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Could you define context in communication?

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pindoracell | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 24, 2010 at 8:23 PM via web

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Could you define context in communication?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 25, 2010 at 12:39 AM (Answer #1)

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Context is the circumstances surrounding a message. The circumstances might include the setting, the value positions of the people, and appropriateness of a message. This means considering your audience, the forum under which you are speaking, the era, and accepted norms. For a Satanist to preach at a Christian church would be out of context.

Furthermore, you wouldn't invite someone to go out to a bar with you during a conference call with several superiors in the business world that you just met in the middle of tense discussion over closing on a large contract. First, you are the youngster in the crowd. Second, that's off topic. Lastly, it would be inappropriate because there is a job that everyone is working to achieve at the moment and you shouldn't waste time.

Those features surrounding a piece of communication are context.

Now, let's say you mean context in terms of words that surround a specific phrase or word. These exterior words that add meaning or help influence meaning are the context. Often when a word is unknown, or a message is difficult to understand, you can use context to help discern what the word or message means.

For example, read this next sentence. The pestilential stench of the basement told the story of animals who had been trapped in there for months, feces and urine permeated the air creating an aroma that evoked a gag-reflex for all who entered. The words pestilential and permeated might be difficult to understand. Pestilential could be many things, it actually means disease-causing. But anyone who takes the context cluse of feces and urine smells could at least get close to the definition with words like gross or disgusting. Permeated means to have gone through and soaked. You should at least get the idea that it filled the air, once again, you get at least close to an understanding by looking at what is around.

 Context is very important. If you are a speaker and don't understand your audience, your message will not come across with widespread reception. If you are a recipient of a message and you cannot figure out a message because your vocabulary is limited, you miss out on the entire meaning of a message.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 25, 2010 at 9:27 AM (Answer #2)

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Context in communication refers to the surrounding physical environment and the framework of related facts and events within which a communication takes place. These contextual factors affect the perception of a person which in turn influences the way a message is decoded understood by the recipient. The word chips appearing in a business letter written by a manufacturer of computer memory cards is more likely to be interpreted as meaning a computer chip. The same word - chip - spoken in a fast food restaurant is more likely to be interpreted as referring to potato chips.

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abusalrak | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 16, 2012 at 7:16 AM (Answer #3)

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are there any types or kinds or classifications of contexts in communication? thanks.:)

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