Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category


The philosopher and pedagogist, John Dewey, once emphasized that for education to be constructive for the society: it must not alienate the student in its processes. That means it must be authentic and grounded on the real-life experiences of the students. Chomsky establishes that language is not limited to the verbal structures, there are other symbolic means to represent the world which has impact into the learning processes of the individuals. Learning is a complex cultural, social, psychological and biological process, and the dominant world language is not the only medium for learning.

Vygotsky defines learning as a permanent behavioral change in an individual and this takes place with the nurturing supervision of a mature adult to scaffold a learner from the current development to a more competent state. Freire argues that genuine education that is emancipatory is grounded in the cultural context – in the lived cultural experiences of individuals in a geopolotical system. Bandura establishes that learning takes place in social interactions – in our connection to the social world and everything in our environment. These philosophical and theoritical assumptions on learning establish the empirical bases to consider that education is adaptive to the social, cultural, psychological and biological nature of the learner, where the language that fits education is not reduced to a single dominant language.

Language is a vehicle of communication. Education which is all about teaching and learning is a communicative process. It is axiomatic that for teaching and learning to take place that language is used in the interaction between the pedagagouge and the learner. But learning is not simply about the interaction of the learner and the teacher. The learner must be engaged with other elements in the process, such as books, realia objects, environment, cultural artifacts, tools and technology. In these interactions, mastery of specific language is required for the learner to have a grasp of the learning concepts.

English is a language, and so are Filipino, French, German, Nihonggo, Mandarin, Latin, Arabic and the many others. The Filipino language which is a cultural artifact does not carry a value higher or lower than any other language, because culture is a rich and neutral matrix of values. Should teaching then be confined to the use of English languge when not every student is adept with it? Or should teaching be more flexible to adapt a language that is understood by most? But, how about the existing social expectations of the larger community about the language of the educated person?

This is a dilemma for a country which operates with a largely Western orientation about education. An effective curriculum should adress, foremost the learning needs, secondly the society’s needs and lastly serve the institutional dictum. When students raise the need for understanding, language must be adjusted to their level so that discursive interaction may take place. When the society and the industry demand for graduates with very high English language proficiency, the curriculum must provide the mechanisms and programs for that. What is the language of business? What degree of proficiency in that language of business is needed? The institution must adjust the curriculum to both the learner’s needs and the society’s needs.

Learning should be authentic, that it should adress societal needs. At least, within a framework of the universty as a manufacturing stage to produce qualified resources for capitalistic labor, higher education should match their graduate attributes to industrial needs to make their products more employable. In culturally-based frameworks of education, Paolo Freire argues that it should be emancipatory. Education must be liberating for the learners, moving the students from ignorance to knowing, from passivity to taking actions to better their causes.

 

A learner’s ineptitude or lack of proficiency in one language can be delibitating. That is true in cases when language is so foreign or alien to the learner. To learn better, the student needs to be more adept with the language. One who is not just good in English will be challenged as they are at risk of not understanding anything in a largely English based curriculum. That learner needs to proficiency in reading and speaking the required language to participate in the active process of academic discourse. But, is English the only medium of instruction? Is English the language of economic production? Is English the only language the industry speaks? Is English the language of liberty and progress? Is it the language of the Filipino’s daily life?

The issue of language in Philippine Education has long been debated upon. There are those who think it should be English. Others think it should be Filipino. Some others think it should be bilingual. There are various perspectives. Theoretically though, there is not one specific language for Education. For if this is so, the world’s education will have common language of instruction. English proficiency is not a language of social status, it is just another language among the many others. The best language of learning is one that changes the behavior of learners, which turns them to become vital contributors to the development of our society.


* A reflective discourse originally presented by the blogger to Dr. R. Guioguio for the requirement in a post-graduate course on Philippine Communication Environment, University of the Philippines-Diliman, 2010. Permission for reprinting is granted as long as proper citation is observed, according to the principle of creative commons’ sharing of online resources.

Climate change is a major environmental problem that represents social and economic threats to everyone in the globe. Risks have become higher as the potential danger of natural disasters looms to almost unmanageable extent – longer periods of rain, harsher storms, prolonged dry spells, extreme heat and cold temperatures, more frequent hot days and nights, flash floods, forest fires, rising sea level, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and the warming global temperature are among the many signs that “mother earth” is now ringing a sick call to all her children.

The peril resulting from climate change is no way particular to creed, wealth, faith, age, gender, race or color. It spares no one. The ecology of all things in the world suggests that every creature will experience the impact of climate change.

Climate change is a global concern, but it has impact which is specific to communities and sectoral groups. The problem is too broad to manage for a sector, yet there are enormous possibilities for a sector to contribute to its resolution; at least for their own adaptation, to mitigate climate change impact and to sustain community-base development. The indigenous are communities of people who contributed the least to the problem of climate change, but they are not spared from its impact. Economically and socially marginalized, the indigenous far greatly suffer from the impact of climate change and to international mitigation measures.

What is the potential impact of climate change to the indigenous people? What are  the existing and needed adaptation means to climate change specific to sustain survival and livelihood of the indigenous? How important is a communication framework in climate change impact mitigation for the indigenous people? These questions call for some reflective thinking.

Impact of Climate Change to the Indigenous People

Climate change has an impact in the culture, communities, resources, knowledge and the livelihood of people.  For the indigenous people contemporary climate change poses great challenges, unlike with that of the climate change that their predecessors have overcome from since prehistory. The alarming impact of climate change is now experienced by these vulnerable people at a global scale, yet scientific data warns of what is worst to come. Officially, the National Commission on Indigenous People of the Philippines (2003) reports that 110 ethnolinguistic groups are to be found in the country and they number to 8,067,100:

Subsistence of the indigenous people is much dependent on the biodiversity and their environment. These make them more vulnerable in light of the impact of climate change in their habitats and to their cultural identity relative to: being dislocated because of the disruption of subsistence; facing threats to their lives, health and properties; declining and losing biodiversity and the confronting environmental forces that damage their crops; having inadequate knowledge about issues on climate change; and being challenged by their limited economic means and the lack of skills for alternative livelihood.

Those five concerns confront the already marginalized IP groups and make them even more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The indigenous groups comprise a relatively small size of the Philippine population, like 10% or even lesser. The NCIPP 2003 data indicates a disparity in the IP population as compared to its 1998 estimation of the IP population which was around 12 to 15 million.

The issue of climate change has been around since the 1990s. How climate change contributed to this decline of IP population and how it impacts their lives have not been examined empirically. The issues of IP sector has long been a struggle for their rights to habitat and their cultural identity (Molintas, 2004).

 “Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity” (IPCC, 2007).

The indigenous people comprise the minority of the Philippine population. Perhaps, they are the most vulnerable of all people to the impact of climate change. They belong to a culture – which social and economic subsistence are inextricably and directly linked to the natural environment. Climate change has a direct impact to the biodiversity of their lands and habitats. The Filipino IPs live in the hinterlands, hilltops, mountain tops, by the sea and lake waters and in small islands.

These structures in the ecosystem are vulnerable to climate change. Harsh storms can cause  landslides, severe drought suck up the lake water, change in global temperature affects the biodiversity and even the marine life. Where they dwell are freshwater resources, so prone to vector-borne diseases. These impacts of climate change exacerbate the vulnerability of the indigenous people because they are the inhabitants of marginal ecosystems.

The indigenous people are direct descendants of nature and they have performed so well throughout history as stewards of the environment. Their communion with nature brought them resiliency and adaptive skills. Being residents of a marginal ecosystem, they do not have access to information and education that can equip them with adequate knowledge about the issues of climate change. Economically, they rely on their crops and livestock as for those groups which have advanced their agricultural skills. For those groups which still rely on hunting, the loss of biodiversity or its decline would have impact to their food security and livelihood.

The challenges of climate change are nothing old, that even science which claims to possess the knowledge of nature is baffled by the perplexing magnitude and potential impact of this environmental problem. It has become evident that climate change brought enormous concerns both to the contemporary postmodern world and to the indigenous people. The threats of economic development are becoming more evident in the changes in the world’s climate, leaving the IPs in more danger.

Climate Change Adaptation and Impact Mitigation

Like any group of people, the indigenous are trying to adapt to the impact of climate of change. The way the indigenous adapts to immediate environmental changes based on their culture, traditions and community decisions. To go on with their lives, adaptation is basic in this situation. Some IPs deal with the situation as a community, but others resort to push through with their individual choices by abandoning their culture.

Migration and relocation – There are direct links to connect the migration issues of several indigenous groups in the Philippines to social order and economic situations. Theoretically, in an environment where there is economic sufficiency and social order, people continue to thrive. Livelihood that relies on farming, fishing or hunting is affected by climate change which results to decline in crops, livestock and catches. Hence, it becomes an adaptation option for IPs to migrate or relocate to other areas.

Fajardo (2007) pointed to the loss of livelihood and mining development projects as some of the issues that push IPs to migrate or relocate, and described this diaspora to cause further impact on IPs’ affect. The movement of one community to other locations is a sign of migration and relocation. After the Pinatubo eruption, the Aetas of Zambales have decided to settle in other communities.  However, IP members sometime resort to individual disenfranchisement or abandonment of their community.

Individualism and abandonment – Fajardo (2007) reported on the individual members of IPs forced by poverty to abandon their natural habitation, either as a family or as an individual as they relocate to other places in or outside the country. Since they settle in isolated marginal ecosystems, those community members who are not able to sustain their basic needs in their environment are left to take the option of moving out and integrating to urban areas.

Sporadically, some members of the indigenous community roam the streets of urban cities as beggars and mendicants. Whether their presence in these places is syndicated or not, it can still be understood, that the decision for them to abandon their community for some amount of money was still individual decision. Government efforts in the guise of development had displaced the indigenous from their own land (Molintas, 2004). Given this condition, some indigenous people have no other option but to abandon their culture in exchange for some amount, while others relocate and persist.

Resourcefulness to find alternative livelihood – The indigenous people, dwelling in the rainforest, are more often hunters and gatherers. However, the impact of climate change to the biodiversity of the forest would have an effect on their food subsistence. Most of these hunting and gathering forest people have gradually adapted to an agricultural economy and are becoming semi-sedintary (Macchi, 2008).

Resourcefulness is a must to find an alternative livelihood for their survival and subsistence. Change in climatic conditions allowed for some indigenous to adapt new or alternative techniques (Salick & Byg, 2007). With limited resources, i.e. food catch, crops and hunts, some indigenous resort to making crafts or gathering items from their natural environment to be sold in nearest market.

Traditional wisdom – The traditional knowledge of the indigenous people about the diversity of species, their habitats, behaviors, and their traditional ways of managing and protecting natural resources allow them to have a sustainable relationship with the environment upon which we all ultimately depend for our welfare and survival (Carino, n.d). Their exceptional culture demonstrates the harmonious relationship of the Ivatan people with their environment as a means of surviving and coping with these various ecological stresses (Uy & Shaw, 2000).

Indigenous knowledge about climate change is not parallel to what science has inquired about. There are cases that the indigenous people attribute the changes in climate to something else, like the “wind,” or to modernity and development, or a supernatural force because the land has been violated. This reflects the need for correcting misconceptions about climate change.

Resiliency and concession – in times of crises some IPs obtain food and other necessities from external sources (Salick & Byg, 2007). In this way, the IPs demonstrate resiliency by modes exchange with non-IPs. They do this by trading their surplus products, handicrafts, forest products, wage labor and other goods.   “Indigenous peoples of the Philippines have preserved many of their own customary practices, traditions and livelihood and resource systems, showing great resilience against centuries of foreign domination and their exposures to lowland and market influences” (Rebuelta-Teh, 2004, p.87).

The Ivatans of the Batanes province are an illustration of indigenous resiliency, over harsh weather conditions, by applying traditional knowledge in their architectural landscape and in the sensitivity to weather patterns. The adaptation of the indigenous people does not mean to be all best practices that can help in mitigating the impact of climate change.

The rate of growth in net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a critical issue in the Philippines, and therefore managing the country’s natural resources wisely to protect their supply and quality and to maintain their diversity is critical for sustained economic growth (USAID, 2008). Since, they are marginalized economically and live in a marginal ecosystem, pressed with land rights issues; they are thinly focused on fulfilling their role as stewards of the environment. Somehow, their mindset is too politicized to pay attention to the issue of climate change, while they crumble to find food.

Climate Change Communication

“While Climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole, the report indicates that it is the poor – a constituency with no responsibility for the ecological debt that the world is running up – who face the most immediate and most severe human costs in climate change” Malayang (2008).

In his view, Manalang  may not represent the academe nor the university where he is the president. This opinion is highly political. Yet it is true, it does not encourage communitarian effort to mitigate the impact of climate change. Instead, such views prevent public participation, reducing the issue of climate change as a political struggle and a diplomatic feat.

This is the very same view that leaders or representatives of IP organizations declare, voicing out that the IPs have not left footprints that adversely affected climate change, yet they suffer from international pressures to reforest their lands with trees not even endemic to their environment. They say that the development f renewable energy resources and planting crops that can be used for making bio-diesel displace them from their land. Such views are critical to a communitarian effort on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Science and the public do not speak the same language about climate change. This knowledge or information gap is a result of the differences between the ways scientist and non-scientist inquire and communicate about environmental problems. Chalecki believes that “If impact assessments were more closely related to issues of public interest, the links between individual behavior and global changes in the environment might become more apparent, and public frustration over environmental issues might be transformed into environmentally responsible actions(2000, A2-15). In this concern, communication has a role to bridge the gap in knowledge, to translate scientific information into useful knowledge, and to reach the public who will act on the problem.

Human-induced climate change is a product of the cumulative impacts of billions of people going about their daily lives; and the challenges that go by this point to the scale of the issue requiring unprecedented cooperation, while there may be a sense of helplessness for the individuals faced with other important and competing issues (Andrey & Mortsch, 2000). Communicating the climate change issue requires the imparting of information to fulfill three expectations: 1) to raise awareness; 2) to confer understanding; and 3) to motivate action (CCCC, 2000). Communication is essential to facilitate the delivery of climate change communication, reinforce adaptation skills and address mitigation issues.

Climate change communication must be sector-specific, yet still focusing on three key concepts – impact, adaptation and mitigation. It is audience-centered, so it must be contextualized within cultural boundaries of a community or sector. It is not ambitious and it cannot stop global warming. It is neither a panacea to prevailing environmental problems. It has a pivotal role to turn things around particularly in the aspect of correcting wrong perceptions, changing attitudes, creating public awareness, processing knowledge, transforming behavior, developing skills, integrating technology and instituting new practices. It is a vital social action to coordinate individuals and group into cooperative eco-sensitive actions.

Communication Framework to Address the Challenges of Climate Change and Development

Figure 1  illustrates a framework for communicating climate change to the indigenous. It considers a cultural framework in organizing an active network of community members by using the available indigenous cost-efficient resources, integrating knowledge-management strategies, skills development and technology integration. The framework emphasizes social justice in helping IPs adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change while integrating it with a community and sectoral development perspectives.

 

References

Andrey, J., & Mortsch, L. (2000). Communicating About Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities, WP 1-11. In Climate Change Communication Conference. Proceedings of an international conference. June 22-24, 2000. Ontario, Canada.

Chalecky, E. (2000).  Same Planet, Different Worlds: The Climate Change Information Gap. A2 15-22. In Climate Change Communication
Conference. Proceedings of an international conference. June 22-24, 2000. Ontario, Canada.

Climate Change Communication Conference (2000). Message from the organizing committee. In Climate Change Communication Conference. Proceedings of an international conference. June 22-24, 2000. Ontario, Canada.

Fajardo, R. (July 25, 2007) Still strangers in their own land. Posted in I-report Alien Nation. Retrieved on February 28, 2010 from
http://pcij.org/stories/still-strangers-in-their-own-land/

Macchi, M. (2008). Indigenous and traditional peoples and climate change. Issues paper. IUCN.

Malayang, B.S. III. (2008) Quoted in Mitigation and Adaptation recommended to address effects of climate change on human development. Retrieved on March 4, 2010 from http://www.undp.org.ph/?link=news&news_id=128&fa=

Molintas, J.M. (2004). The Philippine indigenous peoples’ struggle for land and life: Challenging legal texts. Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law 21(1), 269-306.

National Commission on Indigenous People (2003). IP group profiles. Retrieved on March 1, 2010 from http://www.ncip.gov.ph/ethno.php

Rebuelta-Teh, A. (2004). Philippines: Governance and local empowerment in the environment and natural resources sector. Background papers, pp. 85- 92.

Salick, J. & Byg, A. (2007). Indigenous peoples and climate change. Oxford: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

USAID-Philippines (May, 2008). Global climate change.

Uy, R. & Shaw, R. (2000). Shaped by the winds and typhoon: The indigenous knowledge of the Ivatans, in Batanes Island,
Philippines.
In Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: Good practices and lessons learned from experiences in Asia-Pacific Region,  pp.59-62. UN-International Strategy Disaster Reduction.


Spelling errors, problems in choice of words, ineffective styles, wrong use of punctuations, poor coordination of ideas, subject-agreement problems, wrong use of verb tenses… the list of evident problematic language use is a taxonomy of both human inadequacy in the use of langauge and the issues of language curriculum perspectives. There are three dominant concepts in English language instruction that are applied in the teaching of English as Second Language, English as Foreign Language or English to Speakers of Other Languages: prescriptive, restrictive and generative paradigms.

It has been a dominant perspective to teach English with emphasis on the grammatical aspect of the language. This traditional approach has had a rich history in the Western educational paradigm. That students were instructed grammar in order to master the language. The rigid rules of language, its syntax, semantics, diction, and other aspects were like transferred to students through remote memorization and practice into writing. Here, students should be able to demonstrate mastery of the rules evident in their use of the language in speech and writing, and measured through their recall of the rules. The prescriptive paradigm of language teaching and learning emphasizes on the consistency of adherence to the rules in the use of language. Thus, the prescriptive paradigm addresses the need for learning the rules of language and applying them in various communication situations.

The other paradigm emphasises a communicative approach to language teaching and learning. This implies that language is a tool for communication, and communication seeks understanding. When there is understanding between communicating agents, language does not matter much anymore. Because language is generative, changes take place in various contexts. Hence, with a generative paradigm on language teaching, learning is contextualized by exposing students into communicative actions, whole language approaches so students will learn, value and use of language more effectively to achieve understanding.

Both the generative and prescriptive paradigms on language teaching can work interdependently. While it is true that language is generative, it is not static or fixed, in the time continuum and within spatial bounds, language use will be vary. But, even communication theories suggest that there are rules in the discourse processes and there are principles in it. One tension point is using a specific ground or criteria for comparison in use of language. There are englishes and not just English in the world.

Between British and Americans who are native speakers of the language are great differences. Compare these native white speakers to other English-speaking countries in Canada and Australia, differences are still noticeable. Moreso, with those of the African English speaking countries. World Englishes vary and change, and so generative. Thus, there is no one drop rule or prescription of language teaching. Critically, keeping an eye to evaluate one country’s use of English to either of British or that of the American’s is hegemonic.

When students could identify the parts of speech, identify the errors, identify the pattern of the sentence, identify the kinds of sentences and identify whatever should be memorized about language, that is teaching which is paralleled to students’ learning of the language. Paper and pencil tests answerable through multiple choices and fill in the blanks should measure language learning. This perspective can be construed as a restrictive paradigm. It results from the idolatrous tendency of language scholars to mimic language that is not native to other speakers of the language. Instead, of understanding a geopolotical system’s use of English and improve it from there, the generative value of language is degenerated to be a form of deficiency.

Such identification of inequity stereotypes non-native English speakers, and so those who find the mimicking convention way too difficult would just give up on increasing their level of proficiency. While others who show just a little mastery, though still imperfect tend to push the less fluent or struggling learner to the side, and so the latter ignores the value of learning the lingua franca, because they feel more confident to be understand when they don’t use the language at all.

Language is generative, there are historical and anthropological evidences to that. Shakespearan or Victorian English are obsolete in the context of modern day conversation, except for extracting meaning from classical literary texts. There are languages that have been extinguished from the tounges of the people. There are new words being coined and used, and they don’t even follow the orthodoxies of language convention. Should we then stick to the rules of language style from centuries past? How does such intention restrict the process of generating understanding on the generative development of human language?

Prescriptive approach to language teaching, still applies, but such conventions are now being questioned. Whose conventions are these anyway? Whose people are using this language convention? Whose culture and time are they representing? The distance of space and time where those conventions were collected as corpus of language use may not be so proximal after all to the present generation of learners. The gorge to be bridged will really be too wide and greatly impossible to help learners acquire a “perfectly modelled” proficiency as prescribed.

While language is generative, the epistemology of language must also be generative. Prescriptions of language usage need reexamination. But, such effort of examination must be grounded and adapted in contemporary context. The world now with its many englishes dwells in communication network, and the basic rule of this networked world is “understanding”. With this frame of thinking, who is not understanding? Is it the one learned of prescribed conventions or the one learned through the experiences of the generative language?

To illustrate this, one student who is very skillful in the use of computers could submit an original written work that is almost flawless of errors. But, the same student when writing with his hand, without the computer could express the same thoughts as he understood them and what was understood by the reader, enormously gross of spelling errors, punctuation errors and sentence structure errors. While tools are there, they must be used to where they can work best for a learner. The prescribed language conventions are also tools, but they also need upgrading and retuning.

In the illustration, the student’s problem is caused by several factors. The student has dyslexia. The student has spent most of his development years reading texts through the computer screen. The paper and the pen are strange and fragile tools for his fingers so agile clicking on the keyboard. Typing for this student is more of a breeze while his penmanship is hardly legible in its ‘crookedness’. The same student was taught to maximize technology with the many other assignments he had before, yet he is placed in foreignly inconvenient situation of working on paper and pencils without the tool he knows best.

The tool that the student knows has all the function keys to check his spelling errors, to look up the meaning of a word, to find a synonym or antonym for a word, to tell him of the sentence errors and options to correct them. Most of these are what teachers learned from the conventions of prescriptive language approaches have never encountered in their lives. Yet, the same teachers love to read the prints. The students create the prints and they can do that exceedingly well with the tools they grew up with. But, teachers will insist, they have to know and practice language withouth technology.

Again, the conventions of language is but just human technology. The time is here, where the reality of a paperless world is in the picture. But, many particularly those in the field of teaching are afraid to withdraw from. The directions for 21st century education must hold true in teaching the students new skills sets. They grew up with the technology, they know how to use it, and they are eager to discover more of it because it works productively for them. However, the tools that are available are restrictively used in language teaching. Language use is different from language in use, teaching language that used to be may not necessarily adapt to the language in use today.


Hermes Birkin, Louise Vitton, Lenovo, Mac Ipad, Pontiac, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Mercedes Benz, Lacoste are just some of the products with obvious subliminal advertising intent in having exposure in the Transformers 3 movie.  To some movie goers and Transformers the other product brands may not be well so obvious more than the popular car brands and models that transform into Autobots.

Movie and television show inserts are a recent marketing strategy. From a time, movie and television show producers are more concerned of the quality of film or shows they create. Although, they seek advertisement to help finance the production, they are also careful in hiding or smudging brands or logos of commercial products that may incidently be needed in the production design as props.

But the airtime, attention span, and interest of the audience for mediated advertisement must be diminishing as a resource, if not getting more valuable. Airtime is expensive, advertisments during the intermission or prior to the beginning of a movie don’t bring direct income to the film production, it is the movie house that benefits from this. The audience particularly young people have lesser attention span, and they would rather sleep during the intermission and just open their eyes when the movie is on. Movie goers go to the cinema to watch a film, not the advertisements, so they would instead go inside the movie house just in time for the movie.

The movie audience are prime target of advertisement. If they have been grown clever or have lesser attention span, advertisers got to be more agressive in their strategic decision to insert advertisements by flashing their brand logos and product names within the scenes of the movie. Cast Away is another vivid example of this strategy. That movie was like a Federal Express and Wilson film. Probably, the said strategy have signficant influence in the market consumption of those products and services. Hence, an increase in sale through increase of brand awareness.

The novel turned movie, The Devil Wears Prada, is another obvious illustration of this kind of advertising strategy, featuring of course Prada brand, other brands and even a coffee brand. One may argue, its nothing but incidental. Yet, the positioning of those brands in some frames or a scenes are obvious means of manipulating the audience subliminally through the power of visuals. A critical eye should be able to notice the panning of the camera and the transitions that puts those brands in focus.

Like in Transformers 3, the main actor is but wearing a simple white shirt, and prominent on that shirt is the Lacoste logo.  The camera is tilted up, the chest of the main actor is in the center of the frame, and slowly zooms in to the shirt’s logo. Lenovo had several exposures, that monitor in the boardroom’s table contrasts that of the table. The white backside of the monitor is so visible with the logo, and most of the time when this is shown, the camera is also tilted up. The same with the exposure of the Mac product, the camera is also tilted up.

With those camera techniques, the eyes of the audience are pushed to focus on the product, rather than the facial expression or actions of the actors. It utilizes blocking to keep the audience eyes glued on a certain object while their ears listen to the dialogue. More obvious of this subliminal advetising strategy, is when the product brand becomes part of the script. In Transformers 3, of the intelligence division, a woman is pictured to be so powerful, dominant, strong and confident. She has everything she “needs”, and all with her assistant – bags.

In the movie, when the chief needed something from her bag, the assistant asked which one. Then the assistant showed LV bag, and two other bags. The chief said “the Hermes Berkin”. One could guess which is the sponsor of the movie, or which brought more money for the said subliminal exposure. Competitors do not buy the idea of having their products placed before another, rarely this happens or not at all. With visual and audible exposures, Hermis must have pegged in alot of money and chose to place it with LV, which in either way creates an image that it is unlike LV to be preferred and trusted more by a powerful woman.

Ferrari, Mercedez Benz, Chevrolet and Pontiac are various car brands. They all appearead in the Transformers 3 movie. Only two were represented best, but one brand stood out from the rest. Chevrolet, with a lot of visual exposure and several memorable audible exposures. Bumbly bee, the young man’s friend is there throughout the movie. Pontiac was just but an old neon light. Mercedez Benz was attacked as unfriendly and hostile to women, mean, evil and expensive, with “Soundwave” becoming a snare and revealed as a Decepticon, costing 200,000 US$ which is said to be unworthy in relationships.

There must have been advertisement inserts in the earlier Transformer’s movie, specific to Chevrolet. But, this year’s sequel had the most obvious ones. Apparently, such ads distracted me from really focusing on the movie. On this note, it has worked strategically offensive to my interest of appreciating a movie, because it made me wonder on how much these brands pegged in on the production of the film. Sorry for me, that I get to be so critical of this manipulative act to exploit on the visual and aural perceptiveness of the audience, that in the end I was not so satisfied as I was in the earlier movies.


What gets in the mouth is good, it is what gets out of it that can be evil.

Politics is a sphere that extends in the social world and which affects the psyche of an individual or groups. While politics is exercised in terms of power relations among individuals or groups, language plays in that communication of power and in the position of individuals in a social relationship.

The nominative function of language gives us an awareness of an existence, identity or attribute of beings in our social world. The performative function of language allows us to share meanings to the language or words that we use to refer to something, but these meanings that we intend to share are not exactly received and constructed by others as we expected them to be.

We understand things through language. We associate meanings to language through language. We add knowledge to the existing known things through language. We define who we are and who others are to us through language. In a system of deferral we create the world we live in and the realities in our lives through language. We are constructed with that system of the very language we use to identify ourselves.

The man-woman question represents the apostasy of humanity to mutually live in harmony. More so is the pejorative use of language to castrate individuals of their right to be identified as they wanted to be. These then puts language use in a political challenge, so we have terms that are politically correct and incorrect.

Language is socially agreed upon and understood by the individuals or groups sharing its use. The words and the meanings that go with every word become part of a culture’s lexicon and so it represents then for others an understanding of the culture of people using that language. As language is finite at a certain time, by deferral one is led to understand the deeper structures of a culture’s mind, wthin its limitations.

But language is generative, there are some terms that people find pejorative to be acceptable later on.  As it is generative, it can also be exclusive or inclusive. To a group of people, a term may be derogatory and so politically incorrect. We fail to understand people and so we subject them to remain powerless when we use pejorative terms that inflicts on thier identity.

For black people, they would not prefer to be called by people of other colors as negroes. The terms carries with it a historical stigma of the slavery and abuse of their rights as human beings.  They may be calling each other nigger or niggah, but that is performing an exclusive function of language that works for them to identify with each other.

Faggot is derogatory for many gays. Homo is not a casual term as well that they would accept. But then it depends on how it is said and said by whom. Between gays they may be using these in casual conversations, but of course they would not expect or prefer others to be yanking that word to their face, if it is coming from a chauvinist pig. Watch this video on how language is socially manipulated to affect power relations and soical interactions between people http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s13e12-the-f-word

In the Filipino language, bading is a more obvious acceptable and preferred term rather than bakla. Binabae which others refer to as iffeminate, suggest a weakness and incompleteness. Other terms that generate and used inclusively are vaklush, badingerzhi, and badaf or badafchina to refer to the same bakla. Girlalu and girlash  are terms interchangeably used to refer to girls and also Filipino gays. Pamin or paminta are terms interchanged with silahis or silahista to refer to discreet gays and self-proclaimed ‘bisexuals’.

The same case of identifying through language is how deaf poeple would like to be called Deaf with a capital D. As they associate with others they approve more of those who prefer to identify them as Deaf. They believe that having that hearing impairment does not make them any one lesser than others, in fact they do more with such inability to hear. Anyone would like to be identiified as a person and not through any disability.

We used to call people with neurological disorders or psychotic illnesses, psycho or pscyhopath, sometimes crazy or weird. The last two are lighter than be branded as pscyho. What is socially acceptable and politically correct is to refer to them as people or person with such illness (person with psychosis and not psychotic, or person with neurosis and not neurotic). A person is always different from his illness.

In the 1990s, Filipinos where outraged by Oxford’s inclusion of the word Filipina to refer to housemaids who migrated from the Philippines. With this attempt was the inclusion of the term imeldific to refer to grandeous and pompous lifestyle. Imelda Marcos approved of the latter as it signfies to her a prestige, but for the Filipinos the reference of the Filipina as a housemaid is a malicious imputation.

Societies demand propriety in using language. It is not to be abused or used wrongly to malign people, put them in bad light bywrongly identifying them with their illnesses, assumed inability, presumed difference from the norm and many other biases that could stereotype anyone. For all we know, we are all different, and the normal thing that we believe is but our construction of a reality that we created through language.

Language use is different from one culture to another. It is always considerable to adapt one’s use of language to the audience or others who are listening or reading one’s use of language. It is ethical to be mindful in using the language and preferring politically correct terms. In this way the speaker or the writer can win others approval.

The use of politically correct terms are not reserved for the political, but is an expected social behavior. People who understand the subtleties, complexities and implication of language use can expect to be always in social accord with anyone or any group. Simply because it is in that proper use of language that one builds social relationships. The latter may not demand to fill the other’s ears with flowery words, because beyond euphemism, consideration and courtesy will be enough.


Various elements work together to achieve a desired outcome as communication takes place. The basic components or parts of the communication system are: the communicators (sender and receiver), message channel, feedback, noise, situation, and the interdependence of all the elements in the process.  By that they are interrelated and work systematically.

There have been many different attempts to describe the communication process schematically. All these attempts may aid us in understanding how communication works but we should limit ourselves to these frameworks considering that communication is a dynamic process.

 

 

SOURCE

The source of the communication transaction is the originator of the message. Also known as the sender of information, the source initiates the communication process. In speech communication, we can identify the source to be the speaker, the one delivering the message. In daily life situations we are all sources of information as we relate to others and speak our ideas to them. We are both a source of message, consciously and unconsciously.

MESSAGE

In the simplest sense, a message may be thought of as an idea, concept, emotion, desire, or feeling that a person desires to share with another human being. A message may be in verbal or non-verbal codes. The purpose of a message is to evoke meaning in another person. Some messages are intentional some are not.

CHANNEL

A channel is the means by which a message moves from a person to another. The channel is the medium or vehicle by which we are able to transmit the message to the recipient. The means we use to communicate is the channel. The country’s president to deliver his message to his fellowmen may speak face to face with an audience, via the broadcast media or via print. Language is the basic medium of communication available to man.

RECEIVER

The receiver gets the message channeled by the source of information. In a one way communication process, he is in the other end. But in a dynamic communication process the receiver may start to share his ideas and hence become also a source of information for the originator of the message.  Listeners and audience are receivers of information. In a classroom situation, the students spend a lot of time as receivers of information.

EFFECT

Feedback is that integral part of the human communication process that allows the speaker to monitor the process and to evaluate the success of an attempt to get the desired response from the receiver. Also called “return signals,” it has a regulatory effect upon the speaker since the speaker must adjust to the feedback responses in order to be successful. In a public communication situation, the response of acceptance of the audience with their applause may be considered a feedback.

NOISE

Noise may occur anywhere along the communication line, and it may be physical, physiological, or psychological in nature. Noise is any interference in the communication process. Annoying vocal habits of the speaker may interfere in the transmission of his verbal signals. Noise as a barrier may originate from the source or the receiver, from the channel used in sending the message, or outside of the source and receiver’s control. The poor listening of the audience and their unnecessary actions may also interfere in the communication process.

CONTEXT

Communication does not take place in a vacuum. Between communicators, the process takes place in a particular communication situation where the identifiable elements of the process work in a dynamic interrelation. This situation is referred to as the context – the when and where of a communication event.  Communication contexts vary depending on the need, purpose, number of communicators and the ways exchange is taking place. Communication can be intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, cultural, public or mediated.

Knowing the elements of communication leads to a more meaningful understanding of the processes that make it work. We communicate and we know it is important for us. To communicate effectively, we need to have an understanding of how these elements work together in a process.

If we sit and look around at the interactions going on, we can definitely identify these elements to be present and at work. How we communicate have probably changed through time, but the same elements are present in whatever ways we communicate. We are communicators and we use other tools to meet some needs that we have, communication is in itself a tool to meet those needs.


Defining Communication

Hey! What's this heavy thing we have to take?

 

The word communication is derived from the Latin terms cum munis [to make common] and communicare [to share]. Hence, communication is defined as the exchange of information, thoughts, ideas, feeling and the like.  Because of its complexity, scholars and experts cast various definitions of communication. Griffin (2006) says that there are around more than 120 definitions as applied in operationalizing the concept of communication.

Communication is any process in which people share information, ideas, and feelings to construct meaning, establish relations and build understanding.  It is a meaningful exchange that  involves not only the spoken and written word, but also body language, personal mannerisms and style, the physical environment – anything that adds meaning to a message (Hybels & Weaver, 1998). This process takes place through the exchange of verbal and nonverbal messages (Brooks & Heath, 1993).

Communication is nature to humans. We communicate because it is nature to our ability as feeling, thinking and socializing creatures.  In our daily lives we always engage in various forms of communication. Our very existence and our relationships depend heavily on how we are able to communicate what we feel and think, yet we often overlook the importance of understanding communication because it is too common to us.

Looking at Communication as a Process

Communication takes place, everywhere at anytime. It changes in various situations and affects change among participants as the process takes place.  Process implies dynamics and change. It implies parts interacting and influencing each other so as to function as a whole. Brooks and Heath posit  that when we accept the concept of process, we view communication events and relationships as dynamic, systematic, transactional, adaptive, and continuous:

  • Communication is dynamic – it is not static. It is not fixed but always changing. As it deals with change of behavior  it changes constantly.
  • Communication is systematic – a simple speech communication occurs within a larger system. It is a system itself composed of interrelated and interdependent elements working together to achieve a desired outcome.
  •  Communication is transactional –  the essence of the term transaction is relationship. Included in the transactional characteristic of communication is the fact that each communication event is unique combination of people, messages, and situation that operate to achieve some definite purpose.
  • Communication is adaptive – communication takes place with an intention to achieve some outcome. In this process it must adapt to change. Thus, communication must pay attention to the other person, to the topic, to the physical surroundings, to motives and needs, and to other elements that we will study in this text. The ability to adjust and adapt to changing situation is a characteristic of effective communication.
  • Communication is continuous – it has no beginning and no end. We can consider communication as a product of a previous communication event that proceeds to another communication situation.

The study of oral communication considers the process as essential to facilitate understanding between the speaker and the audience. Thus, communication is viewed as the process of understanding and sharing meaning consists of activities of exchange and sets of behavior that applies in the perception, interpretation, and comprehension of meaning of the verabl and non-verbal behavior of individuals (Pearson & Nelson, 2000). Therefore, oral communication is understood as that dynamic and systematic process of sharing meaning and understanding meaning through verbal and non-verbal exchange between individuals in interaction within a given context.

 

References:

Brooks, W.D. & Heath, R.W. (1993). Speech communication. Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark.

Griffin, E. (2006). A first look at communication theory, 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higer Education.

Hybels, S. & Weaver, R. (1998). Communicating effectively: A definition of Commuinication. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pearson, J.C. & Nelson, P.E. (2000). An introduction to human communication, understanding and sharing, 8th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill Higher Education.