Communication is the act of passing information, ideas, and instructions from one person to another or between groups of individuals. Communication is a vital necessity for the peaceful co-existence of the human race since it is a platform for creating understanding (Littlejohn and Karen 3). In the absence of proper communication, conflicts between people will arise leading to misunderstanding and hatred. Additional, when the information passed is not clear, or the environment has distractors to communication, then there is a high likelihood that instruction and ideas become distorted. Various types of communication exist, and their application can be used independently or collectively based on the nature of the message and the anticipated audience. Additionally, communication can take place at different levels based on the type of environment and the social class of the participants which will dictate the tone and type of communication.
Many models of communication exist which try to explain the various types and levels of interaction; scholars coined these models after research on communication. Communication serves different functions from directing, persuading, guiding, warning, entertaining, and commanding, which is dependent on the reason for conducting the process (Gouran, & Randy 82). To this end, communication is the backbone of human existence, and therefore, understanding the process of communication cannot be underestimated. To explore the concept of communication, investigations in this article will be based on an analysis of the first and second episodes of season one of the series film Orphan Black. This paper seeks to explain the verbal type of communication and analyze its application in the movie Orphan Black, further; the paper evaluates the function and models of this type of communication and traces their use in the film. Finally, the paper illustrates various communication levels and how they are applied to create flow and pass information in different scenes in Orphan Black regarding verbal communication. In a nutshell, this article explains the types, levels, models, and functions of verbal communication and the concept of self-disclosure.
Orphan Black is a television series that narrates the turnout of events and the subsequent outcome of biological cloning that was intended to create an authentic and super-intelligence human being to be used on the battlefield (Pence 5). The movies follow the lives and challenges of the clones, the struggles they undergo to hold their unity together after they discover they are sisters despite each having a different social life. The primary challenge facing the female clones in the movie is their inability to bear children; additionally, their immunity is compromised due to an abnormal genetic composition (Pence 7). The clone has to find a cure for their ailment which is a time bomb that threatens their existence; however, they have to trace the original gene that was used in the cloning process which proves to be an uphill task. An undercover militia is also killing the clones, while on the other hand, two powerful business units are fighting for the control of the clones (Pence 8).
Verbal Communication and its Application in the Movie
Communication can occur in various ways, each being unique to the medium, the environment in which communication is taking place, and the type of audience being addressed. Each type of communication has its unique way of relaying a message from the sender to the recipient and back to the sender if feedback is required (Littlejohn and Karen 7). Feedback is the reply to the information, and it forms a vital part of the communication process since it may result in a healthy discussion or it may lead to conflict. Verbal communication is a form of communication that involves the use of sound and precise words to pass information and instruction from the sender to the recipient. This is the most common form of communication and it takes place through various types of mediums depending on the kind of information and the geographical distance between the sender and the recipient. The communication medium is the equipment that is used to convey information; for example, mobile phones, radio, television, newspaper, billboard, letters, and sirens. The choice of a medium is critical in ensuring effective communication is achieved, the medium must be able to convey the information without distorting its meaning. The selection of the media for transmitting a message is also dependent on the preference of people involved in the communication activity and the availability of the medium.
Non-verbal communication is the type of communication that happens without the use of voice or sound; therefore, it capitalizes on the use of portraits, gestures, and signals (Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey, and Chua 22). The movie has instances of non-verbal communication; for instance, Felix signals Mrs. Hendricks that she should hide her identity because police are coming, and in this instance, there is no use of words. During the campaign period for the school representative aspirant use posters to pass their manifesto to the electorate.
Verbal communication can take place when the speaker and the audience are close to one another and therefore, lead to interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication is the exchange of information between people on a face-to-face basis meaning that they can physically see each other. Additionally, the process of encoding and decoding information is also very important in this type of communication since it may lead to the audience losing concentration or misinterpreting the message. Encoding is the process by which the sender of the information portrays the message, it is important for the sender to structure his sentences appropriately to avoid misinterpretation by the recipient (Short 234). On the other hand, decoding is the process of interpreting the message by the audience which forms the basis of how he will respond to the instruction in the message.
In the film, verbal communication has been employed using different mediums to pass both general and confidential information between characters. Sarah uses a telephone at the start of the movie to communicate to her foster mother that she has arrived in town and would be heading home. Verbal communication is used predominantly in every part of the film. Additionally, Dr. Korney who is a good public speaker uses her ability to convince the audience in the theater about the reality of neo-illusion. This is a complicated biological concept, but she uses her impressive medical communication knowledge and understanding of the concept to convey the information in a more refined manner. This is an indication that for effective communication, the sender of the information needs to have adequate knowledge about the subject he intends to address, this helps the speaker to gain the confidence of the audience.
Interpersonal communication is a concept that is associated with verbal communication; this concept is defined as the face-to-face interaction between people that has no formal limits (Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey, and Chua 46). Since has no boundaries, it leads to self-disclosure between the individuals concerned; a situation that is important in developing a good communication environment. Self-disclosure is the process of opening up and building an understanding of the personality and ideologies of an individual (Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey & Chua 67). The process of self-disclosure requires privacy and trust between the people involved since in most cases, information passed is confidential and requires secrecy. Additionally, self-disclosure leads to the development of close contact and relationship between the individuals involved. During the process of self-disclosure, the sender and the recipient need to be attentive and maintain active non-verbal communication to ensure that one party is not destructed from the conversation. Body language during this process plays a significant role in the success of the communication process. When the message passed is shocking or disgusting, the receptionist must remain focused least the sender will terminate the conversation (Short 227).
In the film, instances of self-disclosure prevail in most of the scenes because the clones need each other’s support for their survival. Sarah, one of the clones and also the protagonist in the film visits Felix, her adopted brother to discuss her ordeal in the hands of drug dealers who she has been working for. Before the discussion starts, she searches the house to ensure there is nobody because the information is very confidential and only Felix should know about it. This is an indication that a conducive and enabling environment is required to propagate verbal communication and more precisely self-disclosure. Further, when she narrates to Felix that the drug lords had undressed her, Felix is annoyed, and he starts to protest, this distracts Sarah who then walks out and leaves; the conversation does not resurface again. Therefore, it is necessary for the receiver of the information to record the message, but at the same time, remain focused regardless of the magnitude and intensity of the information. In another instance, police officer Elizabeth Child referred to as Beth, receives a phone call from her clone sister Kassima, who is pursuing post-graduate research on genetics. Kashima tells Beth that there is something she needs to tell her but first she must promise not to judge her. The scene is a manifestation that self-disclosure can occur through a medium without the sender and the recipient being physically near each other. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of the environment to the process of interpersonal self-disclosure. Kashima tells Beth that she is a lesbian, this information comes as a shock to Beth but she manages to remain composed and calm. Her reaction to the information results in improved confidence that Kassima develops in her, she trusts her and feels that she is the right person to reveal her personal life and challenges.
Functions of communication
Communication has numerous functions depending on the purpose of the sender and the predetermined intention of the message. Just like all the other forms of communication, verbal communication is used to educate on various issues. In this function, a public speaker utilizes communication to raise awareness about a particular issue. To train, public speakers must have adequate knowledge about the subject they intend to handle; this ensures that they capture the confidence of the audience. Additionally, having proper information about the issue will enhance the confidence of the speaker (McQuail & Sven 41). Secondly, the speaker must have a good understanding of the audience to be addressed regarding their academic background, opinion about the issue, and the language they understand best. When the speakers understand their audience, it enables them to know the way of passing out information that will not be complicated and challenging for the public to understand. Educative communication must present information in a sequential manner to make sure the recipient grasps the message. In the movie, educative communication is used when Dr. Korney, addresses the students and interested individuals about the issue of neo-illusion. During the public speech, Dr. Korney has a good command of the topic; he illustrates it in a transparent manner that his audience remains keen throughout the entire lecture.
Additionally, despite the subject being a medical issue, the doctor uses simple basic terms and illustrations; therefore, taking care of the non-medicine audience. Further, the doctor enhances his lecture by the utilization of a projector displaying images and symbols associated with neo-illusion. This is a technique that is of importance in educative communication since it ensures that information remains in the minds of the audience even after they are out of the lecture hall. However, the use of graphical display must be evaluated to ensure that it does not destruct the audience by diverting their attention from the speaker to the screen.
In educative communication, other non-verbal forms of communication may either enhance or destroy the process of communication. The postures and gestures used must be selected carefully; this is because they may pass messages that oppose the information being transmitted by the speaker and therefore, lead to poor communication (McQuail and Sven 79). Maintaining eye contact is also paramount in the process of public speaking and any other form of verbal communication. Eye contact enables the speaker to have a rough judgment about the concentration and keenness of the audience and assess if the information being passed is confusing or complicated. In the film, Dr. Korney utilized this aspect of non-verbal communication to make a good performance which most of the audience commented on after the encounter. However, depending on the context and the field of specialization, scholarly communication has different language dialects that are specific and unique to that particular area. In that case, any person who is naive about the area may not understand the information or may misinterpret the message.
In the film, when Kashima, calls Sarah to explain a medical condition that she has been researching and the progress of the study, she uses complicated medical terms and abbreviations. Sarah responds by telling Kassima she is not a medical specialist and she has not understood anything. However, while in the laboratory the researcher communicates using the terms and other terminologies with ease because it is in their field of expertise. In another scenario, Mrs. Hendricks who is involved in the sale of drugs, while in a conversation with another drug dealer uses common words like letter, package, flour, and stone; however, the use of these terms does not imply the standard meaning, but each of the word and expression has a hidden meaning that is known to the people involved in that field. This is one of the interesting things about verbal communications, it is diverse and universal words and expressions can be used to mean a different and very unique thing.
Another role of communication is to instruct, in this function, the amount of information provided is usually precise and direct to the point. Additionally, the sender of the message does not require a reply but expects action regarding the instruction given and therefore, the communication is authoritative. In most cases, individuals at higher levels are responsible for giving instructions to their juniors who are supposed to reason and analyze the information fast and proceed to effect it. Other functions of verbal communication include inquiring, informing, warning, and entertaining.
Models of Verbal Communication
Models are theories that seek to explain the process of communication with an emphasis on the channel followed by the communication process (McQuail and Sven 55). Verbal communication, like other types of communication, follows the ideology of a particular model. The Linear Model also referred to as the Shannon- Weaver model explains communication as a process that follows a defined part; that is sender-medium-receiver (Gouran, Dennis, and Randy 81). This model explains that for communication to occur, there must be a source of the message who is the sender of the information; secondly, there must exist a medium through which the message is relayed. The stipulates that communication ends with the recipient getting the information. The Interactive Model is an improvement of the Linear Model, this theory is a combination of two linear models. The theory stipulates that information must originate from the sender, through a medium to the recipient who will analyze the information and convey a reply to the source (Gouran, Dennis, and Randy 83).
In the movie, a linear model of communication is evident in the Criminal Investigation Department where Beth works. Beth and other police officer are given instructions by their seniors, they receive the information and act without giving responses. While on patrol, the police communicate with other agents by the use of a police call device which utilizes this theory of communication. The interactive model of communication is the most dominant theory of communication in the film with several casts being dominated by this model. When Kashima calls Sarah to inform her of the progress of her research, the type model of communication is evident if the Interactive model.
Communication in the movie is also taking place both horizontally and vertically at different levels. Horizontal communication is where people of the same social level communicate with one another, on the other hand, vertical communication occurs between people of different social classes. In the movie, vertical communication happens at the Criminal Investigation Department between security officers from various ranks; In the research laboratory, the communication between the students and their professor is vertical communication. Horizontal communication occurs between the clones since they are at the same social level.
Verbal communication is a vital part of the existence of the human race; additionally, it ensures the peaceful coexistence of humans. However, if the information is not translated in the correct manner then it leads to conflict, or it may result in the information being distorted and therefore, the intended purpose cannot be met. Verbal communication can occur in various contexts depending on the nature of information and the type of audience being addressed. Interpersonal communication is a vital component of verbal communication; it leads to self-disclosure. The context in which information is relayed is important in cultivating healthy verbal communication; this is dominant in scholarly communication where most fields have their language dialect. Additionally, verbal communication can be among people of the same social status, and this is referred to as horizontal communication or between people of different social ranks giving rise to vertical communication. Orphan Blackmovie applies both verbal and non-verbal communication to come up with a film that depicts the daily struggles of individuals.
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