Pragmatics of Human Communication

Watzlawich, Beavin, Jackson

W.W. Norton & Co., 1967

CHAPTER 1 - The Frame of Reference

Phenomenon remains unexplainable as long as the range of observation is not wide enough to include the context of the situation.

Synatactics - channelling, coding, capacity, noise

Semantics - meaning

Pragmatics - effects of communication on behavior

Since pragmatics is main subject communication & behavior will be used interchangeably.

Focus in sender/receiver relation

Sensory perception band brain research has proved that only relationships and patterns of relationships can be noticed

Cybernetics: orgasimal growth or structure allowing both positive and negative feedback

a. Negative characteristics homeostasis (steady state)

b. Positive leads to change

Negative feedback then is input reintroduced to a system in order to decrease the output variation from some stated norm.

Stochastic process: chain where configurations or patterns in random systems becomes apparent. Stochastic processes show redundancy or constraint, two terms which can be used interchangeably with concept of pattern

But they do not state that these patterns need to have any symbolic meaning.

Metacommunication is communication system for discourse about communication itself.

CHAPTER 2 - Some Tentative Axioms of Communication

2.2 The impossibility of not communicating

Message - single communique (unit)

Interaction - series of messages between

Patterns of interaction

2.3 "Every communication has a content and a relationship aspect such that the latter classified the former and is therefore a metacommunication." (page 54)

2.4 "The nature of a relationship is contingent upon the punctuation of the communicational sequences between the communicants."

Dfn. analogic communication: it is virtually all nonverbal communication. Note: man only animal to use digital and analogue communication.

"Human beings communicate both digitally and analogically. Digital language has a highly complex and powerful logical syntax but lacks adequate semantics in the field of relationship, while analogic language possesses the semantics but has no adequate syntax for the unambiguous definition of the nature of relationships." (page 66)

return to books