ZeePedia
Introduction to Mass Communication

LANGUAGE IN COMMUNICATION:Polarization, Labeling, Static meanings

<< COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE:Enculturation, Acculturation
STEREOTYPING A TYPICAL HURDLE IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Stereotype Groups >>
img
Introduction to Mass Communication ­ MCM 101
VU
LESSON 11
LANGUAGE IN COMMUNICATION
Previously we have discussed that non verbal communication outsmarts verbal communication by a
big margin but fact remains that the non verbal communication matters the most in real time when you
communicate, or you are communicated, through the human senses and body gestures and signs.
In time and space mostly it is the language comprising words which communicates to others. For instance
most historic records are available in the form of books written by scores of historians. The religious
teachings and the scientific and philosophical works are also going down to generations through words.
It is the words, spoken or written, by prophets and other scholars on which scholars of the day try to set
explanations and seek guidance.
It is, however, a mystery to say whether the languages ­ over 4,000 in recognized form, are man made or
divine. Who invented them and at what stage their grammar rules and nouns were set up, still remains
shrouded in obscurity.
Despite the fact that languages have been one of the strongest tools of communication, they also have
innate flaws which hamper communication. Here below we will see how languages behave in
communication.
Polarization
For almost every language it is a common practice to describe things in extreme position. At times
people are made to take an extreme position while the fact remains that they want to stay some where in
between.
For instance a person is said to be good or bad. You ask about a friend and reply may be; he is good, or he
is bad. The fact is that the person under question is bad in some respect and good in some others. There
may be a person who is said to be bad because he has committed a serious crime but this may be a fact
about him that he always speaks the truth which is good.
At the time of elections, you are asked to say yes or no. Yes means you fully endorse policies of a person,
and no will mean you fully reject the same for another. Fact is you do like some policies of a person you are
made to say no about and there may be some fault in the policies of a person (leader) you are made to say
yes.
You watch a movie and you observe it as good or bad and so you tell others about it. The fact is you like
the music and acting but not the direction and the script or story.
The use of polarized feeling does not allow you to communicate the very truth about something you have a
different feelings. The worst occurs when having said good, you cover an extra distance to justify it if ever
there is a debate on the matter, although your first observation has been polarized due to in-built
inadequacy of language.
Labeling
A language help you label people of different categories and thereafter always keep an impression
about them as such. For instance Scots are labeled as stingy people. Every Scot is not but whenever you are
going to have a business with a Scot, a friend may tell you be careful while dealing with a Scot.
People of some tribe and clan are labeled as quarrelsome. There may be some who are very peaceful and
reasonable but if you are in communication with them under the impression of label, no sooner a point of
dispute arises that you are prompted to observe that nothing is wrong with you; you belong to a tribe which
is well known for such behavior.
29
img
Introduction to Mass Communication ­ MCM 101
VU
It is common in the third world countries to see the United Nation with suspicion and regard it as an
extension of the developed world only to twist arms of poor nation when needed. This may be far from
truth in a given case but such labeling would go along the communication process and stand firm in giving
certain obsessed meanings on part of the sender if he belongs to other side of the divide.
Static meanings
Sometimes some words are attached with a person and he/she continues to be known by the
meanings of those words. For instance there is your college fellow whom you regard as nuts who is difficult
to handle. Now the fellow has gone to US and married and has turned very reasonable ­ as one can keep
changing overtime. But whenever friends meet and talk about that fellow even years after, they will refer
him as nuts.
You visit a foreign land only once in your life time and cheated by some natives. You will continue to call
people of that land as cheats whenever there will be any mention of that country though the event took
place decades ago. So harsh are the feelings and the words to give such meanings where as the fact is that
people, who might have cheated, are now changed.
At times some ruling tribes are described with static meanings in the book of history and their generations
are continued to be known with those characteristics once attached to their forefathers.
All this is because language does not offer any scientific approach to measures matters as done in physics or
chemistry or other natural sciences.
Indiscrimination
Another problem in the usage of languages is that it provides you common nouns and suggests that
people in this area are also similar in behavior. For instance, people from the police department, customs
department, are seen with preconceived meaning. You use the word police and immediately particular
meanings would be drawn in your mind. If a group of students resort to some hooliganism, people would
quickly remark it as a common thing about students. Say she is a model and immediately people would
assume a particular meaning about her. So on and so forth. This indiscrimination among individuals, once
they are grouped in a common noun, is another skirting area of language.
Purpose of debate
As we undertake the debate on language and communication, the purpose is not to prove that
languages are worthless, but only to highlight areas where languages fall short of meaning and hence cause
some problem ­ sometimes very serious ­ in common communication.
30
Table of Contents:
  1. MASS COMMUNICATION AN OVERVIEW:Relationships, Power
  2. EARLY MASS COMMUNICATION AND PRINTING TECHNOLOGY
  3. SEVEN CENTURIES OF MASS COMMUNICATION FROM PRINTING TO COMPUTER
  4. ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION AND EARLY COMMUNICATION MODELS
  5. COMMUNICATION MODELS GRAPHIC PRESENTATION OF COMPLEX ISSUES
  6. TYPES AND FORMS OF COMMUNICATION:Inter personal, Combination
  7. MESSAGE ROOT OF COMMUNICATION I:VERBAL MESSAGE, Static Evaluation
  8. MESSAGE ROOT OF COMMUNICATION II:Conflicts, Brevity of Message
  9. EFFECTS OF COMMUNICATION:Helping Out Others, Relaxation
  10. COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE:Enculturation, Acculturation
  11. LANGUAGE IN COMMUNICATION:Polarization, Labeling, Static meanings
  12. STEREOTYPING A TYPICAL HURDLE IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Stereotype Groups
  13. MASS MEDIA HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE:Early analysis on manuscripts
  14. EMERGENCE OF PRINT MEDIA AROUND THE WORLD:Colonial journalism
  15. TELEGRAPH DOES MIRACLE IN DISTANCE COMMUNICATION TELEX AND TELEPHONE ENTHRALL PRINT COMMUNICATION
  16. TYPES OF PRINT MEDIA:Newspapers, Magazines, Books
  17. PRESS FREEDOM, LAWS AND ETHICS NEW DEBATE RAGING STILL HARD
  18. INDUSTRIALIZATION OF PRINT PROCESSES:Lithography, Offset printing
  19. EFFECTS OF PRINT MEDIA ON SOCIETY:Economic ideas, Politics
  20. ADVERTISING HAND IN HAND WITH MEDIA:Historical background
  21. RENAISSANCE AND SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION: ROLE OF PRINT MEDIA:Science
  22. RECAP:Elements of communication, Books, Printing, Verbal Message
  23. MEDIA MANAGEMENT:Division, Business section, Press
  24. IMAGES IN MASS COMMUNICATION INVENTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY:Portrait photography
  25. MOTION PICTURES A NEW WAY IN MASS COMMUNICATION-I:Definition
  26. MOTION PICTURES A NEW WAY IN MASS COMMUNICATION (Cont...):Post-Studio Era
  27. FILM MEDIA IN SUBCONTINENT AND PAKISTAN-I:Accusations of plagiarism
  28. FILM MEDIA IN SUBCONTINENT AND PAKISTAN (II) & ITS EFFECTS:First Color film
  29. PROPAGANDA:Types in another manner, Propaganda in revolutions
  30. RADIO A BREAKTHROUGH IN MASS COMMUNICATION:What to broadcast
  31. EFFECTS OF RADIO ON SOCIETY:Entertainment, Information, Jobs
  32. TELEVISION A NEW DIMENSION IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Early Discoveries
  33. TV IN PAKISTAN:Enthusiasm, Live Broadcast, PTV goes colored
  34. EFFECTS OF TELEVISION ON SOCIETY:Seeing is believing, Fashion
  35. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MASS COMMUNICATION - I:History, Case Study
  36. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MASS COMMUNICATION - II:Audience targeting
  37. ADVERTISING BEYOND PRINT MEDIA:Covert advertising
  38. IMPACT OF ADVERTISING:Trial, Continuity, Brand Switching, Market Share
  39. MEDIA THEORIES:Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory
  40. NEW MEDIA IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Technology forcing changes
  41. GLOBALIZATION OF MEDIA:Media and consumerism, Media centralization
  42. MEDIA MERGENCE:Radio, TV mergence, Economic reasons
  43. MASS MEDIA IN PRESENT AGE:Magazine, Radio, TV
  44. CRITICISM ON MEDIA:Sensationalize, Biasness, Private life, obscenity
  45. RECAP:Legends of South Asian Film Industry, Radio, Television, PTV goes colored