COM 200 Ashford University Week 1 Biased Language Communication Paper


Speak to two people in two different ways – 1) via phone or video chat and 2) through email, messenger, or phone texting. You will ask them the same set of questions and discuss the same topic – their birthday or vacation plans. You will ask them the following questions:

  1. What are you doing for your birthday or next vacation?
  2. What did you do last year?
  3. What do you want as a gift or what do you want to do while on vacation?

After your interaction, answer the following questions in the Week 1 Step 1 section of your Communication Notebook.

  1. How much time did each exchange take (roughly)?
  2. How well were the questions answered via phone or video chat?
  3. How well were the questions answered via email, messenger, or phone texting?
  4. How close did you feel to the person in the phone or video chat exchange?
  5. How close did you feel to the person in email, messenger, or phone texting exchange?
  6. Which interaction was most satisfying and why?


This week, you will choose from the options below to explore. When you have finished the write-up, add the content to your notebook and take the quiz.

Week 2 Exercise Instructions (choose one option):

Option 1: Violate a nonverbal cultural norm by doing one of the following:

  • Stand in the wrong direction, face someone, or sit down in an elevator, bus or even while in line at a store.
  • Wave to everyone as you walk down a busy street.
  • Shake the hands of as many people as possible when you greet them in the morning.

As you write about the experience, answer the following questions:

  • What do the norms that are usually followed in the elevator, bus or line try to establish, in terms of values or beliefs?
  • How does your experiment connect to one of the elements of nonverbal communication addressed in Bevan (e.g., haptics, proxemics, paralanguage or kinesics)?
  • How have you been trained to obey the nonverbal communication norms you normally follow?

Option 2: How gender might impact patterns of communication

Read Bevan on gender and communication. Then, ask two people (one male and one female) to allow you to record your conversations with them on your phone. Here are some themes you can discuss: the weather on that day, some news event you just heard about, or something going on in your or their family. Keep the conversation to 2 to 3 minutes. Then, listen to the recordings and make note of whether you hear the more masculine or feminine styles of communication outlined in Bevan.

In addition to what Bevan says, here are five features that are often found in more stereotypically “feminine” and “masculine” styles of communication:

Feminine Styles:

  • Tag questions (ending statements with phrases such as “isn’t it?” or “don’t you think?”). This is thought to undermine the speaker and demonstrate a lack of confidence.
  • Flowery language (phrases such as absolutely or precision of color or taste)
  • Hedging statements (mitigating assertiveness, including words such as “quite” or “at that time”)
  • Intensifiers (words such as absolutely or incredible)
  • Bonding (searching for common ground, agreement)

Masculine Styles:

  • Certainty (speaks as if from fact, rather than opinion)
  • Vulgarity/profanity
  • Sentence fragments/informality
  • Confrontation/argumentative
  • Interrupting

Did you find that you or the two people you spoke with illustrated any of these patterns of more masculine or feminine styles of communication? Write a one to two-paragraph summary of your results. Include some of the expressions you heard to demonstrate your key points.

Option 3: Stereotypes

As we have learned in Bevan, we use perceptual schemas to make sense of the world around us. These are central to communication, as they involve perception (taking in information into our minds through observing verbal and nonverbal cues), classification (putting information into categorical boxes in our minds), and then assigning meaning to those classifications, which are typically positive or negative. In this option, you will explore a broad category of schemas called “stereotypes.” To complete the task, do the following, using and citing Bevan as much as possible:

  • Define stereotypes, utilizing Bevan.
  • Explain how stereotypes are useful tools we use to make sense of the world and make choices.
  • Identify three common stereotypes and write a sentence that draws on them.
  • Explore why each stereotypical sentence can be destructive.
  • List some steps we can take to mitigate the negative impacts of stereotypes

The Communucation notebook which you will complete both these on are attach below


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