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Language and Communication


Language is a sign and symbol system. ... Manner. Perspective-Taking Model ... The language we speak predisposes us to think in a particular manner. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Language and Communication

Lecture 6
  • Language and Communication

Language and Communication
  • Introduction
  • What is communication?
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Functions and types
  • Verbal Communication
  • Language and cognition
  • Attitudes and language variation
  • Social Psychology of Bilingualism

What is Language?
  • Language is a sign and symbol system. It
    involves a set of rules regarding the linking of
    symbols to referents and their meanings and the
    linking of symbols to each other.

What is Language?
  • Language includes several subsystems
  • Phonological system
  • sounds
  • Morphological system
  • meaning units (e.g. words)
  • Syntactic system
  • grammar
  • Semantic system
  • meaning
  • Pragmatic system
  • use

What is Communication?
  • Communication is a process during which source
    individuals initiate messages using
    conventionalized symbols, nonverbal signs, and
    contextual cues to express meanings by
    transmitting information in such a way that
    similar or parallel understandings are
    constructed by the receiving pry or parties
    toward whom the messages are directed. (Defleur
    et al., 1992, p. 11)

Perspectives on Communication
  • Encoder-Decoder Model
  • Intentionalist Model
  • Perspective-Taking Model

Encoder-Decoder Model
Communication is a process in which an idea or
feeling is encoded into symbols by a source and
transmitted to a receiver (target) and decoded
into the original idea or feeling.
Intentionalist Model
  • Communication involves the exchange of
    communicative intentions, and messages are a
    means to this end.
  • Speech Act Theory (Searle, 1979)
  • The Cooperative Principle (Grice, 1975)

Intentionalist Model, cont.
  • The Cooperative Principle (Grice, 1975)
  • Make your contribution, such as is required, at
    the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted
    purpose or direction in which you are engaged.
  • Maxims
  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Relation
  • Manner

Perspective-Taking Model
  • Communication is a process of both creating and
    reflecting a shared context between speaker
    (source) and listener (target). It involves the
    use of symbols whose meaning depends upon the
    shared context created by the participants.

What is Nonverbal Communication?
  • Nonverbal communication is defined as the way in
    which people communicate, intentionally or
    unintentionally, without words.

Nonverbal Communication
  • Functions of Nonverbal Communication (Ekman
    Friesen, 1969)
  • Repeat what is said verbally
  • Complement or clarify verbal meaning
  • Contradict verbal meaning
  • Regulate verbal interaction
  • Substitute for verbal meaning

Similarities and Differences in Verbal and
Nonverbal Codes (Burgoon, Buller, Woodall, 1996)
  • Discreteness
  • Syntax rules
  • Polysemy
  • Arbitrariness
  • Displacement
  • Reflexivity
  • Transformation
  • Productivity
  • Analogic coding
  • Iconicity
  • Universality vs. culture/context bound meaning
  • Simultaneity
  • Sensory directness
  • Spontaneity

Nonverbal Communication
  • Types of Nonverbal Communication
  • Facial Expression
  • Kinesics - body movement and gesture
  • Proxemics - use of interpersonal space
  • Oculesics - eye gaze
  • Haptics - touch
  • Chronemics - time
  • Paralinguistics - vocal cues and silence

Nonverbal Communication
  • Kinesics is the study of body movement and
  • Illustrators -- nonverbal gestures directly
    linked to language
  • Emblems nonverbal substitutes for spoken

Nonverbal Communication
  • Proxemics
  • Hall (1959, 1966) Zones of Spatial Distance
  • Intimate (18 inches)
  • Personal (18 inches to 4 feet)
  • Social (4 to 12 feet)
  • Public (12 to 15 feet)

Nonverbal Communication
  • Chronemics
  • Monochronic perspective time is a scarce
    resource, which must be rationed and controlled.
  • Polychronic perspective time is flexible, used
    for the maintenance of harmonious relationships.

Verbal Communication
  • Language and Cognition
  • Linguistic determinism
  • The language we speak causes us to think in a
    particular manner.
  • Linguistic relativism
  • The language we speak predisposes us to think in
    a particular manner.

Language Attitudes Definition of Attitudes
  • An attitude is a mental and neural state of
    readiness, organized through experience, exerting
    a directive or dynamic influence upon the
    individuals response to all objects and
    situations with which it is related. (G.W.
    Allport, 1935)

Attitudes and Language Variation
  • Persons have attitudes toward language which are
    especially salient and influential in initial
    interactions. Various linguistic features
    trigger in message recipients beliefs and
    evaluations regarding message senders and these
    beliefs and evaluations are most likely to affect
    recipients behaviours toward senders in contexts
    of low mutual familiarity (Bradac, 1990, p. 388)

Standard and Non-Standard Speech Styles
  • A standard speech style is the prestige form of a
    language, associated with the higher status group
    in a society.
  • A nonstandard form is any variant from the
    standard form (e.g., another language, dialect,
    accent), usually associated with the lower status

Hypotheses about Standard and Non-Standard Speech
  • Inherent value hypothesis
  • The standard dialect became the prestige form of
    the language because it evolved as the
    aesthetically ideal form of that language.
  • Imposed norm hypothesis
  • Standard and non-standard dialects are equally
    aesthetically pleasing, but the non-standard form
    is viewed negatively because of social norms
    which are biased against it.

Research Approaches
  • Content analyses
  • Survey research
  • Experimental research

Matched Guise Technique (Lambert, Hodgson,
Gardner, Fillenbaum 1960)
  • Independent Variable
  • 4 bilingual speakers read passage once in English
    and once in French 8 passages
  • Dependent Variable
  • Height, good looks, leadership, sense of humour,
    intelligence, religiousness, self-confidence,
    dependability, entertaining, kindness, ambitious,
    sociable, character, likeablity

Evaluative Dimensions
  • Ryan et al. (1977)
  • Status
  • Educated-uneducated, wealthy-poor,
  • Solidarity
  • Trustworthy-untrustworthy, friendly-unfriendly,
  • Zahn Hopper (1985)
  • Superiority
  • Literate-illiterate, educated-uneducated, upper
    class-lower class
  • Attractiveness
  • Nice-awful, kind-unkind, good natured-hostile
  • Dynamism
  • Active-passive, talkative-shy, enthusiastic-weak

Evaluative Dimensions Status and Solidarity
Respondents from Lower Status Group
Respondents from Higher Status Group
Language Attitudes and Discrimination
  • Compliance
  • Workplace
  • Education
  • Law
  • Medicine

Language Attitudes and Discrimination in the
Workplace (de la Zerda Hopper, 1979)
Probability of Employment
Other Speech Characteristics
  • Lexical Diversity
  • Vocabulary range, assessed through a type-token
    ratio ( of new words to total words)
  • Evaluative reactions status, competence,
    control, persuasiveness
  • Speech Rate
  • The number of words or syllables that speakers
    utter per unit of time (per minute is the
    standard unit)
  • Evaluative reactions competence, persuasiveness

Other Speech Characteristics, continued
  • Language Intensity
  • The quality of language which indicates the
    degree to which a speakers attitude toward a
    concept deviates from neutrality (Bowers, 1963,
    p. 345)
  • Evaluative reactions complex, interacts with
    other variables.

Communication Accommodation Strategies
  • Convergence
  • Moderation of a speech style, whether in terms of
    lexical diversity, rate, accent, language, and/or
    some other linguistic feature, to become more
    similar to the interactant
  • Divergence
  • Accentuation of a difference between
    interlocutors on one or a number of linguistic
  • Maintenance
  • Refusal to alter communication style

Communication Accommodation Theory
  • Social Exchange Theory
  • Similarity-Attraction Hypothesis
  • Causal Attributions
  • Psychological Group Distinctiveness

Social Psychology of Bilingualism
  • Ethnolinguistic identity theory
  • Ethnolinguistic vitality
  • Second language learning
  • Attitudes and motivation
  • Ethnic identity and language
  • Additive and subtractive bilingualism