Language within Language
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Language within Language book
This chapter deals with verbal immediacy, or those variations which occur within speech itself. It explores the interactive effects of speech immediacy and context immediacy on the feelings that are inferred by an untrained observer. Verbal communications seem to have evolved to denote an “objective” world. Variations of selective emphasis are manifested in the order in which objects are introduced into a communication; the frequency, intensity, or extensity attributed to an event; and over- and under responsiveness to specific contents within a complex stimulus. The inference of negative affect from verbal statements that show dissimilarity is therefore consistent with well-established findings. One set of variations in speech literally describes the relationship between a speaker and the object of his communication in spatial or temporal terms. Temporal referents in speech are another source of nonimmediacy. Temporal relationships are most often expressed through verb tense. If the context allows some variation in tense usage, the specific tense used is interpretable.