This outline can be a helpful study tool to assist you in seeing the order and sequence of the chapter and
the relationship of ideas. Use it to take notes as you read and/or to add concepts presented in lecture.
I. Understanding symbols, meanings, and rules is essential to understanding language's important
A. Language is symbolic; it is constructed with symbols.
B. Meanings are in people, not in words. Successful communication occurs when we
negotiate the meaning of a statement.
C. Language is governed by phonological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic rules.
II. Language has the power to shape and reflect attitudes.
A. The use of language in naming people and groups, establishing credibility, instituting
status, and increasing or diminishing sexism and racism demonstrates the power of
language to shape attitudes.
B. Language reflects attitudes, as we use it to demonstrate our power, affiliation (through
convergence or divergence), attraction and interest (through demonstrative pronouns,
negation, or sequential placement), and responsibility (through the use of "I" language,
"but," and questions).
III.Troublesome language leads to misunderstandings, disruptions, and evasions.
A. Equivocal words, relative words, slang, jargon, abstract language, and stereotyping lead
B. Behavioral descriptions (i.e. Who is Involved? In What Circumstances Does the
Behavior Occur? What Behaviors are Involved?) reduce these confusions.
C. Failing to differentiate between factual statements, opinion statements, and inferential
statements and using emotive language leads to disruption and confusion in
D. Euphemisms and equivocations (intentionally ambiguous speech) are types of evasive
language that avoid completely truthful statements.
IV.Gender differences influence our language use.
A. The content of language used by men and women demonstrates gender differences.
B. Motives and reasons for communicating differ with gender.
C. Conversational style differs with gender.
D. Some differences in communication between genders are a result of social philosophy,
occupations, and social and sex roles rather than gender.
E. Differences between the way men and women communicate can lead frustration among
the two sexes.
F. Culture and language are interdependent; low- and high-context cultures illustrate this
G. Languages exhibit diverse cultural styles with regard to directness/indirectness,