Miscommunication: Phonology and Message

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Inhalt

1. Introduction1
2. Phonetics and phonology – the transmission of a message2 2.1. A communication model2
2.2. Phonological elements of communication3
2.3. Prosodic elements of communication4
3. Miscommunication – Problems in the auditory channel6
3.1. Hearing and Listening6
3.2. Channel- based and interactional- related miscommunication8 3.3. Sender and receiver related miscommunication8
3.3.1 Prosodic problems9
3.3.2 Phonological problems10
4. Analysis of miscommunication11
4.1. A phonological problem11
4.2. Hearing and Listening12
4.3. Prosody and homophones14
5. Conclusion15
6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Sometimes it is not easy to transmit the intended meaning to a person during a communication process. Miscommunication is a phenomenon that people experience almost every day. It is even used for marketing or present in comedy shows. Miscommunication can arise through various incidences, for example in an intercultural communication, where people have different conventions, or when a word is ambiguous and the context unclear. Sometimes people also do not listen because they think the aspect is not relevant to them. One of the most frequent types of miscommunication are those based on slips of the tongue or slips of the ear. When people do not understand words, sentences or whole passages, the brain tries to fill the gap with known structures. Consequently, misunderstandings arise. In the following we want to concentrate on miscommunication that emerges through the transmission of the message in the auditory channel. There are various aspects that can lead to miscommunication through mistakes in the transmission of a message. These aspects, like the difference of hearing and listening, the exchange of letters or problems with the intonation etc., are going to be dealt with in this paper. First of all we are going to present how a message is transmitted in communication and which phonological aspects play a role. Then miscommunication is going to be treated. We want to show how miscommunication can arise and afterwards analyse some misunderstandings and show how they could have come up.

2. Phonetics and phonology – the transmission of a message

Communication always takes place between two or more people who are trying to get a message across. During this communication process, different aspects are important. As we talk about oral communication, which is about the transmission of sounds, phonetics and phonology play a role. They are a main aspect in the transmission of a message. Phonology means ”die Entstehung, Übertragung und Wahrnehmung, also die materielle Seite der Sprachlaute“ (Grasegger 2004: 7) whereas phonetics “untersucht die Funktion und die Eigenschaft von Sprachlauten als Elemente eines Sprachsystems, also die funktionelle Seite” (Grasegger 2004: 7). In the following we want to concentrate on the transmission of the sounds or the message. We want to have a look at the phonological aspects and prosodic aspects that play a role in the transmission process. But first of all, we are going to present Shannon and Weavers communication model.

2.1. A communication model

The process of communication can be presented as a model. One, the prototypical model, was developed by Shannon and Weaver in 1949. They reduce communication simply to the process of transmitting information (Chandler o. A.: 1). This model consists of five elements, an information source producing a message, a transmitter encoding the message into signals, a channel, a receiver decoding the message and a destination where the message arrives (Chandler o. A.: 2). Thus, a sender and a receiver always exist in a communication process. The sender is the information source who intends to transmit the message by his mouth (transmitter) through a channel. Here the message is transmitted through sound waves and maybe also body language. The ear receives the sound waves (receiver) and the...
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