TIME. The ever existing entity and concept that controls our lives and existence. The concept that helps remembering and forgetting. The one that stretches endlessly across aeons of existence. The glutton that eats us all. Time.  How do YOU relate to time? Do you know what your relations to time say about you? How do you manage time and how does that reflect YOU?

Chronemics is the study of time as it affects communication. It looks at the way the individual treats time and his relationship with time, that is, his perception of time. What periods dominate his consciousness? Moreover, what his biological time rhythm is and the type of individual the person is, is reflected through the way he relates to time or uses time.

The handling of time by the Westerners-Europeans and Americans differ greatly from the interpretation of time by the Easterners-Asians and the Orientals. The Africans and the Latin Americans perception of time also lean towards the Easterners rather than Westerners. The Western mind is linear and most of them have punctuality perceptions. To them, time has a beginning and an end. It is divided into units that are exhausted and are no more important or in existence. Therefore, all things must be planned and carried out at the allotted time and this makes them become slaves to time. The advantages, however, is that they can implement plans in an unbending manner.

To the African, however, time cannot be split into units. It is cyclic and holistic. The past is part of the present time and the present exists in the future. There is the tendency for the African to be late and to strongly believe that those who have gone before are with him in the present; so also are those yet to come. To the Asian, time is an inexhaustible entity. If one is patient within the time the person will always reach his destination or goal. This is reflected in their religion, which glorifies silence and the ability to be patient. Though while these explanations show a general picture, there are usually exceptions. Such exceptional individuals usually find it difficult to cope with their societies. They become deviants, and sometimes, pariahs within the community or society. For example, the African whose concept of time seems European is taken as being bossy, punctilious and officious. He is termed a disciplinarian, strict and a difficult individual. Such a person finds it difficult to carry out things and if he is not flexible, he will be frustrated or a ‘fly in the ointment’ to others. People (who are unlike him) hate him and will look at him as being too serious, too difficult and unbending. In studying time and how it reflects the individual’s communicative ability and personality, there are three ways of doing this. These are:

1) Perception to time:

  1. (a) Punctual
  2. (b) Latecomer
  3. (c) Carefree Time Attitude

2) Time-Period Orientation:

  1. (i) Past oriented
  2. (ii) Present Oriented
  3. (iii) Future Oriented

3) Biological Time Clock:

  1.             Early Riser / Early Sleeper
  2.             Early Riser / Late Sleeper
  3.             Later Riser / Early Sleeper
  4.             Late Sleeper / Late Riser
  5.             Nocturnal
  6.             The Sleepless.
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