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On Functions of Language

By Denise Ramos,2014-09-12 14:19
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On Functions of Language

    On Functions of Language

    Abstract

    Nonverbal communication is one of important parts in cross-culture communication. Body language is a means of nonverbal communication of mankind. Its characteristics are implication, haziness and humor. We may systematically classify varied nonverbal means that serve different communicative purposes according to their functions. This paper mainly expounds the following eight functions of expression, cognition, indication, imitation, ceremony and propriety, substitution, show and hint.

    This paper includes chiefly three parts. The first part deals with the definition of body language. The focus of the paper is laid on the second part that respectively analyzed body language functions at definitions and examples. In the analysis, examples from communication will be given; snippets of writings will also be offered to make the paper understandable and persuasive. The third part is about the significance of body language in communication. The conclusion of this paper is drawn from the functions.

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    Key words: nonverbal communication; body language; expression;

    function

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    非言语交际是跨文化交际的重要组成部分。体态语是人类交际中常见的一种非言语交际手段!其特点是具有含蓄、朦胧美和幽默感。我们可将具有交际作用的各种非言语手段按其功能进行系统分类。本文主要论述体态语的表情、认识、指示、模仿、礼仪、替代、表露、暗示等八大功能。

    本文主要分为三个部分。第一部分是关于体态语的定义。体态语又称身势语、态势语、形体语等!是一种非语言的信息手段。用态势动作来交流思想的语言!在人际交往和社会发展中!凭借视读情感意义的语言形态。第二部分为本文核心!分别展开体态语在定义和事例两个层面的分析。本文的分析内容均来自于实例!其中英美名著的片断使本文更具有说服力。

    关键词?非言语交际、体态语、表情、功能

    

    Contents

    Abstract……………………………………………………………i 摘要…………………………………………………………ii Contents………………………………………………………iii Introduction……………………………………………………1 1.The definition of body language……………………………1 2.The functions of body language……………………………2

    2.1 The function of expression…………………………………2

    2.1.1Embodying in Oliver Twist……………………………2

    2.2 The function of cognition…………………………………4

    2.2.1Embodying in Jane Eyre………………………………4

    2.3 The function of indication…………………………………6

    2.3.1Embodying in communication…………………………7

    2.3.2 Embodying in Tess of the DUrbervilles………………8

    2.3.3 Embodying in An American Tragedy…………………9

    2.4 The function of imitation……………………………………9

    2.4.1 Embodying in a dancer…………………………………9

    2.5The function of ceremony and propriety…………………10

    2.5.1Embodying in western country………………………11

    2.6The function of replacement………………………………13

    

    2.6.1Embodying in communication…………………………13

    2.6.2Embodying in other aspects……………………………13

    2.7 The function of show or cover……………………………14

    2.7.1 Embodying in communication………………………14

    2.7.2 Embodying in Gone With The Wind…………………15

    2.7.3 Embodying in Jane Eyre………………………………15

    2.8 The function of suggestion ………………………………16

    2.8.1Embodying in communication……………………………17

    3. The significance of body language………………………17

    Conclusion……………………………………………………19

    Bibliography…………………………………………………20

Introduction

1. The definition of body language

    Language is uniquely human. Only human beings possess what can be called language in the true sense of the term. We propose that language involves words or verbal language, written language and kinesics or body language. Body language is also called kinetics.

    As Benjamin Franklin said, “None preaches better than the ant, and

    

    she says nothing.” The study of how movement communicates is called kinesics. In general, kinesics cues are those visible body shifts and movements that can send messages about (1) our attitude toward the other person (standing face-to face with a friend direct body orientation, or leaning forward may show that we are relaxed). (2) our emotional state (tapping on the table or playing with coins can mean we are nervous), and (3) our desire to control our environment (motioning someone to come closer means we want to talk to him or her). Because scholars have suggested that we can make as many as 700,000 distinct physical signs, any attempt at cataloging them would be frustrating and

    [1]fruitless. Our purpose is simply to call your attention to the idea that while all people use movement to communicate, culture teaches us how to use and interpret these movements. And its characteristics are implication, haziness and humor. In the upcoming section, we look at a few functions of body language differences in expression, cognition, indication, imitation, ceremony and propriety, replacement, show or cover and suggestion.

2. The functions of body languages

    2.1 The function of expression

    

    At one time or another, most of us have been intrigued by how the looks on other peoples face have influenced our reactions to them. The early Greek playwrights and the kabuki actors of Japan were keenly aware of the shifts in mood and meaning that facial expressions conveyed. Both forms of drama used masks and extensive makeup to demonstrate differences in each actors character and attitude. In a very

    real sense, when it comes to using our faces, we are all actors because we all wear a variety of masks. To quote the poet T.S. Eliot, we put on

    [1]a face to meet the face that we meet.”

    Facial expression is an important way to express our emotion not only in the tableau but also in many writings.

    2.1.1 Embody in Oliver Twist

    The greatest critical realist writer, Charles Dickens, in his work Oliver Twist, has many description of body language. For example,

    As Mr. Bumble paused to take breath, after delivering the address in an awful voice, the tears rolled down the poor childs face, and he

    [2] sobbed bitterly.

    (from Charles Dickens, The Adventures of Oliver Twist)

    This section, is a detailed account of Oliver is punished for that impious and profane offence of asking for more and he is to be sold.

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After Mr. Bumble cheated the address, he paused to take breath”.

    Because he was nervous and worried about the address found his deception. Paused to take breath displays his craftiness, shyster and

    nervous. Contrast with Mr. Bumble, the tears rolled down the poor

    childs face, and he sobbed bitterly”. Why “the tears rolled down?

    Why Oliver sobbed bitterly? Oliver Twist was to be sold, at three

    pound ten, to Mr. Gamfield, the notorious chimney-sweeper. He was frightful, heart stricken and hopeless. All these express the piteous boy. We feel more the pitiable state of the orphan boy and the cruelty and hypocrisy of the workhouse board.

    Charles Dickens was a genuine critical realist writer. And in his work, voiceless is much better than voice.” The figures mention was

    presented appropriately by the description of Mr. Bumble and Oliver. 2.2 The function of cognition

    Cognition is the primary function of language. It is verbal communication that holds people in a society together. Language is usually used to convey information or interpersonal message. Language, especially writing, is used to convey information. A society operates on the basis of administrative, legal, economic and cultural information. According to these conditions, we can understand the world. No social

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    institution could operate without these types of information, and information is mainly conveyed through language. Language is used to understand and describe the world. Language includes verbal language and body language. Consciously and unconsciously intentionally and unintentionally, we make important judgments and decisions concerning the internal states of others-states they often express without words but body language, which conveys meaning.

    We will discuss how body language reflects peoples emotion in

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

    2.2.1 Embody in Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a plain little orphan at Gateshead Hall with her aunt and cousins. Her aunt, Mrs. Reed, a selfish and cold-hearted woman, and her three children all treat Jane very badly. One day, in an outbreak, Jane fights back and is shut up in the horrible red room. As following is from chapter I of Jane Eyre.

    They had got me by this time into the apartment indicated by Mrs. Reed, and had thrust me upon a stool: my impulse was to rise from it

    [3] like a spring; their two pairs of hands arrested me instantly.”

     ( from Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre)

    Form this part of chapter I, it is easy to show us that Jane is

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    indisposed to enter into the red-room. Because her mind was for horror, shaken and felt oppression, suffocated. Why? For Mr. reed had keen dead there and in that chamber he breathed his last; there and in state and his coffin was borne by the undertakers men; and, since that day, a

    sense of dreary consecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion. Jane was afraid of that seat very much. If she sit on it, Bessie and Miss Abbot, handmaids of Mrs. Reed, would Prepare for bonds, and tie her down in order to make her clam down. She was aware of a way of ignominy if she was bonded. So when the handmaids had thrust me

    upon a stool: my impulse was to rise from it like a spring and according

    to this part we can find easily that the writer by way of recessive body language to infer Janes idiosyncrasy by way of recessive body language. It articulates Janes tremendous horror of enter to the room and tied down on the seat.

    To appreciate the importance of nonverbal communication to human interaction, reflect for a moment on the countless times in a single day that you send and receive nonverbal messages when in the presence of other people. Charlotte Bronte, wrote in her work Jane Eyre, chapter I:

    Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now dustered round their mama

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    in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fire-side, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying)

    [3] looked perfectly happy.

    In this part, it seemed that Mrs. Reed was very happy. Usually, her son and daughter either quarrelling or crying. But now they were neither quarrelling nor crying, and Mrs. Reed lay reclined on a sofa by the firesides, looked perfectly happy.

    According to this part, we can see her happiness without words

    but express her feeling by her facial expressions: smiled, looked perfectly happy.

    2.3 The function of indication

    The function of indication in body language is salient and conducted actively. Some nonverbal messages are consistent with accompanying verbal messages, but add to or strengthen or clarify the meaning of the verbal message, and it is used in combination with verbal behaviors to convey meaning. Nonverbal messages can be used to accent or emphasize distinct point in verbal massages function of indication. If this function is in felicitous using, it can express ones

    emotion not only completely but also effect voiceless is better than

    voice.”

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