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CS101 /CP2016

CS101: BASIC COMMUNICATION


SKILLS

MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY


COMMUNICATION SKILLS CENTRE
Assignment Cover Page

Surname: NDLOVU ____ Name(s): BRIDGET NOTHABO


Registration Number: R164691V Mode of Entry (Con/Para/Vis) CON_______

4
201

CENTRE

COMMUNICATION

Programme: _BACHELOR OF LAWS__Level_1___Semester__1__


CS101: BASIC COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Lecturer: MR. SAIDI, U.


Topic/Question:
LISTENING IS TWICE AS HARD AS TALKING. DISCUSS. [30MARKS]
Due Date_07/04/16_
Lecturers Comments:

...

In this essay, the writer seeks to discuss the common adage Listening is twice as hard as
talking in detail. The writer will define listening as well as talking thus also pointing
out differences amongst them if any .The writer would also expatiate on the different
types of listening and the roles played by them in ones life as they are crucial to any
living creature but at the same time not out ruling the importance of talking as one
cannot listen to nothing but need sound waves which are usually voices. To add on, the
writer will conclude in a summary manner thus stating key points discussed in the essay
and providing a reference list.
To commence with, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines to listen
as to pay attention to what someone is saying or to sound that you can hear, with this
aforesaid definition , it evidences that it is a comprehension of sounds which needs
mental effort. Listening is a skill that needs attention, much concentration and can be
stored in the long term or short memory of the brain hence thus distinguishing it from
hearing. On the other hand, hearing is a passive process which simply does not involve

the processing of sounds. Reference to support is Steinberg (1994) who also articulates
that hearing is genetically attained thus meaning that it is inborn and not acquired.
In connection, people have tended to confuse or misinterpret the words listening and
hearing per say. Hearing is a passive process and anyone who has undergone normal
socialization and his or her ears are biological functioning well , possesses it .In hearing
one can simply receive sounds but do not process them. Gamble and Gamble (2010) also
is also of the same view as evidenced by these words hearing is a process that occurs
automatically and requires no conscious effort.On the other hand listening is an
active process and Severin et al (1983) defines a skill as something which involves
fundamental learnable techniques. Listening takes a lot of effort, attention, concentration
and includes whole body involvement especially the ears which source the sounds.
Listening can be defined as to attach meaning to the stimuli received by our brain for
instance one can say I did not hear what are saying but literally would have heard but
failed to understand. Therefore with this aforesaid information at hand, it gives a
glimpse on the differences between hearing and listening.
Further still, on the same aspect, listening is suggested to be difficult as it involves
several procedures before it can be concluded as listening. Brownwell, (2006) is also of
the same view as he also articulates that listening has a number of interconnected stages
as shall be discussed in this essay respectively. The stage known as Receiving is the
reception of noises and this involves two types of stimuli which are internal and
external. Internal stimuli includes pain and hunger whereas external stimuli includes
things such as spoken words and even written material. Another stage is known as
Understanding and Interpretation which has its core on the factors such as status,
culture, interest, level of intellectual and the participants being familiar with the
language. This stage also involves verbal and non- verbal cues. Verbal cue is the spoken
language whereas non-verbal cues can be defined as body language such as gestures, eye
contact, body movements and facial expressions.
In addition, verbal cues are a crucial aspect of listening. These include accent which at
times can hinder one from listening, for instance if a man residing in Britain with British
accent would arrive in a native African country and try to teach a grade seven pupil
English language, what would happen? The boy would hear the words spoken by this
British man but fail to understand because one would be trying listen at the same time
deducing some sense. At the end the boy would act as evidence that there are barriers

that thwart one to listen effectively. Bloomfield (2010) asserts that pronunciation can be
variant in the spoken manner and written language .Hence this shows that certainly
listening is twice as hard talking.
Another barrier that can also hinder listening is cultural background. Cultural
background has an influence upon ones life for instance if a Ndebele speaking person
would use Ndebele idioms such as UTshaka usekhaya which translates as Tshaka is in
our home, the receiver would hear the words but fail to deduce the meaning which is
listening whilst the meaning would be the witch is at home. The Ndebele clan got this
the idiom from their antiquity ages when Tshaka was their king and used to kill people.
Vandergrift (2007) is also of the same view as he denotes that listeners use pragmatic
knowledge, which is often culturally bound to make inferences and determines the
speakers implied meaning Hence this evidences that listening is difficult even if the
receiver would managed to hear the words uttered but failed to deduce the meaning.
Vocabulary and grammar also act as a hindrance towards listening. People have a
tendency of using colloquial language which makes it harder for the listener to deduce
the meaning of the spoken words, for instance use of words such as a chick for a girl
and a dude for a boy. The use of informal language differs from society to society for
instance people living in low density suburbs have their own informal words compared
to the people living in high density suburbs. Suppose these people with differing
colloquial languages were to engage together, they would hear each other but fail to
deduce the meaning of the words as they at times contrast. Thus showing vocabulary
and grammar can be an obstacle towards listening.
Non verbal cues are also play pivotal role in the transmission of the message from the
speaker to the receiver thus including body gestures. One should also interpret the body
gestures so as to understand the words uttered for example one can should look at the
body language, the persons demeanour , the tone so as to deduce the meaning. The nonverbal cues help especially in situations of language barrier because one can easily
deduce the meaning without the speaker uttering a word. A relevant example is when
one was in a foreign land at the bus rank and was paying for a ticket and gave the bus
conductor money which was coming short and all the bus conductor had to do was to
simply show the person a ten dollar note and raised two fingers. This example evidences
that if one fails to understand the non-verbal cues which needs much concentration and
attention thus one failing to understand the message sent unto them thus also

emphasizing on the point that indeed listening is twice as hard as talking as much effort
is needed as its not all about hearing but seeing the meaning.
Moreover, eye contact and facial expressions play a fundamental role in the listening
process. Both facial expressions and eye contact are crucial because they create
connection between the receiver and the speaker. Facial expressions can report to the
speaker that the listener is listening or not however the speaker should not base on the
fact that one is looking at him or her as the receiver can be practising pseudo listening
which is pretending to be listening whilst not and also ones approval on the subject
matter . Thus having this connection, the receiver would be in a better position to
deduce the meaning of the words being uttered. Hence without the eye contact and facial
expressions which simply detects the message that one is listening, one would just fail to
understand the message being sent therefore evidencing that listening needs more effort
and the imperativeness of non-verbal cues.
One is also encouraged to be quiet when someone else is talking .This theological view
is also expatiated by Epictetus (n.d) who articulates that the reason why God gave us
two ears and one mouth is due to the fact that listening is twice as hard as talking. One is
encouraged not to plan their responses whilst the receiver is still speaking in order to
understand everything that is said. Kristin (n.d) states that people listen at rate of 125 to
250 per minute but think at a rate of 1000 to 3000 per minute thus evidencing that it
takes much concentration for to listen as compared to talking. Therefore talking whilst
someone is speaking can be an obstacle to proper listening thus backing up the adage
listening is twice as hard as talking.
In order for a successful listening process, the receiver is recommended not to be self
-centred and should not interrupt even in a polite manner whilst the speaker is still
talking as this would appear as if the listener is not interested and ones mind would
wander. Covey (1989) denotes that people listen not to understand but to reply which
hinders one from making sense from the spoken words. Hence with this affirmation, one
can deduce that indeed listening is twice as hard as talking as much effort , attention and
patience are all required for effective listening.
Further still, distractions also act as barriers to effective listening. As alluded by Borne
(1988) distractions affect our ability to listen well because of their variety, novelty or
intensity. There are two types of distractions and these are internal and external. Internal
distractions are said to involve psyche and physiology. Day dreaming is also a hindrance

towards effective listening and with it ones mind tends to wander away from what is
being said before him or her. There are many leading factors which cause one to
daydream and these include tiredness, hunger, anxiety, and stress. Therefore with this
aforementioned information, its evidences that listening is twice as hard as talking as
they are many barriers towards it.
External distractions are defined as factors that the listener cannot have immediate
control over them and these include physical noise, lack of privacy, poor handwriting
and cultural differences. Thus these external distractions act as a barrier towards
effective listening for instance one cannot the control the noise of a thunderstorm , he or
she will just have to adapt to that noise hence leading to less concentration thus
evidencing that listening is difficult because with such disturbances as it would be
difficult for one to concentrate and pay much attention.
Nevertheless, talking should not be out ruled because for listening to take place there
should be sounds and mostly these are human voices thus showing its imperativeness.
Scholars like Kline (1996) tend to underscore the difficulties faced by one when talking
as evidenced by this quotation from the authors book which states that listening is
twice as hard as talking.
Similarly to listening , talking have its barriers such as lack of confidence , if one lacks
this ability it might lead him to experience difficulty in producing sounds and most often
stammer the words and would not be able to stand in front of big crowds. This ability is
not usually inborn but taught as one grows up. Low self-esteem can also contribute to
lack of confidence. Hence thus showing that even talking have its own barriers.
Moreover, people enjoy talking more than listening thus the common adage think
before you talk because talking does not need much effort as one can just the utter
words even absent minded.
In conclusion, listening is twice as hard as talking as evidenced in the above essay that
there are many barriers in listening and even the listening process which needs much
concentration and effort thus classifying it as an active process whilst talking is more of
a passive process as not much energy or concentration is needed and that is the reason
why people in most cases tend to utter senseless sentences or words as they would be
absent minded. Hence with this aforementioned information, as a student am also
inclined to this view that indeed listening is twice as hard as talking.

REFERENCE LIST
Bloomfield , A. , Wayland, S.C Rhoades , E. Blodgett , A . Linck , J and Ross , S (2010)
Factors affecting second language comprehension ,College Park : University of
Maryland
Borne , D . (1988) The Business of Listening , Los Altos : Crisp Publications, Inc.
Brownell , J (ed) (2006) skills , Listening : Attitudes , Principles and Skills , Boston :
Allyn and Bacon
Epictetus (n.d) Epictetus Quotes , Available at
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/epictetus1062 98:html , Date Accessed : 05 April
2016
Gamble ,T.K and Gamble , M (2010) Communication For Personal and Proffession
Content , Lincolinwood :Clark Publishing Inc

Kline, J . A (1996) Listening Effectively, Albama : Air University


Severin ,W . J and Tenkard , J . (1981) Communication , Theories, Methods and Uses in
the Mass Media , London : Longman