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Interpersonal Communication, Chapter 5

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Kelsey Burrell

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of Interpersonal Communication, Chapter 5

Language
Thank you for your attention!

Humans have a higher cognitive capacity for learning and that is how we have evolved into a species that uses a symbolic system called language. This is largely due to the complexity of our brains.

When we talk about symbols, we talk about behaviors and items that represent a specific meaning.


For Example:
So we have all these symbols and gestures and what makes us unique as humans is our ability to put WORDS to our symbols.

-Words are the foundation and building blocks of communication . We use words to represent ideas observations feelings and thoughts.

When we hear the term VERBAL COMMUNICATION it is important to remember this also includes written communication as well.
Subject 1
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Language- A structured system of symbols used for communicating needs.
-Scientists believe that language has evolved from early humans and their gestures.
Language is symbolic

-Each word we use represents a particular object or idea. However, it does not constitute the idea or object itself.

For Example:
Subject 4
Language is symbolic


Apple-English
Manzana-Spanish
Apfel-German
Maca-Portuguese
Elma-Turkish
Mela-Italia
Pomme-French

So apple is not the object, it is essentially a concept. If we were to create our own language we could assign anything we wanted to this object.
Subject 5
Language is symbolic

There are also a few languages that are solely based on the use of symbols.

For Example:
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Language is symbolic

Language has also evolved over time.

For Example:

The word awful used to mean "Full of Awe"

The term Neck used to mean "Parcel of land"

and
Subject 7
Language is (mostly) arbitrary

When we think of the word "car"

Why do we call it car?

The word itself doesn't LOOK like a car....

The word doesn't make the same sound as a car......

Why don't we call cars "Whickles", or "Geps"?

We call them "cars" because someone assigned that word to it.

So words are arbitrary or random
Subject 8
Language is (mostly) arbitrary

An exception or the (mostly) are onomatopoeia which are words that are formed based on the sound associated with the meaning of the word.

For Example:
Subject 9
Language is (mostly) arbitrary

So we say that these words have ICONIC connections rather than arbitrary because they serve as an icon for that item or idea.

BUT

Onomatopoeia varies by language

In English a dog goes "Bow Wow"

In Indonesian a dog goes "Gong Gong"

In English a gun goes "Bang"

In Spanish a gun goes "Pum"
Subject 10
Language is governed by rules

There are 4 types of rules that languages are governed by. They are:

1.Phonological rules- This is the correct pronunciation of words and this varies by language.

For Example:

My Grandma's last name was HERPICH (German)

It is pronounced HERPIC
Subject 11
Language is governed by rules

2. Syntactic Rules- To put words in the correct order.

In English we would ask "What is your name?"

In American sign language, you would sign
"Your Name What?"
Subject 12
Language is governed by rules

3. Semantic Rules- Deal with the meanings of individual words. These meanings may be arbitrary, but they are agreed upon by the speakers of the language.

4. Pragmatic Rules- The implications or interpretations of statements.

For Example:

If I say "It's nice to meet you".
Subject 13
Language Has Layers of Meaning

Denotative Meaning- A word's literal meaning or dictionary meaning.

Connotative Meaning- A word's implied or secondary meaning, in addition to its literal meaning.

For Example:

The word "HOME"
Subject 14
Language Has Layers of Meaning

The Semantic Triangle

This helps us to identify the relationships between words and their denotative and connotative meanings.

The corners are:
Symbol-The word being communicated
Referent- The words denotative meaning
Reference-The words connotative meaning
Subject 15
Language Has Layers of Meaning

Loaded Language- Words with strongly positive or negative connotations.

Example:
In 2008 Congress passed the Economic stimulus Act which allowed the government to purchase up to $700 Billion in troubled assets as a way to rouse the economy.

Some called it a "Rescue Plan" (Positive)
Some called it a "Bailout" (Negative)

What are some other words that can be both positive and negative?
Subject 16
Language Varies in Clarity

Ambiguous Language- Making a statement that we can interpret to have more than one meaning.

For Example:

"She was very COLD today."
Subject 17
Language Varies in Clarity

Interesting Fact:
The 500 Most frequently used words in the English Language have an average of 23 meanings each.

The word SET has over 200 meanings in the Oxford Dictionary.

How many can we think of?
Subject 18
Language Varies in Clarity

A word that is concrete refers to a specific object in the physical world.


A word that is abstract refers to a broader category or organizing concepts of objects.

An English professor came up with what we call the "Ladder of Abstract" which shows the progression from abstract to concrete.
Subject 19
Language is Bound by Context and Cultures

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis- Language influences the ways that members of a culture see the world and that the attitudes and behaviors of a culture's people are reflected by its language.

Linguistic Determinism- We can conceive something only if we have a term for it in our vocabulary.

Linguistic Relativity- People that speak different languages will see the world differently.
Subject 20
Hopi Indians
Appreciating the Power of Words

There are 5 important contexts in which words have special power. They are:
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Appreciating the Power of Words

Naming and Identity
Your name tells your story.

Gender
Ethnicity
Married/Not Married (women)
Disposition (William/Billy)
Intelligence? (Names with EY)
Subject 23
Appreciating the Power of Words

2. Persuasion- The process of moving people to think or act in a certain way.

There are three things that Aristotle says you need to appeal to in order to persuade someone.

Ethos- Refer to the speaker's respectability, trustworthiness and moral character.

Pathos-Refers to the listeners emotions

Logos- Listener's ability to reason or to make judgements about the world based on evidence rather than emotion.
Subject 24
Appreciating the Power of Words

3. Credibility- The extent to which others perceive us to be competent and trustworthy.

Research shows that there are three major things that can affect someones credibility when it comes to language.

They are:
Cliches- Phrases that are novel at one time but have lost their effect because of overuse.
Dialects- Variations on language that are shared by people of a certain region or society.
Equivocations- Language that disguises the speakers true intentions through strategic ambiguity.
Subject 25
Appreciating the Power of Words

3. Credibility- The extent to which others perceive us to be competent and trustworthy.

Research shows that there are some major things that can affect someones credibility when it comes to language.

They are:
Cliches- Phrases that are novel at one time but have lost their effect because of overuse.
Dialects- Variations on language that are shared by people of a certain region or society.
Equivocations- Language that disguises the speakers true intentions through strategic ambiguity.
Subject 26
Appreciating the Power of Word

Weasel Words- Terms and phrases that are intended to mislead listeners by implying something that they don't actually say.
"4 out of 5 Dentists say....."

Allness Statements-That a claim is true without exception.
" All researchers agree that....."
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Appreciating the Power of Word

4. Language Expresses Affection and Intimacy

"I love you"

5. Words provide comfort and healing
This includes greeting cards which is a $10 billion dollar a year industry.

We also use language to comfort ourselves.
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Appreciating the Power of Word

Interesting Fact:

Studies show that people that practice journal writing lead healthier lives and report a %20 decrease in stress levels compared to a non-journal writer.
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The Use and Abuse of Language

There are many different forms of language.

We will discuss a few of them.

HUMOR
A few years ago a psychologist decided to figure out what the worlds funniest joke is. He posted over 40,000 jokes on his website and over 2 Million people from around the world rated them.

This was the winner:
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The Use and Abuse of Language

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He does not seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed over. The other guy takes out his phone and calls 911. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What do I do?" The operator says:" Calm down, I can help. First let's make sure he is really dead." There is silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the hunter says, "Okay, now what?"
Subject 30
The Use and Abuse of Language

This joke contains what researchers believe to be a key element in humor, that is, it violates our expectations.

We use humor for so much:
Di fuse Stress
Make social interactions more enjoyable
Makes us feel included (inside jokes)

78 % of men and women say that a sense of humor is something they find attractive in a potential mate.
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The Use and Abuse of Language

Obviously humor is not always tasteful and can do more harm than good.

When we embarrass others
Make jokes about race, sexual orientation and gender
Make jokes about deformities
Subject 32
The Use and Abuse of Language

Euphemisms/Soft Talk

Rather than saying someone died, we say they "Passed away".
Rather than say "She is pregnant" , we might say "She is expecting."

It's a less harsh or explicit way of making a point.

Fact:
It was against FCC regulations to say the word "Pregnant" on TV until 1962.
Subject 33
The Use and Abuse of Language

Euphemisms/Soft Talk

Euphemisms change over time:

Today we use the term post traumatic stress disorder for veterans returning home. In WWI we used the term "Shell Shocked" and in WWII we used the term "Battle Fatigue."

Euphemisms are good because they give us a way to talk about sensitive topics like death, sexuality and disability.
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The Use and Abuse of Language

Slang, The language of subcultures

Slang is an informal term that often is understood by others in that subculture.

Slang serves important social functions in bringing groups together.

Give me some slang?
Subject 35
The Use and Abuse of Language

Defamation: Harmful Words

Defamation-Language that harms a person's reputation or gives that person a negative image. There are two types of defamation:

Libel-refers to defamatory statements made in print or some other fixed media.

Slander- A defamatory statement that is made aloud within earshot of others.

Libel is a lot easier to prove than slander.
Subject 36
The Use and Abuse of Language

Profanity-A form of language that is considered vulgar, rude or obscene in the context of which it is used.

Profanity, like most language, is relative to the area it is used in.

In Britain a "Fag" is a cigarette

There is also a belief that by using profane words amongst a group you take the negative power the word holds away.

For Example:
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The Use and Abuse of Language

Hate Speech- A specific form of speech meant to degrade, intimidate or dehumanize people on the basis of their gender, national origin, sexual orientaion, religion, race, disability or politacal views/morals.

Hate speech laws are very controversial because some people believe that it violates the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.
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The Use and Abuse of Language

Hate Speech- A specific form of speech meant to degrade, intimidate or dehumanize people on the basis of their gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability or political views/morals.

Hate speech laws are very controversial because some people believe that it violates the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.
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Improving your language use

The way we use language is something we can ALL improve on.

Taking time to really think about what we say before we say it is huge.

Some of the major errors people make with language are:
Subject 39
Improving your language use

Shared Knowledge Error- When we presume that our listeners have information that they don't have.


"Those journal assignments for this week are really hard, aren't they?"
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Improving your language use

Shared Opinion Error- When you assume that the people around you share the same opinion as you.

"Aren't those journal assignments for this week hard?"
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Improving your language use

Monopolization Error- When one person dominates a conversation inappropriately.

"Aren't those journal assignments for this week hard?"
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Improving your language use

These errors can be corrected through a few avenues:

Slow down when you speak.
Speak at an appropriate tone
Speak at an appropriate level and know your audience
Own your thoughts and feelings

Instead of saying" You're not being clear"
Say "I am having a difficult time understanding you"

This allows for people to stay off the offensive
Subject 43
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