Types of semantic barriers
Semantic BarriersMost of the difficulties in communication arise because the same word or symbol means different things to different individuals. Perhaps you remember what happened to Shiny Abraham at the 1986 Asian Games at Seoul. Despite coming first by a very wide margin in the 800 m. Race, she was disqualified and lost her gold medal for having crossed the track at the place where she should not have gone. According to her she mistook the symbol, i.e., the colour of the flag. Whereas in our country the red flag indicates danger, in South Korea white flag is used for the same purpose. Misinterpreting the white flag which had been put up at that point, she crossed the track at the wrong place and suffered a setback.Words, which are in reality symbols representing a thing, an action or a feeling, can have several meanings. As explained earlier, words which represent concrete things, e.g., car or house, tend to be understood in the same way, while abstract words like merit, effectiveness or responsibility, tend to be interpreted by different persons in different ways. Difficulty in understanding may arise even in the case of ordinary words which have different contextual meanings. Lately such difficulties are being experienced increasingly by people working in international development field. One such problem arose in interpreting the meaning of the word 'steps'. In a training programme of health workers relating to the family health in Jamaica when a question "What are some of the steps that a mother should take to make sure that her baby keeps healthy ?" was asked, it was found that there was no response to it. The trainees who were accustomed to only one meaning of the word 'steps' based on their experience, could not just make any sense of the question.Semantic difficulty may arise because of unfamiliarity with words. For example, because of a word of some foreign language of which the receiver has no knowledge. A technical word may not create such a problem - it may be beyond the ability of the receiver to understand it.In order to make it effective, a communication must be put into words which are appropriate to the environment and mental framework of the receiver. This ensures the communication to be grasped properly and implemented effectively. A very interesting example of a communication made effective by the use of words appropriate to the environment in which they were used is provided by the following incident that took place in one of the agricultural states of the USA.A proposal for raising the salaries of the faculty members of an agricultural college was under discussion. The farmers' bloc was totally against giving the raise to the college teachers - they could not see why they should pay those college teachers $5000 a year just for talking 12 to 15 hours a week Faculty representatives made no headway in their negotiations until one of them who had some farming experience, got an inspiration."Gentlemen", he told the members of the administrative body, "a college teacher is a little like a bull. It's not the amount of time he spends. It's the importance of what he does!"Semantic barrier may further be created by body language being inconsistent with the verbal communication. A manager who praises the honesty and sincerity of his or her subordinate in a sarcastic tone creates doubts in the minds of the subordinate as to the course of action he or she should adopt in a given situation in future. The same kind of barrier is created by a divergence between the verbal language and the action language of the superiors. When action and language are used jointly the actions often have more powerful influence on other's actions than words do. A management may, for example, profess its belief in being guided solely by the merit of employees while making promotions. Yet if employees observe that in actual practice promotions are made on considerations other than merit, the management's professed policy is bound to be affected by a semantic barrier - it is not likely to communicate anything, only the actions will communicate and what they communicate will be contrary to what had been said in so many words.
When you say I love my children more than others.Depending upon where you give stress or which word has been stressed or emphasized the meaning changes