Friday, October 11, 2019

Language and Pragmatics Essay

Language is the common ground for everyone. It is the thing that links a society together because this is how they communicate and understand each other. It is common, therefore, that one culture can feel confused when dealing with other people from different cultures. This is due to the fact that even if they learn a certain language, they will still need to learn the culture of the people to be able to communicate properly. It is not enough that one learns the words. A person should be also knowledgeable of the ways certain words or phrases are used or what is proper or not to say during conversations for him or her to completely understand a particular culture. One of the things that I got interested in from the lecture was phatic communion, which is a â€Å"form of communication between people which is not intended to seek or convey information but has the social function of establishing or maintaining social contact. † This is very apparent in the American culture. People have the tendency to automatically ask how the other is doing and the other is expected to respond with just a simple answer. It is not meant to ask how a person is really feeling but it is just a polite way of acknowledging the person’s presence. I have experienced this form of communication since I started living in this country. It is hard to miss it because people use it everyday in the grocery store, at the mall, coffee shop, even at school. I can relate to the examples in the lecture notes because Spanish is my first language. I also had difficulty in learning the English language because of its complications like the phatic communion. At first, I thought that people were concerned about me and the things that are going on with my life. However, when I got used to the language, I came to realize that this was just some form of formality and that I am not expected to give a detailed response. Living in this country, I have also learned that it is not unusual for people to greet each other even if they are complete strangers. People say hello to each other when they pass them on the street. However, this is not being friendly for them. People have become accustomed to it and would feel uncomfortable if they did not acknowledge the other person. This is in contrast to other cultures where people would feel scared or uneasy if a stranger would say hello to them on the streets out of nowhere. They might think that the person has other intentions other than just to be polite. Personally, I think that people from different cultures talk fast because they are already used to the language and they have mastered it since the time they learned how to speak it. As such, fast-paced talking is not only applicable to the Americans but to everyone as well. Some cultures can only seem soft spoken because of their voices but they are still fast-paced if one listens carefully. Another interesting observation is the difference between men and women in terms of listening. As a woman, I can relate to the lecture notes where it is indicated that women tend to nod to show that they are listening to someone. I actually do this just to show appreciation to the speaker, especially when he or she is looking directly at me while speaking. It is a polite way of saying that I am listening although I may not be agreeing to what he or she is trying to say. This is different from what men do and I have noticed this in the way my husband reacts when someone is talking and he is in the audience. There is no indication that he is listening and will only be apparent when he nods his head in agreement with the speaker. I think that women’s reaction is better because if it were me speaking, I would like to know if my audience is listening or not even if they may not agree to what I have to say. It is encouraging to know that the audience is interested in my speech and that I am not being ignored. The last topic that I found interesting is the different ways on how to say no or refuse to someone. I agree with this because sometimes, people find it very difficult to say no in fear of offending the other person. As such, people find different ways to say no and this include offering an alternative, putting the blame on another, diverting the attention to another topic, or through postponement. Doing these things will make it easier to say no and will not make the other person feel bad about the situation. Personally, I do not have a hard time saying no to people, especially if I strongly feel that refusing is the right thing to do. However, it is still good to know how to say no indirectly because we have to realize that people react to things differently. One may be fine with accepting no for an answer while others may take this against you. I think that learning a language and the ways of a certain culture is essential in being able to communicate with the culture’s people effectively. This is the only for an outsider to become accepted and feel comfortable in using the language. It is also a way for a person to learn what is proper and what is unacceptable, which is important for some cultures because there are certain things that might offend them without the person even knowing. It can be said, therefore, that learning a second language is difficult, especially if the person learning it is not even living in the country or place where that language is being used. Exposure is needed for one to learn and acquire a culture’s language and customs. Without experiencing it first-hand, it is hard to practice the language and apply it to one’s everyday lives. It is also better to communicate with the people who use the language everyday so that the person can practice speaking it and using it much better. The person will be able to learn faster and easier if there is first-hand exposure.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.