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Could you define context in communication?

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In communication, context refers to the circumstances of the situation in which communication is taking place. There are several types of communication contexts, including interpersonal, intrapersonal, group, public, and mass communication.

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Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is the communication between two or more people and presents the exchange between information, thoughts, ideas, and emotions. There are several types of interpersonal communication.

Verbal communication: Verbal communication is when people communicate using words and sounds. This type of communication most commonly refers to spoken communication; however, it can also be written.

Listening: Listening is also a form of interpersonal communication, as it involves the process of receiving and interpreting the exchanged information.

Written communication

Nonverbal communication: This refers to the exchange of information, thoughts, and emotions without using language (eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, body language, body movements and posture, tone of voice, haptics, etc.).

Group communication: Group communication is the exchange of information within a group, which usually consists of a minimum three and maximum twenty people, usually with the purpose of sharing a common goal. Group communication differs from any other interpersonal communication that exists between the group members. Group communication can also be verbal and nonverbal.

Public communication: Public communication is when an individual or groups of individuals come together and address the public in order to deliver a message to an audience of people. Public communication includes online communication; communication via the media (television, radio, written media, social media); communication via films, TV shows, songs, advertisements; and communication via public speaking (seminars, conferences, etc.).

Mass communication: Mass communication is the transmission of information via mass media, usually to a large audience. While public communication is usually done with the purpose of exchanging information, persuading the audience, and encouraging the people to engage in the communicative process, mass communication is often done with the purpose of simply delivering a message.

In addition to interpersonal communication, there is also intrapersonal communication, which is communication with one's self; people sometimes speak to themselves to rationalize a situation, to calm themselves down, or to put things into perspective. They can visualize a certain scenario in which they will internally vocalize their thoughts and reflect and assess a situation.

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Context is one of the basic components of human communication. It refers to the setting in which communication is taking place. However, there are several different kinds of communication context to consider.

The first is physical context. This refers to the tangible environment in which the communication is taking place. It is important to tailor one's communication to the physical area; someone would scarcely speak the same way in a sports bar as they would in a place of worship.

The second is cultural and psychological context. Communication will be interpreted in different ways based on the general feeling of the audience as well as the zeitgeist of the time. It goes without saying that there's a time and a place for most points to be made. This context narrows the points that can be made effectively to a certain group of people.

Finally, there is temporal context, or context within context context. This is the context of when a certain point can be made, or a message sent, within a conversation itself. Those skilled in rhetoric know that you can't just blurt out the most stirring part of your speech—you have to build to it. Similarly, when delivering grave or tragic news, it is best to place the hard-hitting information where the blow can best be softened.

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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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