we could..." "I wish you would, er, ..."
"So, that's how I feel" "I'm not very hungry"
"Excuse me, sir"
"It's about time we started, isn't it? "Don't you think we should..."
"I probably shouldn't say this, but..." "I'm not really sure, but..."
linguistic inter-group bias
reflects whether or not we regard others as a part of our in group. We describe those who do good things "in group" positively, those who do same thing "out-group" we don't treat positively.
Attraction & Interest
Social customs discourage us from expressing like or dislike in many situations. Ex. "God, this cake is gross" we would just eat it
demonstrative pronoun choice
"these" people want our help - (+) "those" people want our help - (-)
"It's good" - (+) "It's not bad" - (-)
"Dick and Jane" means that Dick is more important. (not always true)
language can reveal the speaker's willingness to accept responsibility for a message "It" vs "I"...."its not finished" (-) vs "I didnt finish it" (+)
"you" vs "I"
"I" is more likely to generate positive responses. "you make me angry" vs "I get angry when"
"It's a good idea, but it won't work"
Questions vs Statements
"Do you think we should" (-) vs. "I don't think we should" (+)
the language of misunderstandings
equivocal words have more than one dictionary definition. Ex. males misunderstanding female ambiguous lang about sex
gain meaning by comparison. Ex. "is your school big?" warm to one person is cold to another.
Slang + Jargon
slang used by a group of poeple whose members beling to a similar coculture or other group.
terms understood by those who live in one geographical area, but incomprehensible to outsiders. used to identify insiders and outsiders. can be age related.
specialized vocabulary that functions as a kind of shorthand for people with common background experience. Skateboarders use "ollie" there are certain acronyms trauma teams use in hospitals
overly abstract language
most objects, events, and ideas, can be described with varying degrees of specificity
A number of descriptions of the same thing (low #=precise) (high # = generalization)
speech that refers to objects or events only vaguely. Causes stereotyping and confusion
move down abstraction ladder to identify specific, observable phenomenon being discussed
A thorough description...
answers 3 questions... 1. Who is involved? 2. In what circumstances does the behavior occur? 3. What behaviors are involved?
-confusing facts and opinions -emotive language -confusing facts and inferences
confusing facts and opinions
facts: true or false opinions: based on belief, can create an unnecessary argument
confusing facts and inferences
inferences: conclusions arrived at from an interpretation of evidence
contains words which sound like they're describing something when really they are announcing speaker's attitude. (assertive vs aggressive)
pleasant term used to describe a less pleasant term. "passed away" vs "died"
deliberately vague statement that can we interpreted in more than one way (intentionally ambiguous speech) to avoid lying or hurtful truth)
Gender and Language
-content -reasons for communicating
men and women reserve talking about sex for members of the same gender
reasons for communicating
-Men communicate to joke, offer advice, for entertainment, for fun -Women communicate for empathy, to build and foster relationships, to tell responsibilities, problems, and feelings
-Men and women talk an equal amount -Women ask more questions. These questions are less powerful, more emotional (digital?) -Women will adapt to males in conversation
Non gender variables
-occupation/social role influence speaking style -"sex" over gender --masculine = dominant language --feminine = submissive --androgynous = in the middle
Culture and Language
Different throughout the world because different cultures have different consequences for certain actions
direct - indirect
feelings vs problems
elaborate - succinct
-elaborate: expressive, rich, exaggerating -succinct: silence is valued
formal - informal
-formal: defines social status -informal: idk
Language and Worldview
-linguistic relativism -sapir-wharf hypothesis
notion that the worldview of a culture is shaped and reflected by the language its members speak. Ex. Eskimo for "snow"
Declaration of linguistic relativism. "We believe that characteristics people 'have' what they 'are' - are beyond their control, whereas they are responsible for what they 'do.'