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Verbal Communication (Chapter 5)

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Sabeen Sheikh

on 25 September 2017

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Transcript of Verbal Communication (Chapter 5)

The Seven Functions of Language

"What to go skiing with me this weekend?" "Bring your truck for the four wheel drive."

"We'll leave Saturday around 6am." "Will that time work for you?"

"It's been a while since we went skiing." "Don't forget to gas up that P.O.S. of yours!"

"This time Saturday we'll be waist deep in champagne powder!"
Importance of Verbal Communication
Language and Perception
Ethics and Verbal Communication
-Ethics in communications examines a specific type of language that may harm individuals or relationships:
How Important is Good Verbal Communication
Language and power
" Words have set whole nations in motion..... Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world." Joseph Conrad.
ex: Hitler, Martin Luther King, The President
Language and power are inextricably connected. people in power get to define what language and communication styles are appropriate.
This view of the relationship between language and power is explained by cocultural theory which explores the role of power in daily interactions using these five assumption:
1. In each society, a hierarchy exists that privileges certain groups of people.
2. Parts of the privilege these groups enjoy is being able to set norms for what types of communication are acceptable or not acceptable(taboo).
3. Language maintains and reinforces the power of these dominant groups, again, mostly subconsciously.
4. In a relationship realm, society tends to value a more female communication style, and men may be criticized for failing to communicate appropriately with their intimates.
5.Dominant communication structures impede the progress of persons whose communication practices do not conform to the norms.
Power and Accent
Where did people learn that an English accent sounds upper crust and educated?
People have become so familiar to seeing and hearing these associations that they never question why?
Such language stereotypes can be triggered in one's head before a person even speaks, when one thinks, generally because of the persons appearance.
ex: Asian and indian accents
How does language cause one group to become elevated and another denigrated?
social forces of history and politics.
The positive and negative associations about african american, white, and british English developed during the 19Th and 20Th century when european americans were establishing themselves as the powerful majority and the rest the minority.
Power and Identity Labels
The language labels that refer to certain identities also communicate important messages about power relations.
People involved in more powerful groups frequently implement label for members of another group.
ex: gay teachers but not a white teacher.
Moreover, the power of labels can change overtime.
ex: WASP( White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) as a positive label; now seen as rather negative.
The shift mostly likely reflected the changing attitudes of Whites, who are now more aware of their ethnicity and the fact that they are not always the majority.
In all, the social environment profoundly influences the way people perceive the world and the language choices available to them. Those in power set the language and communication norms, often determines what verbal communication style is deemed appropriate or inappropriate, elegant or uneducated.
study of sound
Rules that govern
the study of meaning
-Do you think males and females use language differently?

-Females language is personal, supportive and disclosive
-Males language is instmental, competitve and assertive
-Media often over exagerates male and female uses of lanugage and communication
-Age influences the language that we choose
-Slang is an example of the ways we choose lanugage differently
-Words like "cooties", "OMG," and "sick" show an ages different use of language
How many slang words can you come up with that you use? Or that adults may use?
-Accent, pronounciation, and word choice are strongly effected by region.
-Word choice is also effected by your region
Example: Apple products- Apple on a tree

Have you had an experience where a persons word choice changed your understanding of what they ment?
meanings attached to a word

dictionary or literal meaning

the use of verbal communication to attack others based upon some social category such as race, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality that is seen as threatning to an entire group or inciting violence against members of a group
-1st Amendment in the US Constitution, the freedom of speech, is often used to protect against laws that make hate speech illegal.
Speech is unethical
-Some countries view the use of verbal communication to attack, demean, or degrade other groups of people not only as unethical, but also illegal with consequences
speech is seen as an attack on a whole group, not just on a person who is the receiver as such messages.
Disconfirming Communication
: occurs when people make comments that rejects or invalidates a self-image, postive or negative, of their conversation partner
Confirming Messages

validate positive self-images of others
-Disconfirming Messages deny the values of others
-Two ways to disconfirm: (1) Explicitly = straightforward
(2) Implicitly = indirectly/sarcastic
-Negatively influences your self-image
-Impairs relationships with the people who disconfirm you
-Disconfirming Messages say, "I don't care about you," "I don't like you"
-More ethical and more effective
-People enjoy communicating with those who encourage them to feel good about themselves
Confirming Messages
: say "You Exist," "You Matter," "You are Important"
-When considering ethics of language use, you also need to think about the effectiveness of your verbal choices
Q: How can you provide negative feedback to people without being disconfirming?
"I" statements
allow you to express your feelings by focusing on your own experiences rather than making negative generalizations (you statements) about others
-Conveyed through a three-part message:
(1) the other persons'
(2) your

about the behavior
(3) the
the other's behavior has for you
Example: I think I must be unimportant to you (
) when you arrive late for dinner (
), so I don't feel like cooking dinner for you(
-"You" statements lead to feeling defensive or angry because of the negative evaluation contained in the message
-"I" Statements lead to more constructive resolution of conflicts because the listener resents the speakers position of passing judgement
Why Use "I" Statements?
-"I" is more effecitve because the receiver is more likely to listen and respond

-"I" Statements prevent the speakers fom attacking others in order to vent their feelings

-"I" Statements are not always appropriate

-Verbal Communication must always be evaluated in contexts of the relationship with someone and one's goal
-Language is a powerful force that has consequences & ethical implications

-Old Saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"
-Words CAN
-Negative communication causes harm and denies people of their identity
Verbal communication is both spoken words and written words
Verbal Communication
Pragmatics is the study that emphasizes how language is used in specific situations.
Jargon and cliches are challenges to this idea.
Verbal communication is the foundation on which meaning is created.
Verbal communication plays a key role in indentity and relationship development.
Language is composed of 4 components:
1. Phonology = sounds of letters/words
2. Syntax = rules for word order/sequence
3. Semantics = the meaning of words
4. Pragmatics = patterns in language
Nominalists say any idea can be expressed in any language, the language doesnts influence a speaker's perception.

Relativists argue that language shapes ideas as well as gives voice to ideas.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is a relativst view that says language actually determines the way people see the world.

Which viewpoint makes the most sense to you? Why?
As a student, which functions of language do you use most? Which do you use most at home? How about at work? Why do you think different roles prompt you to use different functions of language?
Language and Power
1. Hierarchies in society privilege certain groups of people.

2. Priviliged groups get to set the norms for what is appropriate communication.

3. Language maintains and reinforces the power of privileged groups.

4. Acceptable language in personal relationships varies from what is acceptable in the greater society.

How to improve verbal communication skills
1. Read more, to expand your vocabulary
2. Think about the words you will use BEFORE you use them!
3. Prepare when you can by writing down your thoughts first, to get organized and to ensure clarity
4. Listen more and talk less
5. Use nonverbal skills with verbal skills
6. Be honest, be kind
7. Look for understanding and show it too
8. Check your perceptions
"We are not going to take a test today".
1. Indicate surprise
2. Statement of fact
3. Statement indicating we are doing something instead of taking a test today
4. Statement indicating another group of people will be taking a test today
5. Statement indicating we are taking more than just one test today.
Voice inflections impact the perceived meaning of verbal communication
Directions: Say the word oh differently, giving it the following interpretation or meaning each time:
1. Shock
2. Pleasure
3. Questioning
4. Doubt
5. Displeasure
6. Detachment
7. Resentment
8. Anticipation
9. Surprise
10. Meaning the letter in the alphabet between n and p
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