ch.6notes - Ch. 6 Communicating Verbally Understanding...

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Ch. 6 – Communicating Verbally Understanding Verbal Symbols Language- the ability to transmit thoughts from the mind of one individual to another through the process of encoding. Encoding- putting thoughts and feelings into Verbal Symbols (words) and/or nonverbal messages. The language system works by using words and Grammar , the rules that dictate the structure of language, to encode our thoughts and emotions into verbal messages others can understand. Verbal symbols are important to the language system, but they must be accompanied by grammatical rules instructing us on their arrangement. Attributes of Verbal Symbols Words are Symbolic o Symbols are arbitrary, mutually agreed upon labels or representations for feelings, concepts, objects, or events. o Because words are arbitrary symbols, there is not necessarily a relationship between the word and the thing- the word is not the thing but merely a symbol we have agreed to use to stand for it to communicate o Usually, a group of speakers (or a culture) records an agreement about verbal symbols in a dictionary that catalogs the meanings attached to verbal symbols. Language Evolves o Over time some words cease to be used, the meaning of some words changes, and new words are added to the lexicon. o Some expressions that were popular in earlier times have simply ceased to be spoken, illustrating that language is susceptible to fads and fashion. o Social changes prompt changes in the lexicon, a process some people disparage with the label political correctness . Confusing political correctness with important language reform is a mistake. Renovating the language to give people respect and enable accurate speech is a worthy goal that should not be trivialized. Because verbal symbols are so powerful, they can symbolize prejudicial attitudes that we should eliminate. o Verbal symbols continue to evolve. o New words reveal a great deal about our society. o Lexical Gaps refer to experiences that are not named- this indicates that language does not always serve its users well. o Cheris Kramarae (1981)- people whose experiences are not well represented in verbal symbols- Muted Groups- they have trouble articulating their thoughts and feelings verbally because their language doesn’t give them an adequate vocabulary. Words Are Powerful o When we use words to label something we’ve experienced, we make the experience important by talking about it. 1
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Ch. 6 – Communicating Verbally o When we can’t find a word to name our experience, it may make the experience seem unimportant or trivial. o Certain words have the power to affect people dramatically because people have agreed to give certain words power.
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2009 for the course SPCM 1500 taught by Professor Emmelhainz during the Fall '07 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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ch.6notes - Ch. 6 Communicating Verbally Understanding...

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