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Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Verbal Communication
 According to Infante, Rancer, and Womack, “language is the core of verbal
communication. It is a collection of signs, symbols, codes, rules which are used to
construct and convey messages. These elements form the medium through which we
communicate our ideas, desires, and feelings.”
 For De Vito, language is “a productive system capable of displacement and composed of
rapidly fading, arbitrary (random) culturally transmitted symbols.”
o According to Stefatt, the symbols used to create language are arbitrary and ambiguous
(has double meaning). Yet communication is a process of exchanging mutually
understood symbols to stimulate meaning in another. Human language exists to allow
us to share meanings. Meanings are accomplished when we interpret symbols…”

-Means that language permits us to discuss topics that cut across time and space, reality
and fantasy. Speeches delivered today can influence people and events in other times
and culture.
-Example: speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered in the United States in the
1960s continue to influence individuals in the U.S. and South Africa.
 Rapid fading- means that verbal messages must be received immediately after they are
sent, or they will be lost

-Stands for or represent something
 Symbols
-its meaning is determined by people and culture. For example, the word rock can mean
a hard substance found in quarries or a type of modern music.
-Also, in the past, people associated the word “aids” with assisted learning like “teaching
aids” or “audiovisual aids”. Nowadays, it is an acronym for “acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome” a severe disease.

Both signs and symbols are graphical presentations but people often use them interchangeably. The main
difference between the two is that a sign is a language on its own and it is used to communicate something to
people. It is broader term and symbol comes under it.


-Refers to beliefs about what is or is not related to the object of
-The verbal code is more effective for this dimension
Cognitive dimesion ….or how you understand the word which is the object of communication
 Denotative meaning is the literal or dictionary meaning of a word.
 Connotative meaning is the subjective attachment that people associate with
a word or symbol. It contains our judgements and evaluations.
 Cultural Influences
 Power, Status, and Control
 Rhetoric
Denotative comes from the word denote which means to have something as a meaning
Subj. attachment or Perception and interpretation
for ex., if someone tells you that you walk like an elephant, you will probably be offensed and confront the
person. but in Myanmar, when a guy likes a girl, he tells her that she walks like an elephant to mean that she is
elegant and queenly.
this is an example of cultural influences under connotative meaning of words that are used in verbal
Power, status, and control can also be communicated verbally. This is done
 verbal intensifiers - reduce the strength of the utterance by increasing the
intensity of the emotion being conveyed
 verbal qualifiers – also reduce the impact of an utterance
 tag questions – weaken the assertion of a speaker by adding a question
 lengthening of requests – requests are more effective with lengthening
words such as please, may I/may you, can I/can you, or can you please.
These requests are also called compound requests.
Verbal INTENSIFIERS like quite, so, really or expressions as "That was amazing! “
Examples of verbal QUALIFIERS are perhaps, possibly, and I guess.
Regine is a great singer, isn't she? isn't she is the TAG QUESTION. But if you want to make the assertion more
powerful, you can say, Regine is a great singer!
COMPOUND REQUESTS….for ex., can you please open the door. Lengthening the request softents the request
and implies that the speaker is less assertive, less powerful, and of lower status.
 the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of
figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
 SOCRATES believes that the “true art” of rhetoric have 5 characteristics:
1. The subject must have been defined and logically analyzed until its
proper nature is understood.
2. The speaker must analyze his audience.
3. The speaker should adapt the organization of his speech to his listeners.
The speech should be simplified for simple audience. More quotations
or more rhetorical questions are used in delivering a speech in a more
complex speech contest.
4. The speaker helps the audience to recall what they already know.
5. The speaker should speak only of what he believes is true.
Figures of speech-simile,hyperbole,metaphor,personification

 In the Speech Accommodation Theory by Howard Giles, suggests that

people accommodate or adjust their style of speech in order to gain
approval, maintain social identity and make communication more effective.
Speakers use convergence to adapt another’s speech style and divergence to
maintain social distance between themselves and others.
 In the Speech Act Theory of John Searle, he said that in order to understand
what the speaker means, we must understand not only the speaker’s words
but also his intentions.
Divergence-tending to be different or develop in different directions
Nonverbal Communication
- is defined as the communication between people through messages sent without using
 Affective Dimension of Communication- Includes the expression of emotions such as
anger, love, fear, happiness, and disgust, attitudes or how much something is liked or
disliked and predispositions such as confidence, anxiousness, or depression. These
feelings are better expressed nonverbally.
Nonverbal communication is the communication between people using nonspoken words, written words and
Affective dimension is best for nonverbal communication because it highlights the expressions of emotions

Nonverbal behavior
-Provides clues to detecting attitude, traits, and deception
Functions of Nonverbal Behavior
1. Sending uncomfortable messages – initiating or preventing interaction is more difficult
to send verbally.
2. Forming impressions that guide communication – Nonverbal communication is useful in
forming first impressions.
3. Making relationships clear – nonverbal communication establishes and clarifies the
relationship aspect of communication.
4. Regulating interaction – as a regulator, nonverbal behavior operates in terms of
initiating interaction, clarifying relationships, directing and orderly conversation (turn-
taking), guiding emotional expression, and leaving and saying good-bye(leave-taking).
5. Influencing people – Nonverbal communication is very vital in the art of persuasion.
6. Reinforcing and modifying verbal messages – a basic function of nonverbal
communication is to affect the verbal message.
Nonverbal Codes or Types of Nonverbal Communication
1. Kinesics – the study of bodily movement.
2. Eye contact and facial expression – how much we look at the people with whom we are
communicating and on how we communicate our emotional states or reactions to
messages through our facial muscles.
3. Vocalics – this involves the meaning stimulated by the sound of the voice.
4. Physical appearance – our appearance is our message code.
5. Proxemics – this describes how people use space to communicate.
6. Tactilics and Haptics – this is communicating by touching or putting part of the body in
contact with something.
7. Chronemics – the study of the use of time in communication.