Chapter 2: Delivering Your Message

15 Conclusion

image of a woman with short curly hair and a pencil above her ear


Returning to Abe’s desire to learn more about informal conversation with colleagues in a Canadian context, what have you learned about language and communication that might help you be a good support for Abe’s learning?


Check Your Knowledge


Auxiliary – Auxiliary messages refer to the intentional and unintentional ways a primary message is communicated. This may include vocal inflection, gestures and posture, or rate of speech that influences the interpretation or perception of your message.
Connotative – The connotative meaning is often not found in the dictionary but in the community of users itself.
Context – Contextual rules govern meaning and word choice according to context and social custom.
Denotative – The denotative meaning is the common meaning, often found in the dictionary.
Doublespeak – Doublespeak is the deliberate use of words to disguise, obscure, or change meaning.
Euphemism – A euphemism involves substituting an acceptable word for an offensive, controversial, or unacceptable one that conveys the same or similar meaning.
Jargon – Jargon is an occupation-specific language used by people in a given profession.
Language – A system of symbols, words, and/or gestures used to communicate meaning.
Offensive Language – Some language is offensive and has no place in the workplace.
Primary – Primary messages refer to the intentional content, both verbal and nonverbal. These are the words or ways you choose to express yourself and communicate your message.
Secondary – Primary messages refer to the intentional content, both verbal and nonverbal. These are the words or ways you choose to express yourself and communicate your message.
Semantics – Semantic rules govern the meaning of words and how to interpret them (Martinich, 1996)
Slang – The use of existing or newly invented words to take the place of standard or traditional words with the intent of adding an unconventional, nonstandard, humorous, or rebellious effect.
Syntax – Syntactic rules govern the order of words in a sentence.
Triangle of Meaning – A model of communication that indicates the relationship among a thought, symbol, and referent and highlights the indirect relationship between the symbol and referent.

Additional Resources

Toastmasters International – Public speaking tips:

Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker is one of today’s most innovative authorities on language. Explore reviews of books about language Pinker has published.

The “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most famous speeches of all time. View it on video and read the text.

Visit Goodreads and learn about one of the most widely used style manuals, The Chicago Manual of Style.

Chapter References

All images used in this chapter (unless otherwise indicated) are licensed CC 0 from

Hayakawa, S. I., & Hayakawa, A. R. (1990). Language in thought and action. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Odgen, C., & Richards, I. (1932). The meaning of meaning: A study of the influence of language upon thought and of the science of symbolism. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace World.

Pearson, J., & Nelson, P. (2000). An introduction to human communication: Understanding and sharing. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.


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