Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hear No Evil...

    The use of language is key in society today, without language we would not be able to communicate as well as we do. Speech is a key to the way our society functions, without it we would not be as advanced. In this experiment, I explored language in two parts, each with a different limitation.
    In the first part, I engaged in conversation for 15 minutes where I was not allowed to use any version of a symbolic language. I found this experiment difficult because not being able to speak, write, or is ASL make you have to think of other ways to communicate. When I performed this experiment I could not figure out how to actually relay what I wanted to say without using speech. They were never really sure what I was saying. I found the best way to relay something was to just act it out. They thought it was funny to mess with me, but they thought it was cool and learned the importance of symbolic language. They did change the way they communicated with me by asking a lot of questions to make sure they understood what I was doing. It was very hard to do these things. I think the speaking culture has advantage in communicating complex ideas because they can better describe things through a vocabulary. The speaking culture would probably become very annoyed with non-symbolic language culture because of the barrier between communication. Making the environment around them very hostile because they do not understand one another. The spanish speaking culture has a hard time in America with communicating with others, native of that community. When there is a language barrier, it is very hard to figure out the problem. So it cam turn to violence because they do not understand each other. We have lots of signs that are in both languages to stop things like this from happening. Also, there are translators to break this barrier between people. Symbolic Language is a huge part of communication in todays' society.
    In the second part of the experiment, I engaged in conversation for 15 minutes where I could not use non-verbal communication, such as, moving hands, raising eyebrows, smiling,etc.. I was not able to last the full 15 minutes because I started to laugh and smile. I thought it was funny and I would start to use my hands without knowing. It was hard because I was so mono tone and had no expression, which made me laugh at the sound. Also, my subjects were making expressions and moving around causing me to want to move my hands as I speak. When I speak I use my hands a lot, so keeping them in place is hard. My partners were affected by my limitations because it made them kind of laugh at the way I just stayed still with no movement. They thought it was awkward talking to someone that just talked like a robot that did not move. This experiment shows just how important non-verbal communication is in the world. I know we communicate more through the non-verbal than the verbal. This type of communication is very important in the way we communicate because we show most of our emotions through the non-verbal. Yes, in different cultures body language can mean something totally different and change what they are meaning to say. The adaptive benefit of knowing how to read body language is to be able to understand another person, see what they might be thinking of doing. I do not really see where not being able to read body language could beneficial in any environment.
    In society, language plays a huge part in the way we communicate with one another. People communicate in more ways then just speech, and this experiment shows just how important non-verbal language is to society. Overall, society needs language and non-verbal language to communicate effectively.


  1. Great description of Part A.

    "The speaking culture would probably become very annoyed with non-symbolic language culture because of the barrier between communication."

    Great insight. Think about how people respond to those who are deaf or from another language group. There is a tendency to become annoyed or impatient or even uncomfortable.

    Great job pointing out how different cultures used different body language and represents a situation where one can not read the body language of the other. On the other hand, it also marks an example where it might be better to ignore body language and stick with verbal language. You may mistake the body language signals, which can lead to problems.

    Good post.

  2. Hi Austin,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. You did an amazing job of describing the assignment and what your experiences were in both scenarios. I completely agree with what you said about the speaking culture becoming annoyed with the non speaking culture. You also brought up something interesting. Not being able to communicate effectively can turn a situation very hostile. I too share your experience with Part 2 of the assignment for my partner's reaction to my robotic tone was priceless. It absolutely changes the entire conversation.
    Carmen brought up a good question in her blog. I too became curious about how the men in our class did with this assignment vs. the women. Your experience with it was in some ways similar to mine. I don't think gender plays a role in spoken/body language.
    Again, great job.
    Thank you,