HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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Verbal Communication Prompt #6

“If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world”. I have only studied two other languages other than English before. Neither of which I would consider myself to be adept in. Regardless, from my time studying both Spanish and Japanese, I can interpret the quote as learning another language is like learning to see things differently. To learn another language is to also dive into another culture. Looking back on it, it really did feel like I was seeing things in a different world.

For Spanish I wouldn’t say that it felt a whole lot different because it’s very similar to English. Sentence structure was the same and many words are interchangeable or had insignificant differences. When I began learning Japanese, it was so different from English that I felt a little overwhelmed, but it was really interesting. The instructor would explain why kanji was written a certain way, and although it’s not something that made sense in English, it still got through to me. Japanese isn’t very specific either, as in there are no articles or plural versions of nouns. Although it was hard to convey direct thoughts at times, the language flowed very smoothly. When I was starting to get the hang of it, I felt it strange that I was actually communicating with a language that wasn’t the one I grew up with. Perhaps that’s what the quote was implying. I felt I was perceiving another world through another language, and I really enjoyed learning it.

This is probably what most people would say about learning another language, assuming that they weren’t forced to learn it. Although it doesn’t feel as natural as using your native language, there is something really enjoyable about having the ability to express your ideas in two or more cultures. It creates a sense of freedom, as if you could open up to more people than you could before. That’s how I would interpret the quote.

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Verbal Communication Prompt 1

If you asked me in the past if I would consider changing my legal name I would probably say, “for sure”. My full name is Jasmine Bao Yang. Bao can mean different things in both Vietnamese and Chinese but both having a pretty good meaning “gift and treasure” but it can also mean other things with different accent marks (but thank god for not having those accent marks, my middle name could have meant news paper or bread bun). Growing up I never liked my middle name because it doesn’t make any sense in english, I wanted an American middle name that everyone can pronounce and not ask about. It was so annoying to me when people asked me what my middle name was and struggled pronouncing it or made fun of it. If you ask me now though if I wanted to change my legal name, I would say no. It is a part of me and telling people it means “gift and treasure” is pretty cool. I grew up with the name and having a little culture in my name is really cool and I love taking pride in my Asian culture. If I got married I would much rather keep my last name as a part of me. I can hyphen my name with me and my spouse like “yang-(their last name)”. Currently, my last name in my family will not be carried on seeing that all my cousins are girls and the only guy cousin from my dad’s side is from my aunt which isn’t useful on carrying on the last name. I would much rather keep the last name going or have it die with me at least (harsh but the truth I guess). I even sometimes think about having my mom’s last name for myself since I really want both my parents in my name but that may be a different topic. I like to think that my name is such a big part of me, it makes me remember where I come from and I love embracing the culture I grew up with.


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Verbal Communication (Prompt #4)

The majority of the idioms I use with people are those who I feel very close to, such as my sister (not as much nowadays), close friends, some family but primarily my significant other. I do not really remember the personal idioms I would use with my family, sibling, or others because I do not use them much anymore. However, I do use a lot of the personal idioms with my significant other. One of my favorite things with getting close with someone is that we can tell each other “Fuck you, ya dweeb” and it meaning you love each other. I wouldn’t really call it tough love, because there is not any sort of negative feelings to it, it outright means we love the other. Some of the other examples include, “hun, honey, love, cutie, bun/bunny, family” and loads more of disgustingly cute names, it’s great. On the other end we also call each other names like, “nerd, weeb, fuckin memer” and the list goes on. The different names erupt different feelings and emotions but both sides are positive. While the cutesy names are romantic and sweet, the others are playful and show trust.

I think the relationships where I have the least idioms are probably professional settings and family. I am not very close to my biological family, and I try to limit my contact. I know the idioms they go by but I do not want to use them. Such as with my parents, it is hard for me to even think of them as Mom, Dad, etc. and I more so think of formal terms like Mother or Father. An example of negative idioms would be “goblins”, which I call a couple of my abusers to help cope.

I do not think that personal idioms are only positive, they can be negative although they are positive for the most part in my case. I enjoy using (the positive) personal idioms, it creates a feeling of closeness with whoever you use them with – especially if both sides use it. My boyfriend is kind of stoic and has a harder time with vulnerable emotions but he uses more personal idioms and more often than I do, which I think is an interesting contrast.

I want to use more personal idioms with friends I have, but it is harder for me to use them unless I have gotten to know the person for a year or so. Maybe it is just me but once I learn someone’s name it takes a lot of uncomfortable effort to call them by a nickname, for most people I only use one name.


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Verbal Communication: Prompt 8

A language is more than just a way of speaking with others. It carries rich cultural context, long-held belief systems, and the many values and attitudes unique to it. Not only that, but many languages, like English, adopt words from other languages, including chauffeur from French, a cappella from Italian, doppelgänger from German, and countless more. If half of the world’s current 7,000+ languages were to go extinct, English would still suffer, resulting in less cultural history and a drop in diversity in the English language.

While English is far from extinction, an evolution of the language is entirely possible. Take Old English, for instance. Now an obsolete form of English, it evolved into what is now referred to as Middle English, followed by Early Modern English to our current Modern English. Each of these stages lasted 2-4 centuries before a complete evolution occurred. Even then, our Modern English language has countless dialects—American, Australian, British, Canadian, and many more. Considering all these different dialects and the lifespan of each English stage, it’s only a matter of time before future English speakers see another evolution.

Let’s imagine, however, that the English language is on the brink of extinction and a brand-new language has begun to take its place entirely. All English-speaking countries like England, the United States, and Australia would begin to lose the cultural context, traditions, beliefs, values, and dialects embedded deep within their language. The regulative and constitutive rules that govern the English language we know today would be replaced by that of the new one. As English dies out, we would have no other option but to learn the new language and prepare for the inevitable end. Thankfully, this worrisome scenario is not the case and we can continue to cherish all of the qualities of our language that make it unique and the context that accompanies it.


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Verbal Communication (Prompt #1)

Geneva, Octavia, Summer, Leilani, Collette, Beverly, Nova….

The list of names that I would change my legal name to is endless. Don’t get me wrong, I like the name that my parents picked out for me. The name Madeline is pretty, but I personally do not feel it fits me. It is a little too common for my taste. I mean it could be much worse; I could have been named Dick (if I was a dude) or freaking North West (no offense to Kim K). Although I am proud to be named after my great-grandmother, there are so many gorgeous and exotic names out there that I absolutely love. So, I would be lying if I said I never thought about legally changing my name. I would want a name that holds a strong meaning for me while also sounding unique. Like if someone were to ask what my name was and I said, “[insert unique name here],” they would say, “oh wow, I love your name! It is gorgeous!”

I know some people who don’t even think twice about their given name; but I am not one of them. Names are important; they are a part of your identity whether you like it or not. Even though I am not in love with my name, I would want to have my surname hyphenated when I get married. I couldn’t imagine having to write my full name and not write Rapella at the end. I would not be able to part with it. But I am not going to lie, people have made fun of my last name plenty of times. They misspell it, mispronounce it, and even leave out the last three letters which turns it into Rape. How lovely is that. Ya, it is so old.