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What is the function of communication?

  1. profile image0
    pburgerposted 7 years ago

    Is the function of communication the transfer of information? If so, does that mean fiction and poetry are not communication? Does a narrative film of fictional content communicate something to the audience?

    1. marinealways24 profile image60
      marinealways24posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      I think it's primary function is spreading knowledge over generations and raising consciousness.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Do you have in mind any particular working definition of 'knowledge'?

      2. yvens profile image61
        yvensposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        That is what it should be, but in the World that we live in it's all about the money!

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          OMG yvens are truly such a cynic? Is all communication really only about money? Are two lovers whispering sweet nothing trying to extract profit from each other? For surely they communicating?

          1. Sab Oh profile image60
            Sab Ohposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            They are each seeking 'profit' of a sort for sure.

            1. profile image0
              pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              thank you for your contribution Sab Oh, but I believe the word 'Profit' refers to gain without any reference to money. So I may profit my knowledge by educating myself.

              Or, are you suggesting that by 'whispering sweet nothings' the lovers are trying to gain money?

              Or perhaps you are just stirring the pot? smile

              Either way, I am interested in your thoughts...

    2. Ohma profile image79
      Ohmaposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      I think they are all forms of communication because even though they may be fiction the convey the writers point of view.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Can you explain how the communication of science differs from poetic or narrative communication?

      2. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        What about forms of art that react against the tradition of Expressionism?

        'Expressionism emerged as an 'avant-garde movement' in poetry and painting before the First World War; in the Weimar years was being appreciated by a mass audience,[1]  having its popularity peak in Berlin, during the 1920s'  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism

        Expression's 'typical trait is to present the world under an utterly subjective perspective, violently distorting it to obtain an emotional effect and vividly transmit personal moods and ideas' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism

        1. alternate poet profile image77
          alternate poetposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          they are still only passing a thought from one person to a n other

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            What about Dadaism that tried to disrupt the intention of passing thoughts. What about communication that tries to directly trigger emotion?

            The Nazis in Germany banned many forms of art and allowed only art that put forth a limited and socially acceptable message; one that relied on the provocation of emotion without any cognitive resonance.

    3. rebekahELLE profile image91
      rebekahELLEposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      communication includes transfer of information but I think it's much more. we communicate ideas, feelings, attitudes, entertainment.. without some form of communication it has been shown that people often get depressed and go inward. we communicate ourselves, our identity to others through the way we live, the words we speak and write and read. even reading fiction or watching a fictional movie inspires some form of thought or feeling, sometimes calling us to action.
      poetry does the same IMO.

      good topic.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Nice answer, but can you explain how we transfer our feelings with a piece of fiction?

        1. Obscure Divine profile image59
          Obscure Divineposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          Feelings can convey through endless forms of mediums; plain & simple.  big_smile

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            I find nothing plain or simple in your post. I find it completely obscure

            1. Obscure Divine profile image59
              Obscure Divineposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              What's obscure about a concise sentence in plain English?

              1. profile image0
                pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                You wrote 'Feelings can convey through endless forms of mediums'

                I can unpack so much from this plain and simple language...

                Feelings? Are feelings the same as emotions? Because a synonym of feelings is beliefs? and another synonym is tactile sensation?
                The same applies to 'convey' aka carry, bring, fetch, channel? et al...
                And 'through' aka by, done?
                As for 'endless', isn't each form complete and therefore ended?
                And 'forms of mediums'? What mediums do you have in mind? What forms do these mediums take? Are they static or dynamic?

                So, for me your plain and simple language was obscure.

                1. Obscure Divine profile image59
                  Obscure Divineposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  You can break down most sentences in several directions, when you start thinking mechanical like that.  For example, I used 'convey' as 'transfer' - not like carrying cargo.  Geez!
                  I'd hope that most people can understand English words & sentences in the context that they are used.

                  1. profile image0
                    pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                    I didn't think I was taking a mechanical approach to your language. I thought I was letting you see that my interpretation of your language is not as plain and simple as you take-for-granted.

                    I do not presume that my words are plain and simple and accept they are packed with denotations and connotations, loaded with personal and political bias. Hence, I try not to assume that my language is a clear and transparent medium of communication.

                    Have you never heard of reading between the lines, or of non-verbal communication, or irony and double-meanings; all stand to the lack of plain and simple language because IMO the intention of a communique influences the language used.

        2. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Hey rebekahELLE, you said 'communication includes transfer of information'. Therefore, communication is not limited to the transfer of information. What else would communication do? For instance, does communication transfer emotion or knowledge? I distinguish between knowledge and information.

          1. rebekahELLE profile image91
            rebekahELLEposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            the author to some extent becomes the character/s in a work of fiction. the feelings can easily be conveyed with good writing.
            an author can use words in a way to trigger an emotional feeling in the reader. or we understand the characters by the words used to describe their situation, their environment.
            as the reader, a work of fiction is like a movie in our minds. as we read, we see and hear the story.
            probably our favorite books of fiction are those that communicate so well the setting and emotional state of the characters.

            1. profile image0
              pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              I agree with much of what you say. Do we have common ground if I say that I think a writer uses language to trigger the emotions of a reader?

      2. AdeleCosgroveBray profile image90
        AdeleCosgroveBrayposted 6 years ago in reply to this




        The purpose of communication is to share, by any medium, anything which the communicator desires to express.

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Very succinct. And I must take my time to think about what you say.

        2. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Can I ask you to clarify whether you used the definitive article 'The purpose of communication' to limit the possible purposes or do you recognize more than one purpose to communication?

      3. goldenpath profile image81
        goldenpathposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Poetry and fiction is a transfer of information.  It transfers the thoughts and ideas of the author to the reader.

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Hello goldenpath,

          On what ideas do you base your claim?

          What about Aficionada's idea that a function of language as a form of communication is to obscure or hide facts and feelings?

          And what about the people who cry when they read a book of poem. how does an idea make someone weep? Perhaps in such an instance what the writer conveys is less an idea and more a emotional trigger. For surely, novelists of good literature do not communicate ideas, that is a didactic mode of fiction, rather our best literature communicates via scenes that encapsulate an idea. so that the idea is not always obvious...

          1. goldenpath profile image81
            goldenpathposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Everything you've explained is communication.  Whether it be a wink at a girl, slap of a hand, scolding a child or preaching before a congregation it is all a relay of data in the form of words, emotions and sometimes physical contact.  As a religious leader I convey words to the hearts and minds of the congregation.  What they do with the information is their business, but the fact remains that I communicated the information to them.

            Communication is an incredibly broad subject.  Even if we were to intercept an interstellar transmission it would be communication even if the transmitting party knew their transmission may never be heard.  Why, because they are still expressing in the form of radio. I guess, when you get right down to it communication need not even be between two people, but rather just an expression of the self.  Many people do talk to themselves and I would consider that communication.

            1. profile image0
              pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Do we communicate even if the other person does not understand the communique? So an interstellar communique might communicate nothing...

      4. Paradise7 profile image84
        Paradise7posted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Sure, fiction communicates emotions, the way paintings and music does.

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Thank you for this contribution Paradise7.

          If 'fiction communicates emotions, the way paintings and music does' that thought seems to be IMO laden with presumption. What i does not see clear in your thought is how emotion moves from one medium to another. To say fiction communicates emotion is to say fiction is the conveyor of emotion, and that is implies the emotion communicated lay within the fiction, which in the case of a novel is a material object we call a book.

          I can however 'translate' your phrase into 'fiction triggers emotion'. That is, the act of reading provokes a series of thoughts in the reader and the reader's thoughts about a scene lead to emotion. But that, IMO, is far from communicating emotion.

          Please, let me know what you think...

      5. profile image0
        kimberlyslyricsposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        no it's function is first and foremost for sex.  big_smile

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Hi kimberlyslyrics

          Let me see if i understand you, by applying your thought to the situation at hand...

          If the function of communication 'is first and foremost for sex' and by posting you communicate then the first and foremost function of your post is sex? big_smile

      6. shazwellyn profile image83
        shazwellynposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I completed a hub on what is communication.  Take a look if you want.  Not self promotion, just related to the thread. smile

        Someone else can post the link but it is called how to improve communication:: communication training:: what is communication?

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Thank you shazwellyn,

          'll pop over and have a look...

        2. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          I popped over and looked

          Indeed you created a hub called 'How to improve your communication'.

          But to claim your post is not 'self promotion'? Tut tut tut  roll

      7. Ben Evans profile image73
        Ben Evansposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        "But in dear words of human speech
        We two communicate no more."
        Tennyson

        Communication
        1)  The act of imparting, confiring, or delivering, from one to another as, the communication of knowledge opinion or facts.


        2) Intercourse by words, letters, or messages: interchange of thoughts or opinions, by conference or other means.
        Webster

        A silence was never held
        in argument's passing.
        The one who would contruct
        what verbal would not tell
        gave credence and sense
        to tangential idealism for sake of....

        Argument's passing.

      8. Milla Mahno profile image63
        Milla Mahnoposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Yes. No. Yes.

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Dear Milla Mahno,

          LMAO! I do don't do love a concise & decisive woman smile

      9. prettydarkhorse profile image61
        prettydarkhorseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        active and non active communication

        nn active comm -- poetry and arts conveys meaning depending upon the value of the person who is looking at it

        active communication will be when you intearact and explain somethign to the other person, and you exchange meaning through  language

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Thank you pretty dark horse, for your contribution to the thread

          You commend a duality of active and non-active... is there nothing beyond and between the poles? Are the poles semantic constructs that make the duality appear absolute? Or is the reality more complex and in need of something like the four-fold model I described elsewhere? Or perhaps three-fold?

    4. Peter Hoggan profile image86
      Peter Hogganposted 6 years ago

      Here is a link to an article about communication I wrote a few years back which I feel is pertinent to this discussion.

      http://www.nlptrainingscotland.net/arti … cation.php

      One aspect of communication that has not been mentioned up till now is the vicarious experience that often accompanies well written works of fiction or film I would also include poetry and music amongst these works.

      Communication can also be motivational; depending on who you are trying to communicate with and the purpose of the communication either intrinsic or extrinsic motivators can be effective.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        You seem to imply that the old philosophical concept of intentionality is the bedrock of communication: communication is an intention with a purpose. Do you think communication has multiple purposes? Do you think communication is a single 'thing'? Do you think communication is an act a behavior?

        1. Peter Hoggan profile image86
          Peter Hogganposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          I think communication is a two way transaction, so what do you think communication is? Merely asking questions does not constitute communication.

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Thank you for your question, Peter.

            I do not agree that questions are not communication. IMO they are a mode of communication because as you say 'communication is a two way transaction' and every question implies an answer.

            If, however, you think i ask question without an genuine desire to encounter answers, then I would draw your attention to the Socratic mode of reasoning.

            And I use the Socratic mode because I am yet to formulate an answer, and seek to collect insights from other people who might help me build a consensus.

            What is more, I genuinely seek replies, rather than definitive answers, because I keep coming back to this question in my life, and I am not satisfied with much research on communication.

      2. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I read your article and found it very interesting. However, while I recognize the value of NLP and the insights your article provides, I wonder whether 'The meaning of the communication is the response it elicits'...

        For example, I might want communicate 'X' but the person I communicate to might interpret my message as 'Y'. If then the meaning of my communication is 'Y', by virtue of the effect of my communication, then this would seem to deny the social nature of communication.

        A social view of communication holds that meaning is shared outcome, the product of negotiation over meaning. But the view you put in your articles seems to discard half of that process.

        i look forward to your thoughts...

    5. Polly C profile image89
      Polly Cposted 6 years ago

      Without communication, would we still be human beings?  Nearly every aspect of our lives is built upon it.

      1. AdeleCosgroveBray profile image90
        AdeleCosgroveBrayposted 6 years ago in reply to this



        A person in a coma cannot communicate, yet they are still considered a human being. smile

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Nice point!

      2. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I agree that communication is ubiquitous in our lives. But so too in the live of other animals and even plants. To exchange information about where to find honey, bees dance. So communication is not unique to humans. A dog's bark is communication. So I'm not sure what you point you want to make.

        And plants use color to communicate to the world...

      3. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Hey Polly, it just occurred to me that if 'Nearly every aspect of our lives is built upon it' then we should find some aspects of human live without communication. Can you think of any?

    6. Peter Hoggan profile image86
      Peter Hogganposted 6 years ago

      IMO If the circumstances were that you want to communicate 'X' but the person you are communicating with interprets your message as 'Y' you would actually reinforce the social nature of communication as it would instigate further communication.

      1. Obscure Divine profile image59
        Obscure Divineposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        That happens often, especially around here.  big_smile

        1. Peter Hoggan profile image86
          Peter Hogganposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Yep, agreed!

        2. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          True, but IMHO misunderstands and misinterpretations result in much communication in this 'place'

    7. Greek One profile image76
      Greek Oneposted 6 years ago

      The purpose of verbal communication is to seduce ladies into having intercourse.

      If it wasn't for that, language need not have been invented. 

      We were doing just fine with grunts

      1. Peter Hoggan profile image86
        Peter Hogganposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I thought that was what money was for, language is only needed to negotiate the price!

        1. profile image0
          pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          OMG + LMAFO

      2. Obscure Divine profile image59
        Obscure Divineposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Is that why you published a book titled "Body Language - How to swing it without speaking"?  LOL!

        1. Greek One profile image76
          Greek Oneposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          it was only avaialable in hardcover

      3. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        An evolutionary perspective, brilliant!

    8. Peter Hoggan profile image86
      Peter Hogganposted 6 years ago

      Often my communications are utilitarian in nature especially if I am writing a of piece copy designed to promote a product or cause. If you are looking for one type of logic or ethic to coverer every communication I think you will fail.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Certainly much communication is utilitarian. But is communication limited to a utilitarian function? Can we distinguish other uses for communication? is the utilitarian function solely a transfer of information and is that information only in the verbal form and wholly intellectual?

    9. earnestshub profile image88
      earnestshubposted 6 years ago

      I think communication is a means of achieving needs faster, and sharing specialised learning ....... a couple of thoughts on the subject.

    10. aka-dj profile image80
      aka-djposted 6 years ago

      Relationship!

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Yes, aka-dj, I think relationship is not mentioned enough in this thread. IMO the behavioral nature of language has yet to arise in this discussion. The notion of language as a tool seems to overlook the function of the tool, that is not so much to influence someone, or transfer a thought, but to establish a relationship between people.

        Thank you for bringing that word into the conversation.

    11. alternate poet profile image77
      alternate poetposted 6 years ago

      Communication is just passing thought or thoughts from one being to another.  From a complex philosphy or a whistle to bring your dog - or conveying an idea through fiction or art or graffiti - all of it is only transferring a thought to another.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        What about the idea that language is not an 'object' or a' tool' but rather a mode of behavior? The idea that J L Austin and J Searle developed in to the 'theory of speech acts' and which more recent theorists transformed into a theory of 'narrative acts'.

        1. alternate poet profile image77
          alternate poetposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Sorry - I have not been keeping up with my reading so do not know what they are saying.  But to view language as a behaviour is only another way of looking at the subject.

          Reading through the posts and answers - communication is still the way that we pass thoughts from one person to another, it works for us, dogs that bark in the night to each other, and birds who advertise their territory and communicate their personal strength to defend it.  Communication without passing a thought is just noise or whatever, graffiti just a pattern unless someone sees it.

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            I agree that one function of communication is to 'pass thoughts from one person to another'.

            My question alludes to other functions of communication, if any...

    12. Aficionada profile image95
      Aficionadaposted 6 years ago

      Years ago, I read in a textbook the many different functions that language (one form of communication) can have; that list included, to my amazement, the task of obscuring or hiding facts and feelings.

      It does seem to me that if you are seeking one all-encompassing concept to cover the many different functions of communication, it really would boil down to relationship in some way - present, past, future, positive, negative, the list goes on.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Aficionada, you certainly bring to my attention an important point.

        The obscurantist function of language does IMHO allude to human relationships. So, I would like to suggest that communication is a behavior; as in 'speech acts' and more the recently theorized 'narrative acts'. That is, we use language to build relationships between people - relationships of power, of influence, and emotions et al and et cetera...

    13. raisingme profile image89
      raisingmeposted 6 years ago

      to bring us closer to that which we wish to be close to and to distance ourselves from that which we do not desire to be close to.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Is that the function or the result of communication?

        1. raisingme profile image89
          raisingmeposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          both

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Both? That's somewhat cryptic. Would you care to explain how a function is the result?

            Let us accept the function of a drill is to bury a screw in a plank of wood. But a screw buried in a plank of wood is not the function of a drill. hat is, you cannot use a screw buried in a plank of wood to bury another screw in another plank of wood.

            Or can you? Have I misunderstood something?

    14. raisingme profile image89
      raisingmeposted 6 years ago

      The definition of communication that I like is:
      Communication: n.  1. The action of propelling an idea or thing from an origination point across a space to an arrival point, with the purpose of bringing into being at the arrival point a comprehension of that which was propelled from the origination point.  2.To make known; impart.  3. To have an interchange, as of ideas.  4.  To express oneself in such a way that one is readily and clearly understood.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Hi raisingme,

        Nice point.

        Alas, I think denotations are only half the equation. What about the connotations of communications?

        Denotation n:
        1: The act of indicating or pointing out by name
        2: The most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression; the class of objects that an expression refers to

        Connotation: n
        1: What you must know in order to determine the reference of an expression
        2: An idea that is implied or suggested

        That is to say, every denotation, every dictionary definition, has various connotations... For example, and excuse the foul-language, analyzed through denotations "F**k off!" would mean 'have sex and leave' but English speaking people know it means an emphatic imperative to leave without having sex... smile I hope that make sense.

        And much of our communication is not via denotations.
        What do you think?

        1. raisingme profile image89
          raisingmeposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          I think the F off in your example would be expressed "in such a way that one is readily and clearly understood" big_smile  as in definition #4 of Communication.  The mood level one uses in the "action of propelling an idea or thing from an origination point across a space to an arrival..etc.  (see definition 1)  Mood is E (energy) motion + attitude...that is what propels communication from point A to point B. 

          It is said that about 7% of our communication is verbal and I think that a pretty accurate assessment so What I think is that "much of our communication is not via denotations"  This may be due to the fact that we are not droids big_smile  We have emotions and attitudes - tons of 'em and although they are not verbal they can be "heard" loud and clear.

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            I agree with you raisingme

            We convey emotion with language. Alas, methinks too many people do not realize the emotional content of their written words. That is why, for example, I can imply several different outcomes with the phrase  'Fuck off'. That is in no way directed at you or other posters...

            1. alternate poet profile image77
              alternate poetposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              We convey much more than emotion and meaning with language - we also convey information about the character of the speaker, or writer. We also reveal our level of understanding of the meaning within the words of the discussion.

              You do not seem to understand what many people here are clearly telling you, you continually turn and twist what others say into something else - that you then pronounce wrong or right.

              You sound very much like a forum troll to me.

              1. profile image0
                pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                And so unlike those
                who populate this space
                of the hermeneutic circle
                cut through by obtuse tangents
                turning retrograde with words
                that mirror the charge
                methinks no more in the private property
                of what was once called the public domain
                roll

    15. habee profile image91
      habeeposted 6 years ago

      To pick up a member of the opposite sex? Or the same sex, if that's your preference.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Nice contribution habee...

        Except, I believe most seduction is non-verbal.

        In the straight and somewhat old-fashioned world, from where I draw my limited experience, the way to a man's heart is supposedly through his stomach, not his ears, and certainly nor his mind.

        And apparently the way to a woman's treasure is not through verbal communication confidence and social status have more value than a slick tongue and good looks.

        What do you think?

        1. Jane Bovary profile image88
          Jane Bovaryposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          I guess I shouldn't have taken that literally... but I wasn't sure.

          Sometimes, online the words ARE devoid of personage...all tangible personage anyway. You may be right about the r/life example where external markers count...but the interesting thing to me is that people can actually be seduced without any physical presence involved. By *seduced* I mean they can fall in love, purely through words.

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Hi Jane,

            You raise a salient point, people who 'fall in love' via chat-rooms. This issue does highlight the relation between personage and wordage. I was once on the other side of that situation; that is, someone 'fell in love' with me based on my words in a chat-room.

            You obviously know something about writing and would know about 'style'; sometimes thought of a the literary embodiment of personage.  That is, just as no two people speak the same style, no two people write the same style. But, does this not highlight the person behind the words?

            and I find many people slip into the idealist mode of thinking because that is easier to write. By that I mean, people focus on the end, the result, rather than the entire process. As with words. I tend to take a very materialist approach to words and language - I cannot divorce language from people; i.e., language is consciousness. And i think language is a form of social behavior...

            I look forward to your reply...

            BTW you related to Madame Bovary of literary fame?

            1. Jane Bovary profile image88
              Jane Bovaryposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Hi burgermeister,

              I'm not suggesting that any old words thrown together will do the trick so I absolutely agree that writing style helps create the online 'personage'...as well as content. I mean you can have all the style in the world but if what you're writing doesn't gel with the receiver then it's not going to happen. I'd also agree  that style and content do highlight the person behind the words....but it's still only text that's communicating it.

              I suppose falling in love begins in human imagination and we really create our own vision of the person we fall in love with. This is particularly true online, where we tend to fill the gaps in knowledge about a person with our own ideals...thus we can conjure our own love object.

              From the little I know, I'm more with Chomsky than Searle on the language thing. Are we born with the ability to read or is reading a learned social construct that has evolved over a long period of time as a way of transmitting ideas and information?

              Chomsky believes a fundamental aspect of  language is its creativity. So much of what we say and write every day is put together in a unique and original way and the combinations are infinite – if we only learnt language by imitation, it would be difficult to achieve this feat. He argues that humans possess an abstract system of unconscious knowledge about  language–from a very early age we understand complex rules like sentence structure, word order, and sounds, just to name a few and that this is a system of “universal grammar” that applies to all human languages. That makes sense to me.


              [*Jane Bovary* is a pen name -a combination of two of my favourite novels..Jane Eyre and Madam Bovary. I'm  trying to create a personage! ]

              1. profile image0
                pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                Hi Jane

                I love your last post and bringing in Chomsky and Searle was a great idea.

                I agree that when we read 'we tend to fill the gaps in knowledge about a person with our own ideals' and that perhaps that is why so many people seem to fall in love with someone they only encounter via the internet.

                But I disagree that 'it's still only text that's communicating it' - I would say that it is a person communicating with words. Do you think that's just a semantic difference?

                And I agree that 'a fundamental aspect of  language is its creativity'. Hence, why I posted another question 'Does science tell stories?' However, I read a critique of Chomsky's theory of language. The basic thesis was that Chomsky makes an idealist argument that fail to link the concept of a 'universal grammar' to the neurological structures of the brain. See 'A Marxist Philosophy of Language' by Jean-Jacques Lecercle
                Translated by Gregory Elliott 2006

                And my research into the biology and physiology of reading suggests that we do have neurological structures that differentiate aspects of language. So I want to emphasize the materiality of language, and that material aspect is best found IMO in the view that language is a form of social behavior.

                And Jane Bovary is a great persona for a hub in communication.

                I hope to soon know your thoughts on this matter...

    16. habee profile image91
      habeeposted 6 years ago

      Methinks thou underestimates the power of the written word. What about all the poems of seduction written in the Elizabethan Age and before??

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        What about them?

        Were those poems of seduction delivered without reference to the poet? And in those days, poets were typically members of the court, that is well-heeled gentlemen of high social status... Perhaps the words alone did not do the seduction?

        1. Jane Bovary profile image88
          Jane Bovaryposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          What about online seduction where the social status is often obscured? Or even if it is stated it may be false....so the seducer, through words, is able to manipulate emotion. Besides social status doesn't necessarily ensure seduction. I agree with Habee, you're underestimating the power of words in the seduction game.

          How can you say seduction doesn't originate in the mind? Even the shallowest of attractions must first register in the brain before..er, you can get the other stuff into action.

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Where did I say 'seduction doesn't originate in the mind?"

            What I mean is that the words are not devoid of personage.

            That is, a poem recited by two people will have different effects on one listener. IMO it is not the words themselves but the way each reader delivers the words that leads to the effect of seduction.

            Let us imagine a scene. Man A 4'1'' 300lbs shabby hair and threadbare clothes reads a seduction poem to an aristocratic woman. Man B 6'2'' 160lbs well-kept hair and brand new clothes reads the same poem to the same woman. Who do you imagine will have the effect of seduction on that aristocratic woman?

            i choose an aristocratic woman because the context of discussion is Elizabethan poetry and in those days only aristocrats could read...

            What do you think?

    17. alternate poet profile image77
      alternate poetposted 6 years ago

      All these issues are covered in year one of any good English degree course.  What are you trying to say that is different to the accepted norm ? 

      All you are getting here is the opinion of people who mostly do not know the theory.  The answers are good and well thought out but all around your question.

      Why not just say straight out what you think that is different and then we can discuss it ?

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        My purpose is quite different to what you imagine. I did not ask the question to impose an answer. I put the question to learn what other people think about the matter.

        And, if as you say 'The answers are good and well thought out but all around your question' then maybe your year-one textbook is somewhat out of touch with what people think.

        What is more, from my first year textbooks I learned that the question was still very much in debate; that no one theory of communication or language dominates throughout all time for all people and in all places...

        What do you think?

    18. Evan G Rogers profile image82
      Evan G Rogersposted 6 years ago

      In the beginning, communication was simply that: to communicate to another thing. This included sending information from one life form to another (as is, pretty much, the definition of communicate).

      Ants use communication to tell other ants of the colony where food is, bees use flower communication to know where to go for the sweet stuff, birds use communication to say "eek, i'm scared!" or "I'm here, let's get it on!".

      "higher" animals use communication in very intricate ways, but ultimately it's just to provide information from one being to another.

      Humans have this amazing power to not only understand direct sentences (not the technical term...) but also VERY complex sentences.

      For example, A chimpanzee might understand something along the line of "i ate an ant", if the info was processed in the correct system. But a human can understand something like this: "A bird saw a dog that was barking at a squirrel who was eating a seed from the tree that I planted 20 years ago from the seed that my dad had to ask the president of Russia to ask the Emperor of China to demand a lowly peasant to harvest from the trees of the peasant's father's son-in-law's plantation".

      The only real difference between "Hey, i'm horny! Let's get it on" via a few bird chirps, and what humans can do, is only quantity and quality. Language is an innate ability of humans - get a few together at birth and they'll develop their own language.

      In fact, many believe that language is nothing more than the peacock's feathers, to put it metaphorically. The same reason that a male peacock shows off the feathers is the same reason why humans have such developed languages: the ladies love it!

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Nice work Evan,

        And I follow your evolutionary line of argument. But I think, to put it crudely, your reasoning  has a few holes. And I think those holes result from the context in which we find ourselves. A thread on a hub-page is not a best place for clarity and reasoning. Nevertheless, while I agree with a evolutionary origins of language, I loved Stephen Pinker's books 'The language instinct', and, 'How the mind works', what you seem to omit from your argument is how and why we went from 'Cor blimey! Get it on!' to 'Since A-squared divided 8 PI equals the energy of light per volume of, we have t o regard A'-squared divided 8 PI, by principal of relativity, as the energy of light in the moving system' (Albert Einstein).

        That is, what evolutionary cause was, or is, there for '"higher" animals [to] use communication in very intricate ways'?

        Without trying to refute your thought, let me in passing draw on Richard Dawkins, who drew on Charles Darwin, to dispel the myth of a hierarchy of animals. Perhaps that is why you put quotation marks around the word higher.

        Nevertheless, playing devil's advocate with your thought - "higher" animals use communication in very intricate ways. If sex is about propagating the species, then I see no clear relation between 'intricate language' and 'higher animal', certainly not one that explains the evolutionary need to develop the capacity for intricate language.

        Thank you for your interesting post

    19. wingedcentaur profile image83
      wingedcentaurposted 6 years ago

      I assume you are talking about human communication. If so, I should think that on one level, the function of communication is as straightforward as it is for other animals. At the basic level communication is about making negotiations with others to get our own needs met: for food, sex, shelter, cohabitation, money, and the  like - our material wants and needs.

      I would imagine in is no different for other animals. Their communication is for the purpose of arranging for the security (in joining a certain group for mutual self defense), sex, food, and cohabitation. Human beings have to negotiate to get a job, by which we can earn money; we can then use that money from our job as a basis for negotiating a car loan (need one of those to get to and from work since we don't do very well with public transportation), a home loan (shelter); we negotiate for "dates" hoping that one of those will turn out to be "The One," which then gives us the opportunity for cohabitation and procreation.

      We use communication to get people to like us thereby increasing our supply of friends (like most animals we are a tribal species).

      But of course, the function of communication goes beyond that for human beings, because we are self conscious. Communication above and beyond that can all be categorized as trying to answer one question: Why are we here?

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Well said Winged Centaur

        On one level I agree with you - communication does appear to be 'about making negotiations'; and that would seem to accord with Jurgen Habermas' theory of communicative action. But, that theory omits as much as it admits, for, as you say 'we are self conscious'; that is conscious of our self. So, in those internal dialogue that constitute my self-hood, do I 'negotiate' with my self? Is 'negotiate' the sole and  most appropriate verb to use in this context? Do politicians negotiate or impose?

        And what of theories written by scientists? And fictions, stories and films? Surely these are forms of communication? But do they negotiate? And do they negotiate around 'our material wants and needs'?

        And what happens to 'negotiation' when we explore communication through the 'speech-act theory'? That is, treating speech and communication as a form of behavior...

        And would about the rhetorical element of language? Here I mean rhetoric is less about information and more about emotional impact... So that advertising is a rhetorical form of communication; less about 'negotiation' and more about 'persuasion'

        I look forward to your thought-provoking reply...

        1. wingedcentaur profile image83
          wingedcentaurposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Good Day Pburger,

          I would categorize the rhetoric of politicians in political campaigns, as well as their flowery pontifications clearly designed to score "political points," along with the babbling of the advertising industry, comfortably in the utilitarian division of the two levels of communication I identified.

          The political rhetoric of politicians, in America, is designed to make us like and trust them - to make us "want to have a beer" with them, and so forth. That is, political campaigns are not designed to enlighten us, the public, about the issues. In this sense politics in America is irrationally tribal.

          The first level of communication I talked about serves the practical purpose of negotiation, by which we human beings can get our basic, material neeeds met. Any communication in which negotiation is involved belongs to this category.

          Communication that falls outside of this bracket are about asking: Why are we here? This category includes philosophy, art, music, the social sciences, dance, television (that television where art is detectable), movies (ditto), even play I would argue, as well as other things.

          What is 'speech-act' theory?

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Good day Winger Centaur

            Thank you again for your interesting thoughts... From which I glean that you suggest two levels of communication 1) basic animal and 2) higher reasoning. However, I envision four. Each of your levels combines two levels - we animals have both emotion and cognition, and higher reasoning, which not the same of cognition, combines form and content. In a like manner, and under closer theoretical scrutiny, perhaps the two-fold function of communication also expands?

            Speech-act theory?

            This summary from wiki is somewhat technical - Speech act is a technical term in linguistics  and the philosophy of language. The contemporary use of the term goes back to John L. Austin's doctrine of locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary acts. Many scholars identify 'speech acts' with illocutionary acts, rather than locutionary or perlocutionary acts. Like with the notion of illocutionary acts, there are different opinions concerning the question what being a speech act amounts to. The extension of speech acts is commonly taken to include such acts as promising, ordering, greeting, warning, inviting someone and congratulating.
            See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_act

    20. defenestratethis profile image59
      defenestratethisposted 6 years ago

      Isnt its purpose simply to promote an understanding, of some sort or another?

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Dear defenestratethis

        Clearly, you have a clear position on communication...

        Do you think perhaps the function of communication depends on the context of its use? Perhaps communication has more than one function?

        1. defenestratethis profile image59
          defenestratethisposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Well, communication is used in many contexts thats true, and their are many different forms, naturally not all communication is verbal either, nor is its only goal to convey a want or need. Sometimes I think that at its heart, communication provides us with a way to validate self. I keep going back to the issue of understanding. Dont we as humans, long to be understood and accepted? From the boss barking orders at work, to the plaintive blues singer in the club, to the mad man rambling in excited tones..are they not expressing themselves with the hope that others like them, will nod and say "Oh yeah, I hear ya, I know just what you mean..."  Lol...I dont know...but I do know we'd be hard pressed to get through life without any form of communication...

          1. profile image0
            pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Hi defenestratethis

            Great post!

            I was just reading today that one of the outcomes of modernist art was the goal of affirming self...

            And your examples of emotive communication are very discerning.

            And of course communication is the bedrock of human existence, hence why I find odd the idea of a single function for communication...

            Thank you for bringing these ideas to the thread...

    21. wingedcentaur profile image83
      wingedcentaurposted 6 years ago

      Good Day Pburger

      So speech-act is about the combination - in some cases - of words that are not just words, but have, bound up in them, action. We have this in international diplomacy. What does it mean when we say we "recognize" another nation as a nation.

      What did it mean when, in 1948, President Harry Truman "recognized" the state of Israel. What did that mean? Did it mean that we were saying "Hi, Israel. We see you over there."

      No, to "recognize" another state means something. It means we're going to set up diplomatic and trade relations with them. It means, if feasible, we're going to enter into shared security and intelligence sharing arrangements. By saying we "recognize" another entity as a nation, we give them legitimacy and the machinery of the arrangements I mentioned have, therefore, already been set in motion. Very good. I like that.

      I need further clarification about what you mean when you say, the two-fold idea of communication expands into a four-way operation, if you don't mind.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Good evening Winged Centaur

        Yes, clearly, you grasp the nub of speech act theory - words are a form of behavior because words produce actions that change our environment and our relationship with people. As forms of communication speech and writing are material and social; they quite literally affect the world...

        However, since Austin put forth the theory, a group of neuropsychologists (Rapport et al) shifted the paradigm of speech-acts to narrative-acts; that is we produce change in the world with the stories we tell.

        So we do not repeat ourselves, do you think we should combine our separate discussions in a single thread?

    22. wingedcentaur profile image83
      wingedcentaurposted 6 years ago

      Good Evening Pburger

      I think it's probably best not to mess with the format. This is a forum after all, open to any and everyone. It might be viewed by some people as if we're trying to isolate ourselves.

      Anyway, we'll remember what we said. And if we do repeat ourselves, what's the harm?

      Have a good night.

      1. profile image0
        pburgerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Good day Winged Centaur,

        I did not mean to imply we create a private discussion... but I have no problem continuing the current forum... smile

        Cheers!

     
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