expressive communication

Quick Reference

Any communication in which the primary function is to express or arouse emotion (respectively sender-oriented or receiver-oriented modes), or in which the mode of expression (e.g. textual form) is characterized more by connotation than denotation, unlike referential communication (see informational communication; referentiality). These three meanings (as related to the sender, to the receiver, and to textual features) are rarely separable. Expressive, emotive, or affective language ranges from swearing to love poetry. Gender stereotypes often frame expressive (as opposed to instrumental) communication as a feminine style (compare relational communication). Theories influenced by the primacy of language in structuralism often problematize the sender-oriented notion of expression by arguing that rather than expressing ourselves in language, human beings are expressed by language. Compare affective communication.

Subjects: Media Studies.

Reference entries