Unit 1: Introduction to communication
Communication can be defined as the sharing of meanings.
In fact, the word "communication" is derived from the Latin verb "communicare", which means: "be in connection with". "Communication" also belongs to the same family of words as "community".
In communication, there is a sharing of meanings among persons or other entities. Those meanings may be transmitted through: a linguistic form (through a structured language)
A symbolic form (e.g. the pictogram means ‘phone number’ irrespective of the language we are using).
Onomatopoeic words - they imitate the sound designated as in ‘the cuckoo’, the “cock-a doodle-do”).
1 Models of communication
Linear or Bull's Eye Model
It describes communication as a one-way flow between two actors (a sender and a receiver).
Circular Flow or Ping-pong Model
The circular flow or ping-pong model of communication describes a situation where there are series of interactions between senders and receivers. As the ping-pong metaphor suggests, the actors take turns to send messages to each other.
Harold Lasswell's Model
This simple easy-to-retain formula is also known as the 5W's. Each of those W's indicates an important aspect of every communication occurrence: Who says? - the sender
What? - the message /content / topics
To Whom? - the receiver
Through What channel? - medium /means /languages
With What effects? - modification /transformation of opinions, attitudes, behaviour, whether intended or not (effect on receiver) You may as well add a sixth W:
Why? - functions / purposes (intentions of sender)
Message, Channel and Code
The message is the actual physical product that the source encodes. In oral communication, our speech is the message. In written communication, the words and sentences that are put on paper are the message.
The channel refers to the physical way the message travels to the receiver. For example, sound waves carry words that are spoken and light waves carry visual messages such as written text, illustrations, and pictures. Some messages use only one channel of communication (e.g. written text).
The code refers to the systems of signs (available language or symbolic forms and associated rules governing their use) that are used to transmit the message. In language, the vocabulary level and the sentence structures chosen make up the code.
2 Information theory
Sources of Noise and Interference
Categories of noises:
Mechanical noise - Mechanical noise usually occurs when a physical device is used either to encode or decode the message or both. In this case, there is a problem with the physical medium itself. For instance, in a telephone conversation, the apparatus or the physical lines of communication may be faulty. As a result, the sound waves being transmitted over the telephone line may be unclear so that the message is distorted. Semantic noise - Semantic noise occurs when different people have different meanings for the same words and phrases. Misunderstandings thus arise because of multiple meanings assigned to the same words and phrases. Environmental noise - Sources of noise may be completely external to the communication process. For example, in a public place like a restaurant, the other people surrounding you and your counterpart may be so noisy that you cannot even hear each other. Internal noise - Internal noise occurs inside the mind of the receiver. The latter may not properly receive, decode and store the data sent because of a number of internal barriers such as selective attention, selective distortion and selective recall.
Selective attention refers to the fact that the receiver cannot pay attention to all the stimuli or the receiver focuses on something other than the communication at hand. You have certainly experienced this situation in class during a lecture...
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