NVCC Lera Boroditsky Ted Talk how Language Shapes the Way We Think Essay


  1. 5.1Identifythreereasonsforlearningaboutverbalcommunication.

Verbal communication plays a significant role in people’s lives, assisting in relationship development, creating identities, and accomplishing everyday tasks.

  1. 5.2Describethefunctionsandcomponentsoflanguage.

Language is the foundation of verbal processes and it functions in at least seven ways: instrumental, regulatory, informative, heuristic, interactional, personal, and imaginative.

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The four components of language study are phonology, the study of sounds; syntax, the grammar and rules for arranging units of meaning; semantics, the meaning of words; and pragmatics, the rules for appropriate use of language.

  1. 5.3Identifyandgiveexamplesofseveralmajorinfluencesonverbal communication.

Individual influences on language include speakers’ memberships in various identity groups (gender, age, regionality, ethnicity and race, education and occupation).

When identities influence several aspects of language (vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation), these speakers have distinct dialects. In other instances identity groups’ language variations may be minor, involving only some pronunciation or word choices.

  1. 5.4Describetherelationshipsbetweenlanguage,perception,and power.

Societal forces affect verbal processes because they shape our perceptions and the power relationships that surround us.


The language used in a given society influences its members’ perceptions of social reality, whereas power relationships affect how its members’ verbal patterns are evaluated.

  1. 5.5Identifyandgiveexamplesofconfirmingcommunication, disconfirming communication, and hate speech.

Communicating ethically means avoiding hate speech (verbally attacking someone based on race, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality).

Disconfirming communication rejects or invalidates self-image, while confirming communication validates positive self-image.

  1. 5.6Discusswaystoimproveyourownverbalcommunicationskills. Learn to use “I” statements when expressing dissatisfaction.

Recognize the power of language. Words can hold deeper meaning and ethical implications, so use them thoughtfully.



instrumental p. 97 regulatory p. 97 informative p. 97 heuristic p. 97 interactional p. 97 personal language p. 97 imaginative p. 97 grammar p. 98 phonology p. 98

syntax p. 98
semantics p. 98 denotative meaning p. 99 connotative meaning p. 99 pragmatics p. 99
speech act theory p. 100 dialect p. 103
lexical choice p. 103 cohort effect p. 105

African American Vernacular English p. 107 code switching p. 107

jargon p. 108
nominalists p. 109

relativists p. 109
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis p. 109 cocultural theory p. 110 androcentrism p. 111
hate speech p. 115
disconfirming communication p. 115 confirming communication p. 116



  1. 8.1Explainwhyitisimportanttolearnaboutintercultural communication.

Four reasons for learning about intercultural communication are increased opportunity, increased business effectiveness, improved intergroup relations, and enhanced self-awareness.

  1. 8.2Defineinterculturalcommunicationanddescribethreetypesof border dwellers.

Intercultural communication is defined as communication between people from different cultural backgrounds.

Increasing numbers of individuals today live on cultural borders— through travel, socialization, or relationships.

Culture is defined as learned patterns of perceptions, values, and behaviors shared by a group of people. It is dynamic and heterogeneous, and operates within power structures.

  1. 8.3Describehowculturalvaluesinfluencecommunication.

Seven core cultural values differentiate various cultural groups, and these value differences have implications for intercultural communication.

Societal forces, such as political and historical structures, play an important role in intercultural communication because intercultural encounters never occur in a vacuum.

  1. 8.4Explaintherolesthatpolitics,history,andpowerplayin communication between people from different cultural backgrounds.

Power is often an important element in that those who hold more powerful positions in society set the rules and norms for communication. Those individuals who do not conform to the rules because of differing cultural backgrounds and preferences may be marginalized.

Societal forces, such as political and historical structures, play an important role in intercultural communication because intercultural encounters never occur in a vacuum.

  1. 8.5Givethreeguidelinesforcommunicatingmoreethicallywith people whose cultural backgrounds differ from your own.

To ensure that you are communicating ethically during intercultural interactions, avoid ethnocentric thinking, recognize the humanity of others, and remain open to other ways of understanding the world.

  1. 8.6Discusswaystoimproveyourowninterculturalcommunication skills.

You can become a more effective intercultural communicator in at least five ways: increase your motivation, acquire knowledge about self and others, avoid stereotyping, strive for intercultural empathy, and navigate the borderlands.

There are six dialectics that can help you improve your intercultural communication: cultural-individual, personal-contextual, differences- similarities, static-dynamic, history/past-present/future, and privilege- disadvantage.


diaspora p. 169
peacebuilding p. 171
intercultural communication p. 173
culture p. 173
heterogeneous p. 173
border dwellers p. 173
culture shock p. 174
reverse culture shock/re-entry shock p. 174 cultural values p. 177
individualistic orientation p. 178
collectivistic orientation p. 178
preferred personality p. 178
view of human nature p. 179
human–nature value orientation p. 179
power distance p. 180
long-term versus short-term orientation p. 181 short-term orientation p. 181
monotheistic p. 181

long-term orientation p. 181
polytheistic p. 181
indulgence versus restraint orientation p. 181 dialectical approach p. 182
dichotomous thinking p. 182
cocultural group p. 184
ethnocentrism p. 185
encapsulated marginal people p. 189 constructive marginal people p. 189