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Elements of

Communication and the

Function of Language

Prepared by: Rachel Mae C. Abendan

What is Communication?
• Communication is a process.
• Communication occurs between two or more people [the speaker and the
• Communication can be expressed through words [verbal], actions
[nonverbal], or both at the same time.
Elements of Communication
1. Speaker
– the source of the information or message. He is the person
who sends his ideas to another person.

2. Message
- the information, ideas , or thoughts conveyed
by the speaker in words or in actions.
3. Encoding
- the process of converting the message into words , actions, or other
forms that the speaker understands.

4. Channel
- The medium of the means, such as personal or non-personal,
verbal or nonverbal, in which the encoded message is conveyed.
- There can be various forms of channel like media-face to face
communication, letters, radio, television, e-mail etc.
5. Decoding
- The process of interpreting the encoded message of the speaker by
the receiver.

6. Receiver
- the recipient of the message, or someone who decodes the message
7. Feedback
- The reactions, responses, or information provided by the receiver
8. Context
- The situation, environment or circumstances where communication
takes place
9. Barrier
- The factor that affect the flow of communication
Examples: loud noises, bad phone connections, language or attitudes about the topic or
speaker, the temperature and a broken hearing aid
Communication process consists of following steps:
(i) The sender formulates the message that he wants to convey to the receiver.
(ii) He encodes or translates his message. He may take the help of symbols,
words, actions, diagrams, pictures etc.
(iii) He selects an appropriate channel or medium through which the message
is to be transmitted. It can be face to face communication, letters, radio,
television, e-mail etc.
(iv) The message is received by the receiver.
(v) Received message is decoded by the receiver so that the receiver can draw
the meaning of the message.
(vi) The receiver sends his response to the sender. In case of any confusion,
the same is conveyed and necessary clarification sought.
Is effective communication
important? Why or Why not?
Importance of Communication:
Significance of communication can be understood from the following points:
1. Acts as Basis of Coordination:
• Communication helps in coordinating the activities of various departments and persons in
an organisation by providing complete information about organisational goals, ways of
achieving them, interpersonal relationship among persons etc. Hence, communication acts as
basis for coordination.
2. Helps in Smooth Working of an Enterprise:
• Communication ensures smooth functioning of an enterprise. Existence of an organisation
depends fully on communication. The activities of an organisation shall come to a standstill
if communication stops.
3. Acts as Basis of Decision Making:
• Communication helps in the process of decision making by providing all the necessary
information. In the absence of communication of relevant information, one cannot take any
meaningful decision.
Functions of Language
Actually, Geoffery Leech( 1974 ). Mentioned that language has five functions.
They are:
• Informational
• Expressive
• Directive
• Aesthetic
• Phatic
Informational function [information dissemination]

-which every one tends to assume is most important” Geoffery Leech(

1974 ). In fact, this function concentrates on the message. It is used to give
new information. It depends on truth and value.

Let us look at this example:

1. the car is big.
2. the bus is crowded.
Expressive function [Emotional expression]

-it can be used to express its originator’s feelings and attitudes –

swear words and exclamations are the most obvious instance of
this(Geoffery Leech,1974 ). The speaker or writer of this function
tries to express his feelings. He or she reflexes his or her
Examples: I am very happy.
I spent a wonderful vacation.

Note: We can see from this example that they reflex the feelings of the speaker or the writer.
Directive function [control]

-This function of social control places emphasis on the receiver’s end, rather than the
originator’s end of the message: but it resembles the expressive function in giving less
importance, on the whole, to conceptual meaning than to other types of meaning,
particularly affective and connotative meaning” Geoffery Leech( 1974 ).

Examples: I want a cup of tea.

Close the door.
Aesthetic function [motivation]

“the use of language for the sake of the linguistic artifact itself, and for
no purpose. This aesthetic function can have at least as much to do with
conceptual as with affective meaning” ( Leech,1974 ).
-Communication motivates or encourages people to live better by using a
language to express desires, needs, wants, likes and dislikes, inclination,
choices and aspirations.
Phatic function [Social Interaction]

-the function of keeping communication lines open, and keeping social

relationships in good repair Geoffery ( Leech,1974 ).

-Communication allows individuals to interact with others. In their daily

course of living, human being develop and maintain bonds, intimacy,
relations and associations.
How can we teach functions of language?

• Krashen and Terrell (1983) suggest that basic communication goals can be
expressed in terms of situations, functions and topics. It is up to the teacher
to plan the situations within which students will be able to use their language
for a purpose in the classroom context. For instance if the topic being
learned is family and relatives then the situation may be introductions or
visiting relatives. By creating a situation the teacher is providing the necessary
context students need to use the language for a function.