Context refers to the setting in which communication takes place. The context helps establish meaning and can influence what is said and how it is said. There are at least four aspects in regards to this idea: physical, cultural, social-psychological, and temporal. We are going to start by defining the context of the communication and then we will see a couple of examples to make it clear what we are referring to.
In a communicative system, the context is a set of circumstances that accompany the communication itself.
That is, we are referring to various factors that condition communication. Perhaps the most important is the space and time in which it takes place. But the culture of the sender who sends the message is also basic, as is that of the receiver, who will be the one who receives it, etc.
However, we will not always know exactly the context of the communication. Let’s look at an example: Paco is gone. We can see that in this message there is not enough information to be able to contextualize where the communication occurs, for example, or the place where it is taking place.
However, let’s see another message: Paco has left, but has come home a while ago to talk to his mother. Here we do observe information about the context since Paco has spoken with his mother at home again, so we know that this person is at home, the context where communication with his mother takes place.
Examples of the communication context
Let’s look at other examples of the communication context to make it easier to identify it in any sentence:
- Juan is passing notes on paper with Ana while they take the test in science class . We can see that the context is an exam that takes place in the science class, probably referring to the timetable and the classroom itself. That is the context.
- Juana is talking to her friend Maria from her room and her phone is busy . We observe that the context is Juana’s room, the space where the conversation is taking place. However, it is incomplete, because we do not know where Mary is, who receives the message.
- Manolo has stopped his car right in front of a red light in front of a clothing store . This sentence has a lot of useful information to know the context, which would be a car in which Manolo is driving and which is located in front of a traffic light that is in an area where there is a clothing store.
Context, element of communication
Since we have defined the context and seen examples of it, it is important to know that it is an element of communication, as we discussed at the beginning of this lesson.
Communication or communicative action is a process of transmitting and receiving information. That is, another participates in a message or something that one has. Therefore, it can occur between humans, animals, and even machines such as computers.
Communication has a series of elements without which it would be impossible. These are:
- The context itself, as we have already commented and defined.
- The sender, which is the person, animal, or machine that emits a message to another machine, animal, or person.
- Receiver, who is the actor who receives the broadcast message, and who can also be human, animal, or inanimate.
- Message: it is the information that the sender has sent to the receiver to share.
- Referrer: it is the reference, that is, the content itself of the message.
- Channel: it is the medium used for communication, which could be the air if you speak face to face, a mobile phone, a Smartphone application, a written letter, etc.
- Code is the language or set of signs used to convey the message.
We hope you have understood the Communication context examples.