COMPOSITION AND COMMUNICATION THEORY
Composition and Communication Theory The purpose of composition is to communicate. Anything we will ever write is some kind of communication. The term “Communication” covers the menu at a restaurant, the words scratched on a wall, a newspaper headline, a lyric poem, etc. Also read an interesting article on Writing
Before any form of communication is begun there has to be a stimulus. It is this stage at which a need arises for someone to start the encounter or at which an Idea is born. The person who initiates the encounter is one who receives the stimulus and responds to it. He Is called the encoder, source or transmitter of the message. He gets the message ready by selecting codes or symbols he shares with the target audience. If he does not choose the right code (language), communication will not take place.
That stimulus which the encoder transmits is called the message. It is a compendium of the thoughts, attitudes, ideas, needs or intentions sent to the receiver by the encoder. This poses an auspicious challenge on the encoder and requires him to plan properly what to say or write, select appropriate symbols for encoding the message, present the message clearly, and ensure that the climate in which the message is being transmitted is suitable.
The form in which the sender transmits the message is called the medium or the channel. The medium or channel could be oral, written or non-verbal. Non-verbal medium is communication through gestures or body language. In this book, we are concerned with the written medium.
The group, person or audience who receives and responds to the message is the decoder. The more things the encoder and decoder have in common the greater the chances that communication will take place between them. Before sending a message, the encoder must ensure that the decoder is prepared to take part in the communication encounter.
Feedback occurs when the decoder interprets the codes or symbols used and reacts to them. His reaction may be positive or negative depending on his level of understanding and the effect of the message on him. negative reaction may also be as a result of the existence of noise, that is, that which obstructs or reduces the fidelity of communication. Although noise could be physical or psychological, the type of noise that bothers the writer mostly is linguistic noise. This could occur as a result of the wrong choice of words or the use of words with unfamiliar meaning (semantic noise), faulty sentence construction or the mis-application of rules of language and/or mechanics (grammatical noise), etc.
This Shannon – Weaver Model of communication is very useful in explaining what is involved in the job of writing. This is because It does not concentrate entirely on what is in the paper-stalks about topic sentences, concrete detail, exemplification and the like. Rather, it focuses on people – the writer and his audience—involved in a composition. A communication theory that is broad based enough to encompass all the considerations of authorship, audience and material is used to situate the art and craft of writing in its proper context
WHAT IS COMPOSITION?
Composition is a process of bringing ideas together and carefully arranging them for the purpose of achieving unity and beauty In what we have created. From Its etymological meaning, it is derived from the verb compose, that is, to put together words or ideas. Thus we compose a song, a poem, or musical notes. Composition and essay as forms of writing are used interchangeably. In the writing of essays, we place together those ideas and words in such a way that our language affects our readers. Hence, both the language we use in the essay, and how it is employed will determine how well our essay reads. Essays are not just written, they are composed.
According to Montaigne (in Ekpa, 1997), essay signifies a brief loosely structured prose work, which has a personal style and is often written in an informal way. ft has also been defined as a relatively short, self-contained piece of non-fiction prose which has the aim of Informing, persuading or entertaining Its reader.* Seen from this rhetorical perspective, and applied to modem writing, an essay would refer to speeches, treatises, sermons and other such discourse forms which could cover a variety of subjects, it is also expected to maintain a particular tone as well as style. The focus adopted in this book, however, goes beyond these definitions. For our purposes here, we shall see an essay as any writing, limited in scope, written on a specific topic and composed in the form of prose. Thus we are going to consider the fundamentals of composing the following kinds of essays:
- Descriptive essay
- Narrative essay
- Expository, essay
- Argumentative essay
- Persuasive essay
Others kinds of writing to be considered include:
- Specialized and technical writing
- Summary and precise writing
- Creative writing
- Speech writing
- Writing examination
- Letter writing
- Journalistic writing
- Legal drafting
Although items F-M can be subsumed under the other broad categories outlined in a-e above, we have chosen to treat them separately here in order to foreground their unique features which pose major writing problems to both beginners and experts.
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