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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chapter 10: Using Language Effectively

Chapter 10: Using Language Effectively

This chapter summary is written by the authors of the authors of the text, "Public Speaking, the Evolving Art (ISBN-13:978-0-534-636727-9). It is a summary and should not take the place of reading the textbook or using the other resources provided on Angel by the publisher, course instructor or school.

Chapter Summary

Language enlivens your ideas--the words you choose get your audience's attention, help them visualize your main points, and facilitate their ability to remember what you say. Language refers to the system of words you use to communicate with others. It is arbitrary, ambiguous, abstract, and active, characteristics that present speakers with both opportunities and challenges.

Because language is arbitrary, audiences may interpret your words in ways you don't intend. Because language is ambiguous, consider both the connotative and denotative meanings of the words you use. Because language is abstract, consider when to discuss ideas and concepts rather than tangible objects and specific actions. Because language is active, the words you use and how you use them change over time.

Language and culture are interdependent. You learn about the meanings of words from your culture, and words help you interpret culture. Slang, jargon, idioms, euphemisms, and clichés highlight the link between language and culture. Because your audiences may not always share your cultural background, it's best to avoid these types of culture-specific words or phrases unless they're essential to the speech. You must also pay attention to gender and language when you give a speech, considering how the gender of your listeners will affect how they interpret your message. In addition, use nonsexist language to avoid alienating some members of your audience.

Spoken language differs from written language in that it is dynamic, immediate, informal, irreversible, based in narrative, and rhythmic, whereas written language is static, distant, formal, revisable, able to describe multiple facts, and rich in imagery. When you give a speech to an audience, use spoken language in an engaging, conversational manner and use audience-centered language. When you take an audience-centered approach, you put your language in context, personalize your language, use inclusive language, use visual language, and spark imagination with your language.

The language you speak determines the way you see, perceive and understand the world around you. Safir- Whorf states that we can only understand to the extent of our ability to comprehend through language. Speakers need to understand the most effective language to use to send the desired message successfully to their intended audience.

To successfully use language to engage your audience, use spoken language, choose meaningful words, balance clarity and ambiguity, strive for conciseness, avoid offensive or aggressive language, build in redundancy, and don't get too attached to your words.

Cambridge International Dictionary of English This is just one of many fine online dictionaries. The online version of Cambridge includes examples of how to use a term appropriately. Also includes activities and worksheets. 

ESL Idiom Page View English language idioms alphabetically or randomly, with meanings and examples. Idiom of the day, English idiom quizzes, and a fairly lengthy index of common and not-so-common English idioms. 

OneLook Dictionaries Searches over 1,000 dictionaries for words and phrases. Includes a reverse dictionary in which you describe the idea or concept to identify the word you want to use. T Search the site by key word or browse by category. The article “How to Use a Thesaurus” provides useful tips on making the most of your searches. 

Word Spy Word Spy is “devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases.” The site includes definitions and histories of words, from acoustic privacy to zorse.


Reggie bc 550 said...

So many options for assistance it's hard to know where to start. Thanks, I can always think of the right words and how they make me feel but they never come out that way! Word thesaurus is great.

Anonymous said...

Anyother helpful tool . Thank you
Danielle Hoyer
Bc 6003

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the help, these are helpful tools for school and for my job at work. I am especially interested in the thesaurus website. I do not like using the same word all the time but another way to say it so others can understand.

A. Falconetti
Comm 101 HN 4049