“Let’s Lie Down”


  1. A.           BACKGROUND 

Language is a tool of communication, in which we use the language to interact with the other people or our environment. Communication here means that the people use the language to deliver or express their idea or information toward the other people in which there is an interaction among them. According to Boaz Keysar (2007) who states that communication is typically considered to be guided by principles of cooperation, requiring the consideration of the communication partner’s mental states for its success. In one side, Axley in Dainton (2004) defines that the communication process is the flow of information from one person to another. Hence we can say that the communication is a process of giving information among one person to the others either is spoken or written form.

Most of people think that when they do communication, they have used pretty language in delivering their information towards their receiver. They think that they have told them clearly. However, the people sometimes say or write without realizing that there is an ambiguity in their words. According to Boaz Keysar (2007) who states that the ambiguity can be every time and everywhere because every words or sentences have more than one meaning even for a simple statement “this chocolate is wonderful”, it is ambiguous because it could be a statement of fact, an offer, a request for more, and so on. Hence, the ambiguity can make the hearer or reader is confused in understanding what the speaker or writer means and it will make the communication is not be success among them.

All communication has two parts: a sender and a receiver. A sender is person who delivers or sends a message or information to other people.  A receiver is person who receives a message or information from other people. The sender has a message in which he or she intends to transmit, and s/he puts it in words, which, to her/him, best reflect what s/he is thinking. But many things can happen to avoid the intended message from being received accurately.

The communication can be said success if the sender and receiver have same understanding or interpreting about what they are talking about. If they have different interpretation, so it is called miscommunication. What the sender assumed first, it is different from what the receiver assumed. According to Grice in Boaz Keyser (2007:71) saying that there are two reasons why the sender and receiver have different interpretation, because they use context for disambiguation, and they assume that the writer or speaker is a cooperative agent. Language users presume that their communication partner is cooperative, and use this to extract a specific meaning that preserves this assumption. Actually, everyone has miscommunication experience in their life. They are aware or not about it. Social conflicts involve some misunderstanding, such as between friends, couples, husband and wife, parents with their children, teacher and student, even another person who do not know before, etc. Misunderstanding can be funny thing and make people who do that can be shy. But in other side, it can make little things become big things. When two people are in conflict because of misunderstanding, they often make negative assumptions about “the other” and they became enemy.

  1. B.            DISCUSSION 

There is an example of miscommunication case that i can found. First,It happened between two students of junior high school where accomplishing their homework. When they did their homework, one of them said that let’s speak English, i wanted to talk by using English. I thought it that was interesting. The other student answered it’s good idea. Then they started to speak:

Rani     : Tia, what do you think about this homework?

Tia       : hmm., this homework is like horor movie.

Rani     : yaps.. you are right. This homework is so difficult for us.

Tia       : definitely, by the way i am so tired, ,

Rani     : oh.. let’s lie down.

Tia       : pardon?

Ran      : let’s lie down, Tiaa,,

Tia       : i don’t want. I don’t want to be a liar toward our teacher. Lie is a sin.

Ran      : (laughing) i mean that let’s take rest.

Tia       : oooo.. i see .. (laughing together )

The example above portrays about the misinterpretation of the word of “lie”. Why we said that this conversation is a case of misterpretation, because Tia is as receiver cannot catch or interpret the message which is delivered by Rani correctly as a sender.When Rani said that “let’s lie down” toward Tia, Tia interprets the meaning of lie down is by interpreting the word ”lie” refers to statement that one knows to be untrue. Then, when Rani said “ let’s lie down”, Tia thinks that Rani ask her to be lie, so that she answered by saying “ I don’t want to be a liar”. Tia did not know that the word “lie” has more than one meaning. Hence, She is wrong in interpreting the other word”lie” which is able to create miscommunication. At the last, both of them are laughing because of that mistake.

According to Burgess (2003) who states that how the message is sent, many additional factors determine how the receiver interprets the message. All new information we learn is compared with the knowledge we already have. If it confirms what we already know, we will likely receive the new information accurately, though we may pay little attention to it. Such as the example above, the misinterpreting happened because of the lack knowledge of words by the receiver. However, if we look the example above again, when Rani said that “this homework is like horror movie”, there is no misinterpretation happen toward both of them. It is caused what is Rani assumed about that statement is same as Tia assumed. Tia directly replied by saying” yupps, this homework is so difficult”. In case both of them has same perception about the meaning of horror movie by using semantically motivation in interpreting those words.

  1. 1.    Source of Misunderstanding

Based on some experiences about misunderstanding, we can fine some sources of misunderstanding that can be used to explain more about i. Hence, the people will be easy to understand about what actually misunderstanding is. According to Burgess ( 2003 ) who explain about the misunderstanding, the writer conclude that there are some sources of misunderstanding, that is:

  • If the communication is verbal, tone of voice can influence the interpretation. The tone of voice will refer to the situation and relationship among the senders and receivers. It can influence the interpretation of the messages.
  • The nonverbal cues are also important, it can influence how to interpret the same word at the time.
  • Wrongness in using vocabularies. The sender should use the right vocabulary to make the receiver interpret the message easyly.
  • Ambiguity of message.
  • Cultural differences increase the likelihood of misunderstanding as well. If people speak different languages, the danger of bad translation is obvious. But even if people speak the same language, they may communicate in different ways.
  1. 2.    Avoid the Misunderstanding

Avoiding misunderstanding takes a lot of effort.  Roger Fisher and William Ury in Burgess (2003) list four skills that can improve communication in conflict situation:

  • The first is active listening. The goal of active listening is to understand message from other person as well as you understand yourself. Pay close attention to what the other side is saying. Ask the opponent to clarify or repeat anything that is unclear or seems unreasonable (maybe it isn’t, but you are interpreting it wrong). Attempt to repeat their case, as they have presented it, back to them. This shows that you are listening (which suggests that you care what they have to say) and that you understand what they have said. It does not indicate that you agree with what they said, nor do you have to. You just need to indicate that you do understand them.
  • Second rule is to speak directly to other person. This is not considered appropriate in some cultures, but when permitted, it helps to increase understanding. Avoid being distracted by others, or by other things going on in the same room. Focus on what you have to say, and on saying it in a way that other person can understand.
  • Third rule is to speak about you, not about other person. Describe your own feelings and perceptions, rather than focusing on other person’s motives, misdeeds, or failings.
  • Fourth rule is “speak for a purpose.” Do not talk too much if it is not meaningful. Too much communication can be counterproductive, they warn. Before you make a significant statement, pause and consider what you want to communicate, why you want to communicate that, and how you can do it in the clearest possible way.

Other way to maintain misunderstanding:

  • Used the right tone of voice to express your message to other person.
  • Choose the right word in vocabulary.
  • Try to avoid the ambiguity. The sender should try delivert the message clerly.
  • Try to understand and tolerance with other person which have different cultures.
  1. C.           CONCLUSION

In conclusion, communication is one of interaction between two parts, that is : a sender and a receiver in which sender wants to deliver a message or idea to the receiver. The communciation will be success if what the sender assumed is same as what the receiver assumed. On the other hand, sometimes we do mistake when we do communciation, and we will create the name of misundestanding or misinterpreting. Misundertanding means that the meassage is got by the receiver is different from what the sender puposed. The receiver cannot interprete the messages of sender perfecly. Hence, it can interupt the flow of communication.

Misunderstanding caused by some factors such as an ambiguity of messages, the wrongnesss in using vocabularies, the tone of voice, cultural differences, different worldviews and cross-cultural communication, and  style on using English language. However, we can avoid the misunderstanding of communciation by applying the rule from Roger Fisher and William Ury in Burgess (2003) that there is active listening, speak directly to other person, speak about yourself, and speak for a purpose. Additional ways to avoid misunderstanding are  Used the right tone of voice, right vocabulary, clarify ambiguity message, and undersatand different culture from other people.








  1. D.           REFERNCES

Burgess, Heidi. “Misunderstandings.” Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: September 2003 <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/misunderstandings/>.

Dainton. 2004. Introduction to Communication Theory.

Keysar Boaz. 2007. Communication and miscommunication: The role of egocentric processes. Intercultural Pragmatig. 41: 71-84