Common Ground's In Linguistics And Communications Essays

Common Ground's In Linguistics And Communications Essays

Length: 908 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

''Two people's common ground is [...] the sum of their mutual, common, or joint knowledge, beliefs, and suppositions'' (Clark: 93). With these words, Herbert Clark explains the linguistic notion in a nutshell. Common ground is indispensible to our communicating with other people and performing joint actions, as it provides the basis for the aforesaid and places it in the correct context. If, for example, marine-loving Layla goes on a trip with her boyfriend Eric to swim with dolphins, this experience and every sensation that has to do with it, adds to their shared common ground.
Therefore, every joint action, e.g. an utterance, adds to the common ground one shares with a particular person. Accordingly, it grows throughout the relationship with the given person. However, one can never be sure whether the other person considers the same information as shared base, as the actual information may be corrupted and thus differ. Let me try to explain this with the example of Layla and her boyfriend. They both know that the group of animals they played with were dolphins. Since the Spinner's Dolphin and the Beluga share numerous common features in looks, though, the woman might think that she had been swimming with Spinner's Dolphins, while her boyfriend is convinced the animals were Belugas. This misinterpretation will never become apparent if they do not mention the animal's specific name in a conversation or hear about it elsewhere. To avoid such errors, Clark underlines the importance of finding a certain level of common ground which precludes misunderstandings from developing.
How well the information about a shared base in Layla's and Eric's case the dolphin justifies the common ground, depends on the quality of the evidence. Wh...


... middle of paper ...


...erence could be seen. They either put the piece in the puzzle or into the basket but not according to the shared experience with one of the experimenter. In the second study, significantly fewer infants of both age groups equally cleaned up the target object when the stranger performed a pointing gesture at the object, than when the experimenter with whom they share a common ground did. The experiment's outcome supports the researcher's as well as Clark's argument that previously shared experience influences and shapes how a person, even infants starting from about 18-months, react in and to a given situation.



Works Cited

Clark, Herbert
1996 Ch. 4: Language use. Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 3–25.

Liebal, Kristen et al.
2009 Infants use shared experience to interpret pointing gestures. Developmental Science 12.2, 264–271.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Saussure's System For Evaluating Linguistics Essay

- In “Course in General Linguistics”, Saussure does two things to develop his system for evaluating linguistics: he chooses language as his linguistic object and he only incorporates factors into his model that can be said to be true of all languages over all time. The net result is a very high level and flexible classification structure, which is more intent on making a developmental framework for evaluating linguistics than necessarily providing tremendous insight into it’s more concrete aspects: rudiments like structure, meaning, morphology, syntax, or phonology....   [tags: Linguistics]

Better Essays
895 words (2.6 pages)

Common Ground, By Barbara Smuts Essay

- This article, titled Common Ground, written by Barbara Smuts, points out the main differences between humans and apes, such as our upright stance, large brains, and capacity for spoken language and abstract reasoning. However, the main point of this article is to emphasize the many similarities that apes share with us. Smuts goes into great detail about how human social and emotional tendencies are very reflective in the family of apes. The idea that humans could possibly have evolved from apes was thought impossible until about 150 years....   [tags: Chimpanzee, Hominidae, Ape, Gorilla]

Better Essays
1199 words (3.4 pages)

Linguistics and Its Pioneers Essay

- Linguistics, as defined by Edward Finegan, is the systematic inquiry into human language-into its structures and uses and the relationship between hem, as well as into the development and acquisition of language. Language, as defined by the Collegiate Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a body or system of words and phrases used by a large community or by a people, a nation, or a group of nations. Most contemporary linguists work under the assumption that spoken language is more fundamental, and thus more important to study than writing (Linguistics)....   [tags: Linguistics]

Better Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)

The Journal Of Linguistics, By Paul Sidwell Essay

- Throughout the 37th volume of the Journal of Linguistics, Paul Sidwell gathers evidence from the sources presented and makes an argument surrounding the idea that the ancient technology of language has shaped the evolution of human cultures greatly, and supports that and further defines his argument with several examples. Throughout Sidwell’s article in the Journal of Linguistics, it’s apparent that the focus is on the technology of language and the effect it’s had on the development of human cultures....   [tags: Culture, Linguistics, Historical linguistics]

Better Essays
1133 words (3.2 pages)

Modern Linguistics And Its Effects On Human Language Essay

- As each new language that is studied reveals more exciting and unanticipated linguistic features, a shift away from the dominant view of language universality is gradually taking place. Evans and Levison (2009) suggest this generative position, which has pervaded modern linguistics since Chomsky’s proposal of Universal Grammar, be replaced by the functionalist position that heralds language variation as the key to natural human language. This change is concurrent with that of another more specific view that has also restricted linguistic theory for decades, stemming from Saussure’s principle of the arbitrariness of the linguistic sign....   [tags: Linguistics, Language, Language family]

Better Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

Essay on Language, Linguistics And The Importance Of Studying Language

- What is language, linguistics and the importance of studying language. It is a staggering thought to imagine an existence without language. To be restricted to basic forms of communication or to have none at all is an unimaginably condition. Language, in simple terms, is the manner in which people express themselves and the understanding of communication presented to them . The phenomenon of language is confined to mankind and is an intricate and vital element in the complex framework of human beings....   [tags: Language, Linguistics, Historical linguistics]

Better Essays
723 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about The Role Of Linguistics And Esl Instruction

- The role of linguistics in ESL instruction includes five essential components of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantic, and pragmatic. The five components are separate, but when teaching an English language learner the components work in conjunction. Some components are quicker to learn than others, in order for students to become efficient English users, students should be proficient in the five components. Phonology refers to the study of sound within a specific language and the smallest unit of sound called phonemes....   [tags: Phonology, Linguistics, Morpheme, Inflection]

Better Essays
946 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Understanding Several Concepts on Linguistics

- 1. What are the features of human language. Give examples to illustrate them. Re: Through the comparison of human and animal communication, American linguist Charles Hocktett has given the defining properties of human language. The features are generally discussed from the angle of structure: the formation of words and phrases, the function of various forms of language and in what cases language is produced. In the following part, I will choose four of them to illustrate. (1) Arbitrariness By arbitrariness, "we mean that there is no logical connections between meanings and sounds." (4) That is from the very beginning when human tried to use symbols to communicate, the symbols had no rel...   [tags: Linguistics]

Better Essays
1127 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Team Communications: Workplace Meetings

- Team Communication: Workplace Meetings and Interactions Workplace meetings have become as common an occurrence in daily business activity as punching in on a time clock. "Done right, meetings are one of the most powerful communication tools." (Thibodeau, 2005, para. 1). As beneficial as productive meetings can be to business organizations, ineffective meetings can have an equally detrimental effect. Regardless of how boring or pointless they may seem, not even modern technology is a substitute for personal interfacing....   [tags: Business Communications]

Free Essays
1469 words (4.2 pages)

On Common Ground Essay examples

- On Common Ground The beeping of the metal detector set his mind in motion. And when he carefully uncovered a small metal button, it whispered softly, speaking of a great general, “He possessed every virtue of the great commanders, without their vices.” April 12, 1861- “At 4:30 a.m. Confederates under General Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina; the Civil War begins” (historyplace). There are about twenty lots in our neighborhood; all consist of close to three and a half acres....   [tags: Personal Narrative History Papers]

Better Essays
2935 words (8.4 pages)