What is Semantic Barrier in Communication? Definition and Causes

What is Semantic Barrier?

A semantic barrier in communication refers to a barrier that arises due to misinterpretation of the message by both the sender and receiver. Such barriers usually arise when communicating parties get different meanings from the same message which may be because of the use of excessive symbols or unfamiliar language.

Simply, semantics means the study of the meanings of words. During the encoding, the sender designs the message to make it understandable to the receiver by using different words, symbols, etc., however, when the receiver does not get the message semantic barriers arise.

It is because the sender has used words or symbols that are not recognizable to the receiver when he tries to decode the message. Usually, semantic barriers arise because of the language used in the message as such it is also called a language barrier to communication.

Causes of Semantic Barrier in Communication

The following are some of the common semantic barriers.

Use of Harsh Language

The recipient’s emotions and ego will be impacted by the use of harsh language. Receivers attempt to oppose the sender as a result, and they might not respond at all. An egotistical receiver can react negatively, which could lead to miscommunication and conflict.

Use of Multi-Meaning Words

There are different words that consist of two or many meanings. For example, the word “bat” is common but the meaning changes from sports equipment to a mammal.

Related: Psychological Barrier in Communication

As such when the receiver gets a different meaning from the same word than the sender as this happens the main theme of the message is not reached the receiver. Hence, the objective of communication gets hampered.

Misleading Translation

When the middle person in the communication translates wrongly the message miscommunication happens. For instance, middle-level managers must convert top-level directives into straightforward language for use by first-line managers.

However, if they mistranslate the messages, it leaves the first-line managers confused. This leads in the incorrect direction and may prevent the communication goal from being achieved.

Use of Long and Complex Sentences

The long and complex sentences also prevent the receiver from decoding the message properly. The sentences should be small and the words used in them should be considering the education or understanding levels of the receiver.

Use of Too Many Jargons

The use of too many unfamiliar jargon and technical words in communication leads to poor interpretation by the receiver. Due to the use of unfamiliar jargon, ordinary receivers might not get the exact message the sender aimed to convey. Which results in poor communication.

Denotation and Connotation

The denotation of a word is its straightforward meaning, which two people must agree upon in order to communicate. Denotation communication barriers are those that occur when the sender and the receiver’s interpretations of a word’s meaning differ. They dispute a word’s meaning because they don’t understand what the other person means.

The implied meaning of a word is known as connotation. Connotative barriers in communication are differences in meaning based on various hypothetical scenarios, contexts, behaviors, and emotions. Although both communicators are aware of the word’s two meanings, they only ever use one of them, which may alter depending on the circumstances.

Read Next: Physical Barrier in Communication

Leave a Comment