Communication is a text-mediated relation
between a speaker’s meaning and a hearer’s
The Code Model (CM) of communication assumes that meanings are transmitted across a channel from speaker to hearer.
This assumption is called the conduit metaphor. More precisely, the speaker encodes the
meaning to be communicated into a linguistic form
(sound, sign, writing) using
his or her lexicon and
grammar. The form is transmitted over some channel
such as speech or writing
to the hearer, who then
recovers the meaning by decoding the form,
using his or her lexicon and grammar.
Or more simply:
Decoding is—at least to some extent—the opposite of
encoding. Accurate communication depends on the
identicalness (in all relevant respects) of the gramma
r and lexicon used for decoding and the grammar and
lexicon used for encoding.
For a tidy and fairly recent statement
of the CM see Certo (1995, chapter 5)
Charles Kraft summarizes the process like this, “...
the communicator has certain meanings in his
mind that he encodes in cultural symbols [primarily linguistic symbols—WD] and transmits in the
form of a message to one or more receptors. The r
eceptors, for their part, decode the message in their
heads and thereby derive the meanings on the basis of which they act” (1978:359). The message
subsequently may be clarified by the source afte
r feedback from the receptors. This is a simple