The discussion focuses on the significance of interpretation in languages and literature, paying particular attention to the concept of oral presentations, performance behavior, and bodily actions. The authors introduce the discussion by providing a historical context of body language and interpretation. The idea of interpretation is fundamental to scholars and researchers, speakers, and other audiences that depend on presentations to acquire information and knowledge in various life aspects. Therefore, this article emphasizes the significance and use of the body in oral interpretations. However, Gehrke and William fault the existing literature for not paying sufficient attention to the relationship between the body and voice (190). The authors argue that numerous textbooks that can be traced back to the beginning of the discipline exhibit limited devotion to discussions regarding voice and body.
In addition to the limited dialogues, the article also claims that the existing literature provides generalized conclusions and emphasizes giving learners exercises that empower them with interpretive skills (Gehrke & William 190). The argument then transitions to modern literature and its presentation of the relationship between voice and body. The article notes differences and similarities between the previous and the more current literature. The primary similarity is the emphasis that, based on science, being a good interpreter makes one an excellent communicator because the art of communication improves interpretive skills (Gehrke & William 191). However, this arouses whether empowering learners with interpretive skills implies having good interpretive skills or makes them impersonators.
The authors also note key differences between past and current literature regarding interpretation as a skill. A critical difference between interpretation skills in the past and the contemporary literature is the emphasis on the weakening of suggestion as to the prominent oral presentation style of performance (Gehrke & William 191). The chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of the body’s use in oral presentations by analyzing the differences between past and current literature.
Listening Research in the Communication Discipline
Listening is another critical component of communication whose research has evolved through time. This chapter captures the evolution of listening, with particular attention to the historical development of research in this area. Although some sources claim that Dr. Ralph Nicholas is the father of hearing research, the authors that the information is incomplete because there is evidence that listening research is as old as the discipline and the oldest related profession (Gehrke & William 207). According to the reading, listening research is a broad and complex discipline that expands beyond media theory and public address interpersonal communication. The chapter outlines its purpose as mapping out the intersections between media theory and interpersonal communication, which will provide more insights into the dimensions listening research may take in the 21st century.
In exploring the history of listening research, the authors acknowledged that they encountered historiographical and conceptual challenges related to the discipline, indicating that there are other areas of contention in communication studies. The conceptual problem arises from issues related to definitions and the emphasis that the description puts on a concept. For example, ILA’s definition of listening shifts attention from hearing to listening to depict that it is possible to hear an array of messages without listening (Gehrke & William 208). The emphasis on active and conscious awareness of a recipient’s message is a prime distinction between the concept of hearing and listening, which is another distinction that listening research showcases throughout its history. The analysis proves that scholars in this field omit particular activities related to hearing or add critical components absent in other disciplines to achieve an acceptable definition and distinction between listening and hearing (Gehrke & William 208). The lack of a difference indicates the conceptual challenges scholars face in providing a specific description of the two concepts.
However, over the years, listening research scholars have adopted a pragmatic approach to defining the concept of listening. The definitions have been refined through synthesis and analysis to show some variations and improvements in research. The analysis reveals that most reports focus on presenting listening as an intentional behavior similar to writing, reading, and speech (Gehrke & William 209). This approach attracts questions regarding the prospects of emerging definitions for listening and how they may affect future listening research. The discourse also arouses queries regarding dimensions that scholars can introduce to delineate the concept of listening.
The chapter also explored the historiographical challenge that scholars experience when researching the concept of listening. According to Gehrke and William, drafting the history of listening research is challenging because the history of its absence would overshadow these efforts (213). The lack of substantial historiographical information about listening research has derailed its contributions to the literature. The chapter addresses this challenge by analyzing previous tensions regarding the concept of listening, which presumed that audiences are passive speech recipients (Gehrke & William 208). The authors also turned to mid-century research to study listening as behavior by drawing knowledge from best practices from communication movements during wartime. The research concluded that while listening research has made significant strides over the years, there is a need for further developments that will act as the backdrop and link to future research.
Gehrke, Pat J., and William M. Keith. A Century of Communication Studies: The Unfinished Conversation. Routledge, 2015.