Archive for the ‘Speech Communication’ Category

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

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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.



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.