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Lecture 13

CMST 1A03-Lecture 13 My Notes

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Communication Studies
Terry Flynn

Lecture 13: UHC Chapter 3 - Language (October 18 ,2013) The Nature of Language *Language hasseveral important characteristics. -Language issymbolic -Its meaningsreside in the mindsofpeople,notin words themselves. -Understanding the rulesoflanguage helpsusunderstand oneanother.  Phonological rules: govern howwordssound when pronounced.  Syntactic rules: govern the structureoflanguage,thewaysinwhich symbolscan bearranged asopposed to themeaningsofthosesymbols.  Semantic rules: deal with themeaningsofspecificwords,asopposed toits structure.  Pragmatic rules: governhow peopleuse language in everydayinteraction. The Power of Language *Beyond simply expressing ideas,languagecan beverypowerful. -It can shape our attitudes toward thingsand toward oneanother.  The power of language shapestheideasand attitudes.  Naming:ismore than just a simplemeansofidentification.Namesmayshapethe waysothersthink of us, the waywe viewourselves,and thewayweact between each other.  Credibility: Our speaking styleinfluencesthelistener’sperception. The Dr.Fox Hypothesis:the reaction of Fox’saudience wasbased more onthe credibility that arose from hisuse of ‘impressive-soundinglanguage’ thanfromtheideashehad expressed.  Status: The power of speechinfluencesthestatusofthespeaker.Accents,choice of words,speech rate,and theapparent ageofthespeaker allcountsforcreating a positive or negative impression oftheperson’s status.  Sexism & Racism: It isusuallyeasytofind alternativesfor sexist language. Firemen may be called firefighters.Policemen maybecalled police officers. The power of racist languageto shapeattitudeisdifficulttoavoid.Commonly,the practice of using expressionsisused withoffensetoIndigenouspeoplewithout even knowing it. -It can reflectthe way we feel aboutthingsand people.  Feelingsof control,attraction,commitment,responsibility—alltheseand more are reflected in the waywe uselanguage.  Power:how a speaker feelsabouthisorher degree ofcontrolover asituationmay reflectthe speaker’sability toinfluence others.Ex.Speakingwithconfidence vs. speaking with uncertainty.  Affiliation: language can alsobeawayofbuildingand showingsolidarityto others.  Attraction and Interest: socialcustomsdiscourageusfromexpressinglikeor dislike in many situations.  Demonstrative pronounchoice: Thesepeoplewantourhelp(positive) vs. Thosepeoplewantourhelp(lesspositive)  Negation: It’sgood(positive)vs. It’snotbad(lesspositive)  Sequential Placement: (note that this isnot alwayssignificant) AlecandJane (where Alecismoreimportant)vs. JaneandAlec(where Jane ismoreimportant)  Responsibility:language can revealthe speaker’swillingnesstoaccept responsibility for a message.  ‘It’ vs. ‘I’ statements: It’snotfinished (lessresponsible) vs. Ihaven’tfinishedit(moreresponsible)  ‘You’ vs. ‘I’ statements: Sometimes youmakemeangry(lessresponsible) Sometimes Igetangrywhenyou dothat(moreresponsible) *’I’statementsaremore likelytogenerate positive reactionsfromothers  ‘But’ statements: It’s agoodidea,butitwon’twork You’rereallyterrific,butIthinkweoughttospendlesstimetogether *’But’cancelseverything thatwentbefore theword.  Questionsvs. statements: Doyou think weoughttodothat?(lessresponsible) Idon’tthink weoughttodo that(moreresponsible) Troublesome Language *Some kindsof language can createunnecessaryproblems. -It can disrupt relationships,confuseothers,oravoid important information.  Equivocal Language: Equivocalwordshavemore thanone dictionarydefinition. Some equivocal misunderstandingscan simplybeexposed,however theycan have serious consequences.  Relative Words: gain their meaningbycomparison.Usingrelativewordswithout explaining them can lead to communication problems.Ex.‘Cheap’tootherscould mean ‘expensive’ to you. ‘Warm’tootherscouldmean ‘cold’toyou.‘Easy’to otherscould mean ‘difficult’ toyou.  Slang: isa language used byagroupofpeoplewhosemembersbelongtoasimilar co-culture or other group.Thissort oflanguageillustrateshowslangcan beused to identify
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