From: Mercedes Monaco
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Date: 11 Dec 1996
I used what you said in class the other day in my paper. Do you want me to use your name? Here's what I said:
When looking at nonverbal communication interpretation is an issue. As we interact with people, we are interpreting what they are saying verbally and nonverbally in order to understand what they are communicating. This leaves us with the possibility of misinterpretation. One undergraduate recognized this in himself. He was working with a girl who was being very quiet. The undergraduate thought that this meant the child didn't speak English. This interpretation is understandable considering the context: Spanish was the primary language of many of the kids, and some of the kids didn't speak English at all. The undergraduate interpreted the silence to mean she didn't speak English, but, after working with her for a while, it turned out that she did. He realized that he had misinterpreted her nonverbal cue of silence (personal communication, J., December 4, 1996).