Communications 1001 Essay Exam

2861 words - 12 pages

Essay Exam CMST 1001

This essay exam is to explore your understanding of the materials presented throughout the course. Please cite any sources you may use in your answers. Please answer the questions to the best of your ability. Grammar and spelling will be taken into consideration, please make sure that you are re-stating the question in your answers. The preferred format for the test is for you to type your answers under the question that you are answering. This exam is worth 100 points. There are six questions; you are required to answer five of the six. If you choose to answer all six questions you may receive a maximum total of 20 points bonus. If you have any questions or ...view middle of the document...

In this type of group, unless you are a member, you might not know what the symbolic activities stand for.
No matter what type of communication you are a part of, there is a good chance that symbolic activities play a major role.

2. Discuss the three critical features of language and how these features can help or hinder effective communication (Chapter 4). (20pts)
There are three critical features of language that can either hinder effective communication. The first feature is arbitrariness. Language in itself is arbitrary due to the fact that language is constantly evolving. The fact that different languages use different words to describe the same thing is, in itself, a proof of arbitrariness. Arbitrariness is an extremely useful property because it increases the flexibility of language, but it can also hinder communication greatly. Because words have become attached to physical things that they don’t actually represent, language can be very confusing for those that don’t quite have a grasp on our way of speech and slang innuendos. Now the word apple is better known for the brand of electronics rather than the fruit. This is an example of arbitrariness, but for someone unfamiliar with iPhones and iPods this can be very hard to understand in a fast paced conversation.

The second feature of language is ambiguity. Ambiguous language is language without a clear-cut meaning. The meanings of ambiguous words might have different meanings to different people, depending upon beliefs and cultural backgrounds. Individual experiences can also affect how a person views the meaning of certain words. Although love is the same in every language, people view love very differently. To someone who has had their hear broken numerous times, the word love probably carries a negative connotation, whereas a couple that has been happily married for fifty years would probably view love as happy, safe, and secure. Certain holidays are also ambiguous. Even though most everyone knows the meaning of Christmas, depending on a person’s beliefs and spiritual perceptions, this holiday might be celebrated and even labeled differently.

The final critical feature of language is abstraction. Abstract language refers to words that are not the exact description of the ideas, people, events or objects they describe. With the constant creation of new words, language becomes more abstract. This can cause serious confusion when speaking with someone who views the same word as the description of something other than the way you see it. Abstract language also causes overgeneralization. Constant use of broad terms can lead to negative generalizations that are not necessarily true. Although all three critical features are very useful in communication, it is necessary to speak carefully to make sure that the words coming out of your mouth correctly portray what you actually meant to say.

3. Describe the five skills you...

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