Share this Page URL

Chapter 4. Do You Hear What I Hear? > Types of Communication - Pg. 27

Do You Hear What I Hear? 27 Communication arises from context. Context is the time and place of the communication experience. Meaning is constructed as a social process and is embedded in the context of the interchange. Context influences what we say, how we say it, and the way others understand what we say. For example, the meaning you take from a friend's praise of your new outfit depends in part on when the praise is offered. If it comes at the beginning of the day, it has one meaning. "What a nice way to start the day," you might think. But if your friend asks to borrow your car right after she compliments your outfit, you're likely to construct a different meaning. "She said something nice just to get a favor," you might think. The communication changed because of the time and the circumstance. Encores and Exits Movie magnate Sam Goldwyn (1882­1974) was a real life mangler of language. After Goldwyn Pictures be- came part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, he struck out on his own and produced over 80 motion pictures. He received the Medal of Freedom in 1971 for "proving that clear movies could be good box office." Goldwyn's genius at the box office didn't stop him from doing some awful things to English. No doubt many of the word manglings attributed to Goldwyn were created by savvy press agents, but they nonetheless became part of his legend. Some of the most famous examples include "An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's written on," "Our comedies are not to be laughed at," and "Modern dance is so old-fashioned." Sign and Symbol