Speech Codes TheoryGerry Philipsen Matt Dolan & Josh Kane Grand Humanistic
Key Terms Speech Codeis defined as “a historically enacted, socially constructed system of terms, meanings, premises, and rules, pertaining to communicative conduct.” (p.414) Ethnography – the work of a naturalist who watches, listens, and records communicative conduct in its natural setting in order to understand a culture’s concept web of meanings. http://www.afirstlook.com/main.cfm/theory_resources/Speech_Codes_Theory#contentTop
Theory in a Nutshell “Through ethnography of communication we know all cultures have multiple speech codes that involve a distinct psychology, sociology, and rhetoric.” “The meaning of a speech code is determined by speakers and listeners, and is woven into speech itself. Artful use of the code can explain, predict, and control talk about talk.” Speech Code Theory, refers to a framework for communication in a given speech community. As an academic discipline, it explores the manner in which groups communicate based on societal, cultural, gender, occupational or other factors.
Examples of Places and Situations With Speech Codes Within Cultures In the workplace Within social groups such as special interest club, sports teams, and other organizations.
Example of Speech Code Lisa grew up in a beach town where every thing was "sick," "awesome," or "rad". You were either "stoked," "syked," or "epic." Moving out to the Midwest, I found that "sick" was something gross, "awesome" was generally used when speaking of God, and "rad" was..."what's that?" These barriers were at times a hindrance when meeting new people. It was obvious I was from California, and the connotations with the state were generally negative. After living in the Midwest for some time, I have been able to pick up some of the speech codes. I have especially noticed the difference between being conservative and liberal. These observations have enabled me to know what to expect when I meet someone for the first time. In the future, I hope that I will be able to predict another's speech codes so that I may initiate conversation with all different types of people (www.afirstlook.com)
Philipsen found that there are situations where speech is necessary and appropriate, and situations where less speech and more action are appropriate Philipsen's speech codes theory seeks to answer questions about The existence of speech codes The way speech codes, can be discovered. The force speech codes have on people within a culture. He has developed the following six general propositions;
Distinctiveness of Speech Codes Proposition 1: Wherever there is a distinctive culture, there is to be found a distinctive speech code.
Multiplicity of Speech Codes Proposition 2: In any given speech community, multiple speech codes are deployed. People may be affected by other codes or employ more than one code.
Substance of Speech Codes Proposition 3: A speech code involves a culturally distinct psychology, sociology, and rhetoric. Psychology: Every speech code thematizes the nature of individuals in a particular way. Sociology: Every speech code provides a system of answers about what linkages between self and others can properly be sought. Rhetoric: Every speech code involves ways to discover truth and create persuasive appeals.
Interpretation of Speech Codes Proposition 4: The significance of speaking depends on the speech codes used by speakers and listeners to create and interpret their communication.Aculture decides what their prominent speech practices mean.
Site of Speech Codes Proposition 5: The terms, rules, and premises of a speech code are woven into speaking itself. Highly structured cultural forms often display the cultural significance of symbols and meanings, premises, and rules that might not be accessible through normal conversation. Social dramas are public confrontations in which one party invokes a moral rule to challenge the conduct of another. Totemizing rituals involve careful performances of structured sequences of actions that pay homage to sacred objects.
Force of Speech Codes in discussions Proposition 6: The artful use of a shared speech code is a sufficient condition for predicting, explaining, and controlling the form of discourse about the intelligibility, prudence, and morality of communication conduct. Proposition 6 suggests that by a thoughtful use of shared speech codes, participants can guide metacommunication. (def: Metacommunication: To communicate about your communication
In Conclusion Philipsen’s ultimate goal was to develop a general theory that would capture the relationship between communication and culture. To indicate that his theory has moved from description to explanation and prediction, he labels his work speech codes theory.