Language And Communication
Communication is the process whereby people transmit information about their ideas and feelings to one another. We communicate through spoken and written words, through tone of voice and physical closeness, through gestures and postures. What is not said is just as important as what is said. Social Psychologists are interested in how communication influences thought and behavior and how situational forces influences the way communication occurs.
Symbolic Interactionist stresses the everyday communication between people. They also stress how the context or situational forces determines how we perceive our environment and how interaction will proceed. Context carries much of the meaning of speech usage and behavior. Without understanding the context, the linguistic code is incomplete since it only encompasses only part of the message. As in the computer example from class. It is almost impossible for a machine to translate between different languages. The machine doesn't understand the context of the situation nor does it recognize the inflection of the voice. Without understanding these things a machine will not truly be able to decipher what the conversation was actually about.
There are basically two types of communication, a high contextual one and a low contextual one. A high contextual communication is one in which most of the information is either in the physical context or internalized in the person, while very little is coded, explicit part of the message. In other words, it relies heavily on context. An example would be whenever you were trying to retell a story to a person who wasn't there. It never really has the same impact, so you say I guess you had to be there. It relies on the shared previous experiences of the group. A low contextual communication is one in which the message is highly articulated. It is very explicit. Most of the meaning lays in the words them selves. Li