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Som (সোম)
Communication versus language
This is the distinction between the purpose / task / skill versus the tool. What we do with any language is to communicate, and this is where communication stands out as a skill all by itself. Some excel at it while others "could do with a lot of improvement" to put it very mildly.

Have you seen people who are pathetic in communicating anything even in their very own native language? I have seen many and still see them regularly in real life and in the cyber domain. Poorly framed thoughts, lack of focus, inability to attract interest and poor written and spoken language skills all go as the ingredients of the malady. I daresay even education isn't a cure for this; I've seen many supposedly educated people who are lousy at any kind of communication.

It therefore stands to reason that one should first develop basic skills in communication and coherent thinking. These skills are vitally important but just as rare. My question to you: regardless of the language, what do you think are the basic skills in the repertoire of a good communicator?
28 de abr de 2020 18:10
Comments · 6
I've been working through a translation course online and came across Grice's maxims, which describe "rules that operate in normal co-operative conversation." I liked them so much that I bookmarked the page (real book, real page, real bookmark). I've never had any reason to share them but I think they'd be very relevant here. I often think of them as "guidelines for communication" and as such, I feel like they fit my notion of "basic skills in the repertoire of a good communicator":

Grice's maxims
1. Quantity: Give the amount of information that is necessary. Do not give too much or too little.
2. Quality: Say only what you know to be true or what you can support.
3. Relevance: What you say should be relevant to the conversation.
4. Manner: Say what you need to say in a way that is appropriate to the message you wish to convey and which (normally) will be understood by the receiver.

According to the book (Introducing Translation Studies by Jeremy Munday), Paul Grice was a "philosopher of language." I like Chase's point that "listening to understand" is so important, as a communicator can't meet any of Grice's maxims unless they've taken the time to listen and understand the other person. It'd be nice if there were an equivalent to Grice's maxims for the listener's side of a conversation, but as far as I know, there isn't one.
28 de Abril de 2020
Hello Som,

I dig the discussion topic! I'd like to offer just one basic skill:

Listening to understand. Usually this involves being able to paraphrase what the other person has said in order to make sure that you understood them as they wished to be understood.

I believe developing this skill (and the language skills required to perform it) would be a good start.

Take care,


28 de Abril de 2020
Wow, these are really good, Grace! I never knew them explicitly as a set, though I know all of them individually (the first is known as the need to know principle). The fact that I didn't know these hardly surprises me. It only proves that an individual can only know a small fraction of what there is to know. To this one might add "thinking in the other person's skin", which partially overlaps with the relevance point.
29 de Abril de 2020
You are right, Chase. Listening is one of those rare skills. We hear bit don't listen, instead we are too busy trying to frame a reply on what we think the other person is saying. That's why we fail to attract any interest, and not being confident doesn't help either. Unless we listen we shall never get what an audience finds interesting and to tailor the communication accordingly.
28 de Abril de 2020
It is a trainable skill, Anton, like any other. Being a decent communicator isn't really rocket science, but more a matter of common sense and confidence. For some reason, both of those are relatively rare. Most people fail at the very first step: they fail to identify what would be interesting to a significant number of other people. What fails to interest, dies before it's born.
28 de Abril de 2020
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Som (সোম)
Language Skills
Bengali, English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish