Language Codes: The Basis of Effective Communication
When discussing language development, it is important to understand that interpersonal communication is composed of digital and analogical language codes (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, 1967). The components of digital codes are “arbitrary elements, e.g. rules of grammar, morphophonemic rules, or rules of addition, subtraction and multiplication” (Berger & Bradac, 1982). Another “important property of digital systems is the potential transformation of elements without loss of meaning” (Berger & Bradac, 1982). For this reason, digital codes are designed to express propositional meanings, and it is these propositional meanings that communicate a foundational understanding of the language as a whole. In other words, digital codes are the explicit information foundational to a student’s understanding of a foreign language (Berger & Bradac, 1982).
Analogic codes, on the other hand, “are continuous signals which vary exclusively in terms of intensity and duration” (Berger & Bradac, 1982). These “analogic signals convey information about strength of affect and nature of the relationship between the sender and the receiver of the signal” (Berger & Bradac, 1982; Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, 1967). Additionally, analogic and digital aspects of speech divulge information about communicators which is then used to assess the attitudes, values and background of the speaker (Berger & Bradac, 1982). In other words, it is the analogic signals that are contained within grammatical patterns of the language that communicate the functional meaning and cultural assumptions between speakers.