Language and Communication: An Introduction
NOTES - temporary
Memory banks are like filters
Lie to me
Peter and the Wolf Op. 67, a 'symphonic fairy tale for children', is a musical composition
written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936. The narrator tells a children's story, while the orchestra illustrates it.
Language and communication are perhaps the most complex form of human interaction we engage in, yet
we use language and communication every day. It is such a common, ubiquitous and almost reflex activity
that we virtually take for granted, to the point that we are unaware of the many different components and
levels that are activated in communication.
And because we virtually take it for granted, and seldom think about it, is the major cause, or reason, for
so much miscommunication and misunderstanding.
One of the major reasons for so much miscommunication is that communication and "language" go far
beyond being just words.
Communication, of course, involves the use of words, but it also involves visual cues such as body
language, gestures, facial expressions, and eye-contact.
As well, there is sound: the manner of how the words are expressed; like tone and volume.
Loudness often indicates powerful emotion (especially anger), but not always - sometimes it is just to
overcome ambient sound - but it can easily confuse the listener, especially when the person isn't
well-known to them.
In addition to what I've included so far, is another important component (or variable) is culture - it plays a
huge role - because it effects how we interpret what the other person is saying (and vice versa).
The better communicators we are, the better we become at determining what these combinations mean:
some of them are cultural, and are somewhat specific to certain cultures - others are more universal. It
takes experience to really sort them out.
An example of how different "tones/sounds" convey different messages or moods is demonstrated in the
1936 classical music symphony by Sergei Prokofiev, called "Peter And The Wolf", where each instrument
represents someone, or something, as well different "moods". This is well-illustrated in the video narrated
by David Bowie.
. . . . more to come
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