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Communication lectures on:


ouche (Fr) from olca (Celtic) from oc* (Indo-European) ... Nixon's V and Bush's hook em' are interesting non-verbal (but not cross-cultural! ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Communication lectures on:

Communicationlectures on
  • Language Using Patterned Sound
  • Non-Verbal Communication Using the Body
  • The Meaning of Objects Using Style
  • Manipulating Space Using our Surroundings

Language and Society
  • Language
  • Distinguished from a call system by the use of
    arbitrary symbols
  • Arbitrary symbols are culturally agreed-upon
    meanings for sounds that are not like the thing
    they describe
  • Non-human chimps cannot speak but can communicate
    (as does Koko, with American Sign Language)

Language Origins
  • Have long been debated
  • Due to languages characteristics (it is
    performative and ephemeral, like dance) and the
    difficulty of connecting language with durable
    physical characteristics (except for the hyoid
    bone) a definitive answer is unlikely

  • What is clear is that the activities of our human
    ancestors, at least since H. erectus times, would
    have required some sort of sophisticated
    communication system to indicate abstract
    concepts such as time, distance, longing, intent,

Language History
  • (of the more recent sort) is considerably easier.
  • Termed historical linguistics, the relationships
    between languages can be discerned through
  • Glottochronology studies the rate of linguistic
    change to derive approximate dates for when
    languages split from one another (e.g., Latin
    into French, Spanish, Italian)

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Latin English German French
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Language Change
  • occurs all the time
  • slang,
  • regional dialects,
  • borrowing from other languages
  • an example of English language change is
    Chaucers fourteenth century English Canterbury

The Canterbury Tales1347-1400
  • Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
  • The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
  • And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
  • Of which vertu engendred is the flour
  • Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
  • Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
  • The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
  • Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
  • And smale foweles maken melodye,
  • That slepen al the nyght with open eye
  • So priketh hem Nature in hir corages
  • Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

Slangcan you date these?
  • Im down with that.
  • Cool.
  • Twenty-three skidoo.
  • Awesome.
  • Bad.
  • Whatever.
  • Dig?
  • Groovy.
  • Sweet.
  • Hidey-ho!

The Most Highly Conserved Words in All Languages
  • I/me, you, two, who, language, name, eye, heart,
    tooth, no/not, fingernail/toenail, louse/nit,
    water, tear(drop), death, hand, night, blood,
    horn (animal), full, sun, ear, salt.

An Example of Conservationand Loss
  • ouche (Fr) from olca (Celtic) from oc
  • terre de bonne qualite --a good parcel of land
    near a dwelling for overflow gardening and
    keeping small or sick animals
  • read about ouches on the class website in the
    article From Garden to Globe under Handouts

Transmitting Identity across Generations
  • transmitted in large part by language
  • people let their language stand for much else in
    their culture
  • language, dialect, accent, and speech are always
    political and have power
  • think about the importance of
  • speakers language choice among potentially
    usable languages
  • the power of an accent to telegraph to the
    listener the speakers class, gender,
    ethnicity, etc

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
  • is that language predisposes people to see the
    world in a certain way and guides their thinking
    and behavior
  • For example, sustainable in English
    characterizes a renewable resource like
    well-managed agricultural land or wind power
  • First used by scholarly, then business community
  • But sustentable from Fr. sustenter (support) is
    not understood.
  • Instead durable, (hardy, lasting) or
    lentretien du paysage (land management) is used
  • Used by agricultural community

Faux Amis
  • A foreign word that looks deceptively like a word
    in ones own language
  • preservatif, je suis pleine examples
  • Note gesture in photos

Code Switchingan example at the dialectical level
  • the smooth movement a person makes from one
    dialect to another in different circumstances
  • includes grammar and syntax, word choice, tone,
    volume, gendered speech differences, etc
  • roof (rooof ruf), tomato, orange
  • NC dialectical differences Kerrville
    (Cur-ville) but Carr Mill and Kerr Drugs and
    Kerr Lake Carolinian pronounced Caroleenian

Male/Female Communication
  • Studies show that, in general,
  • women ask questions, keep the conversation going
    with verbal and non-verbal responses, and protest
    using silence
  • men interrupt more, challenge more, more direct
    declarations of fact and opinion

  • A minimally distinct sound in the context of a
    particular spoken language
  • For example, in American English /p/ and /b/ are
    distinct phonemes because pat and bat are
    distinct however, the two different sounds of
    /t/ in tick and stick are not distinct in
    English, even though they are distinct in other
    languages such as Thai.

  • The smallest contrastive unit of grammar.
  • A minimally distinctive unit of meaning in the
    context of a particular language.
  • For example, cats consists of two morphemes cat
    and -s, the plural suffix. The -s is called a
    bound form while cat is a free (or stand alone)
    form. dogs also has the -s but it is pronounced

Phonetics and Phonology
  • Phonetics is the study of the production,
    transmission, and reception of speech sounds
  • Phonology is the study of rules (grammar)

  • Signal a gesture with (culturally) self-evident
    meaning. Silent non-verbal communication by
    signals or signs
  • Examples "He signaled his disapproval with a
    dismissive hand gesture" "The diner signaled the
    waiter to bring the bill"

  • Symbol stands for something else. Nixons V
    and Bushs hook em are interesting non-verbal
    (but not cross-cultural!) examples, but all
    language is symbolic