Inference is an essential component of meaning-making and being understood. Since people communicate far more meaning than they ever encode and decode linguistically their meaning must be inferred by the listener. In fact, it is arguable that all human communication, including non-verbal communication, is inferential.
Utterances in conversation are prone to being overlapped. Overlaps are interpreted either as inadvertent overlap or as violative interruption (deliberate interruptions) dependent on whether or not they appear at a transition relevance place (TRP), i.e. a place where the turn at talk may legitimately transfer to another speaker.
The encode-decode model states that the thing which makes communication possible is a common language. However, there are several problems with this simple account. For instance, human communication is not typically conducted in a linear, stepwise fashion. Also, the model does not take into account how people both create and process meaning.
Utterances in conversation are prone to being overlapped. There are several remedies for interruptions, including dropping out, competitive allocation, recycling, using non-verbal gestures, subordinating and listing.
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Situational variables are factors that may influence communicative behavior. The physical and social surroundings, timing, reasons for communicating and individual physiological and mood states can affect language choice in any particular situation.
Non-verbal communication uses several components to intentionally or unintentionally pass messages to others. Some of these components are static, i.e. they do not change during the course of an encounter. Static non-verbal communication components include such things as hair color, body shape and cosmetic makeup.
The encode-decode model of communication implies that if a speaker and listener both share the same code – a common language – then communication is possible. Language allows humans to translate thoughts into strings of sounds, syllables and words, and to translate strings of sounds, syllables and words into thoughts. There are, though, a number of difficulties with this model as applied to human communication.