Journalistic article on relationship between language and communication

journalistic article on relationship between language and communication

At the intersection of applied linguistics and journalism studies lies media .. relationship between journalist and audience, the nature of the authority news .. Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies, 31(6 ). Individuals searching for Communications and Journalism found the following information and resources Comparative Language Studies and Services. Many a joke depends on confusion about the meaning of language, Its role is not to impart any factual information, but to establish a relationship between the people. For the sake of this article, I will use two simplified definitions of science and journalism. Journalism is communication of 'what's new'.

It is important to convey information in a way that is true to the understanding and intentions of the source of knowledge in order to contribute to democracy and public enlightenment. Thus, the conference invitation reflects what is referred to as "the dominant view of popularisation" in the research community see Hilgartner According to this view, popularisation is a one-way simplification process, where researchers and the public are placed at opposite ends of the "dissemination path".

At the one end, researchers develop "real" or "pure" knowledge before disseminators, such as journalists or information officers or researchers in the role of popularisersconvey simplified versions of the knowledge to a public that is regarded solely as the recipient of the information.

The goal is to minimise media "noise" or "interference", so that the information conveyed remains as true to the source as possible. A more dynamic view Such a perspective makes far too sharp a distinction between the research and its popularisation. Researchers learn about research fields other than their own through popular representations in the media, and these shape their view of the content and activity in science.

Thus, popularised knowledge is fed back into the research process. Simplification is also important in scientific work, both in the laboratory and in communication with students and specialists in related subjects.

Popularisation is therefore something that also takes place "internally". At the same time, scientific knowledge can also be created "externally": Viewed in this way, communicating research becomes something more than merely the transmission of results to the general public by those who stand apart from the public researchers.

However, a good dialogue also requires the interlocutor to be regarded in a different light to that offered by the dissemination perspective: Occasionally, the public domain can actually be the place where production of scientific knowledge is initiated and developed, and not just by the researchers themselves.

Bucchi reminds us that the so-called laity can mobilise considerable efforts around specific issues and influence research. One such example was when, in the s, AIDS patients acquired knowledge that enabled them to influence experimental procedures for the AZT medication and speed up the authorisation of the drug Bucchi The general public are more capable of acquiring relevant scientific knowledge than the scientific community would have us believe.

Need for rethinking Such aspects of the communication of science are hidden by the traditional dissemination perspective on popularisation.

That this remains the dominant view in the research community is no doubt partly because it has proven useful as a political tool for scientific experts. It can be used to distinguish between real and popularised knowledge: This knowledge also appears to be exclusive to researchers.

Week 1 Introduction to Journalism Writing and Editing

Politicians and the public can only acquire simplified representations of science. Thus, researchers' authority when it comes to knowledge is protected from external criticism. However, the dissemination perspective does not exactly create fertile ground for a much-needed public dialogue and public engagement around an influential social institution.

If researchers are to make a greater contribution to this, they need to develop a more nuanced understanding of what popularisation is about. A good start may therefore be to replace the term "dissemination" with "communication". Communication is not just about spreading knowledge, but about exchanging knowledge.

It has to do with being able to see oneself in a context outside the internal scientific community. Developing an ability to see things from other people's perspectives is also an important part of this, and a fundamental ethical challenge. Seeing the public In good communication about research in the media, the general public is viewed as knowledgeable participants in the public debate on science.

What language barrier?

A greater understanding of non-experts' perspectives on areas in which researchers are experts may help to develop researchers' ability to communicate. The general public is not stupid, and their approach to knowledge and ways of understanding problems may differ to that of scientific experts.

The strong reaction by the British population to the outbreak of BSE mad cow disease did not only stem from the health risk that the disease posed to humans; reactions were particularly stirred up when it was revealed that the cows did not graze in pastures "as nature intended", but were fed with meat and bone meal from sheep Jasanoff Thus, non-experts tend to make a comprehensive assessment of risks; an assessment based on social norms and views on how the world should be.

The conversation about science would be better served if researchers considered the public domain more as a place to examine whether the expert's approach to problems is socially acceptable. The need for scientific specialists to take into account people's "common sense" or "good sense" in order to have their work realised and applied is likely to increase.

Good communication requires researchers to take into account a different communication situation from the internal scientific community. Researchers can learn about each other's work through media representations, but no one is served by the public stage primarily being used to garner recognition from colleagues. Writing and talking publicly entails interaction with the world outside the research community.

Loyalty and engagement need to be shown to the public. This entails breaking loose from ideals in academic prose, such as: Using direct, personal and active language not "it was shown", but "we or I showed that" without nominalisation "we took under consideration" can be replaced with "we considered" or jargon translate what it means "to establish a uniplex emotional relation to an object" is a much more inclusive way of communicating.

Seeing oneself Some researchers have become skilled at adapting to a public communication situation, and some are actually so skilful that it results in an ethically questionable practice.

What they have learned to do is disseminate different versions of scientific uncertainty to different recipients. Depending on what they want to achieve, researchers can flexibly interpret and present research as having a greater or lesser degree of uncertainty. Assertions of uncertainty can be used rhetorically by researchers in different contexts. Internally, it will strengthen the credibility of the researcher if she is transparent about all aspects of the research that entail uncertainties.

In media representations, however, assertions of uncertainty can be accompanied by a time schedule for resolving the uncertainty. In this way, the uncertainty can be portrayed as something that will be removed within time frames that are unlikely to be considered valid in the research community. However, the rhetoric is modified because it is aimed at a different recipient, with whom the researcher aims to achieve a different effect.

Such modifications of the message are often done in the knowledge that potential sponsors of the research are important recipients of the information.

Thus, the message becomes: The female-brain jobs make use of a capacity for empathy and communication, whereas the male ones exploit the ability to analyse complex systems. He stresses that there are men with female brains, women with male brains, and individuals of both sexes with "balanced" brains.

Do men and women speak the same language? | World news | The Guardian

He refers to the major brain types as "male" and "female", however, because the tendency is for males to have male brains and females to have female brains.

And at many points it becomes clear that in spite of his caveats about not confusing gender with brain sex, he himself is doing exactly that. The passage reproduced above is a good example. Baron-Cohen classifies nursing as a female-brain, empathy-based job though if a caring and empathetic nurse cannot measure dosages accurately and make systematic clinical observations she or he risks doing serious harm and law as a male-brain, system-analysing job though a lawyer, however well versed in the law, will not get far without communication and people-reading skills.

These categorisations are not based on a dispassionate analysis of the demands made by the two jobs. They are based on the everyday common-sense knowledge that most nurses are women and most lawyers are men. If you read the two lists in their entirety, it is hard not to be struck by another "essential difference": Baron-Cohen's job-lists take me back to my schooldays 35 years ago, when the aptitude tests we had to complete before being interviewed by a careers adviser were printed on pink or blue paper.

Communication and the media - Etikkom

In those days we called this sexism, not science. At its most basic, what I am calling "the myth of Mars and Venus" is simply the proposition that men and women differ fundamentally in the way they use language to communicate. All versions of the myth share this basic premise; most versions, in addition, make some or all of the following claims: Men talk more about things and facts, whereas women talk more about people, relationships and feelings.

This causes problems in contexts where men and women regularly interact, and especially in heterosexual relationships. The literature of Mars and Venus, in both the self-help and popular science genres, is remarkably patronising towards men.

They come off as bullies, petulant toddlers; or Neanderthals sulking in their caves. One male contributor to this catalogue of stereotypes goes so far as to call his book If Men Could Talk. A book called If Women Could Think would be instantly denounced; why do men put up with books that put them on a par with Lassie or Skippy the Bush Kangaroo "Hey, wait a minute - I think he's trying to tell us something!

Perhaps men have realised that a reputation for incompetence can sometimes work to your advantage. Like the idea that they are no good at housework, the idea that men are no good at talking serves to exempt them from doing something that many would rather leave to women anyway. Though it is only some kinds of talking that men would rather leave to women: This should remind us that the relationship between the sexes is not only about difference, but also about power.

The long-standing expectation that women will serve and care for others is not unrelated to their position as the "second sex".

But in the universe of Mars and Venus, the fact that we still live in a male-dominated society is like an elephant in the room that everyone pretends not to notice.

journalistic article on relationship between language and communication

My father, like many men of his generation, held the belief that women were incompetent drivers. During my teenage years, family car journeys were invariably accompanied by an endless running commentary on how badly the women around us were driving. Eventually I became so irritated by this, I took to scouring passing traffic for counter-examples: My father usually conceded that the men were idiots, but not because they were men.

Whereas female idiocy was axiomatically caused by femaleness, substandard male drivers were either "yobbos" - people with no consideration for others on the road or anywhere else - or "Sunday drivers": As for the women who drove unremarkably, my father seemed surprised when I pointed them out. It was as if he had literally not noticed them until that moment. At the time I thought my father was exceptional in his ability to make reality fit his preconceptions, but now I know he was not.

Psychologists have found in experimental studies that when interpreting situations people typically pay most attention to things that match their expectations, and often fail to register counter-examples. It is not hard to see how these tendencies might lead readers of Mars and Venus books to "recognise" generalisations about the way men and women use language, provided those generalisations fit with already familiar stereotypes. An anecdote illustrating the point that, say, men are competitive and women cooperative conversationalists will prompt readers to recall the many occasions on which they have observed men competing and women cooperating - while not recalling the occasions, perhaps equally numerous, on which they have observed the opposite.

If counter-examples do come to mind "What about Janet? In relation to men and women, our most basic stereotypical expectation is simply that they will be different rather than the same. We actively look for differences, and seek out sources that discuss them.

Most research studies investigating the behaviour of men and women are designed around the question: And the presumption is usually that there will be. If a study finds a significant difference between male and female subjects, that is considered to be a "positive" finding, and has a good chance of being published. A study that finds no significant differences is less likely to be published. Most people, of course, do not read academic journals: These sources often feature research on male-female differences, since media producers know that there is interest in the subject.

But the criteria producers use when deciding which studies to report and how to present them introduce another layer of distortion. And sometimes headlines trumpet so-called facts that turn out, on investigation, to have no basis in evidence at all. Infor instance, a popular science book called The Female Brain claimed that women on average utter 20, words a day, while men on average utter only 7, This was perfect material for soundbite science - it confirmed the popular belief that women are not only the more talkative sex but three times as much - and was reported in newspapers around the world.

One person who found it impossible to believe was Mark Liberman, a professor of phonetics who has worked extensively with recorded speech. His scepticism prompted him to delve into the footnotes of The Female Brain to find out where the author had got her figures.

What he found was not an academic citation but a reference to a self-help book. Following the trail into the thickets of popular literature, Liberman came across several competing statistical claims.

The figures varied wildly: As far as Liberman could tell, all these numbers were plucked from thin air: He concluded that no one had ever done a study counting the words produced by a sample of men and women in the course of a single day. The claims were so variable because they were pure guesswork.

After Liberman pointed this out in a newspaper article, the author of The Female Brain conceded that her claim was not supported by evidence and said it would be deleted from future editions.

But the damage was already done: This is how myths acquire the status of facts. Do women and men really speak so differently? This title stood out as unusual, because, as we have seen, the aim of most research studies is to find differences rather than similarities between men and women.

journalistic article on relationship between language and communication

Yet, as the article's author Janet S Hyde pointed out, on closer inspection, the results of these studies very often show more similarity than difference. Hyde is a psychologist who specialises in "meta-analysis", a statistical technique that allows the analyst to collate many different research findings and draw overall conclusions from them.

journalistic article on relationship between language and communication

Scientists believe that one study on its own does not show anything: Suppose that the question is: Some studies will have found that men interrupt more, others that women do, and others may have found no significant difference.

In some studies the reported gender difference will be large, while in others it will be much smaller. The number of people whose behaviour was investigated will also vary from study to study. Meta-analysis enables you to aggregate the various results, controlling for things that make them difficult to compare directly, and calculate the overall effect of gender on interruption.

Hyde used this technique to review a large number of studies concerned with all kinds of putative male-female differences. In Table 1, I have extracted the results for just those studies that dealt with gender differences in linguistic and communicative behaviour.

To read this table you need to know that "d" is the formula indicating the size of the overall gender difference: So, for instance, the table tells us that when the findings of different studies are aggregated, the overall conclusion is that men interrupt more than women and women self-disclose more than men. However, the really interesting information is in the last column, which tells us whether the actual figure given for d indicates an effect that is very large, large, moderate, small, or close to zero.

In almost every case, the overall difference made by gender is either small or close to zero.