Understanding semantics and semantic distortion in mass communication

There comes a moment in a communication process when there seem to be a change or twist is the intention of a message sent, causing a sort of misinterpretation or misunderstanding at the receiving ends. Such scenarios are often pegged Semantic distortions or semantic barriers in mass communication or human communication at large. It has many turns and twists to it, giving it a commonplace in communication barriers.

What is Semantics?

Originally,  Semantics as a word is crafted from a greek word ‘sema' which means sign. But in the contemporary interpretation  gives it the new nomenclature, ‘semantic'.

Semantic as its new meaning describes, is the study of the meaning, sign and symbol use for communication purposes. In essence, the use of semantics is the use of signs and symbols and gestures in communication.

Semantic distortion/ Semantic barriers

By semantic distortion or semantic barrier, it simply means a twist in the meaning of a sign language, symbol or body language. This also means misunderstanding or misinterpretation in nonverbal communication.

Why semantics in communication

People share meaning differently, interpret massages differently and perceive meaning differently. From language,  to culture, to signs and symbols, to body languages or gestures; people  give meaning to communication messages based on what it means to them or even how they choose to.

However, in mass communication or in human communication generally, it is very necessary that you understand jow best to share meaning the way the receiver would to avoid misinterpretation.

For example, a wave of hand could mean ‘bye' and could also mean ‘no' in another instance. Just like  kiss on the cheek means different things or maybe totally unaccountable in some climes.

By mere understanding what it means to the receiver first hand,  helps you know how to use semantics ie. Signs and symbols in communication.

Factors that influence semantic distortion or semantic barriers

There are as many factors that influence communication that influence semantic distortions.

  • Culture differences

  • Languages differences

  • Level of exposure

  • Perception or selective filtering of messages

  • Communication pattern

Communication however is said to be effective when there is a feedback. Be it oral or written communication or even semantics, you must take notice of the feedback you get as that tells how the receiver perceives the message to avoid , misunderstanding or misinterpretation

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