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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 Notes

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Rutgers University
Communication and Information

3 – 11- 14 • Roadmap o Review o More on language o Intro to CQ#9 o What is nonverbal comm all about? o Types of Comm • Review o Language  Two perspectives/paradigms • Transmission  window - neutral tool/just reaching out • Constitutive  paintbrush  lang influences product of what lang should do  Core activities we “do” via lang  Core components of lang • Syntax  Chomsky “general grammar” • Semantics • More on Language o Words shape reality  George Orwell, “1984” • “newspeak” • Control over lang  control over thought  Lang is not a neutral medium for expressing ideas • Shapes/constrains process of human thought  The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis • Our lang influences our perceptions, thoughts, behaviors • ***Lang shapes thought  Whorf investigated causes of life • “Empty gasoline drums”  Verbal description  perceptions, behavior  Examples of vocab differences • Hopi – one word for flying things o Pilot, fly (insect), airplane • Eskimo – many words for “snow” vs. English: one (not quite true) • Aztecs – one word for “snow,” “cold” & “ice”  Strong version (linguistic determinism) • Ideas not encoded in lang cannot be thought • Lang is a set of impenetrable blinders  Weak version (linguistic relativity) • Lang shapes habitual thought • Ideas encoded into lang are more salient o Pragmatics – lang in use  Lang is also used to DO things • Lang doesn’t simply describe things, it accomplishes social actions • Interactants actively construct these actions in interpersonal interaction • Ex: The Great Debate  How lang is used in practice to accomplish actions  Conversational “protocol” • Sets of tacit/covert rules in conversation • Breaking rules results in… (recall idea of “breaching experiments”) o Confusion, frustration, animosity o But also: generation of new meaning
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