2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Media

Communication is not only the process of sharing information. Communication processes are in most cases sign-mediated interactions which are governed by three levels of semiotic rules, syntactic, pragmatic and semantic. Therefore communication is a kind of social interaction where at least two interacting agents share a common set of signs and a common set of semiotic rules. In a simplistic form information is sent from a sender or encoder to a receiver or decoder. In a more complex form feedback links a sender to a receiver. This requires a symbolic activity, sometimes via a language. Communication development is the development of processes enabling one to understand what others say (or sign or write) and speak (or sign or write, translate sounds and symbols into meaning, and learn the syntax of the language. Communication is based on the idea of respect, promises, and the want for social improvement. Specialised fields focus on various aspects of communication, and include the following:

  • Non-verbal communication, the act of imparting or interchanging thoughts, opinions, or information without the using words;
  • Symbolic communication, the exchange of messages that change a priori expectation of events
  • Animal communication, the discipline of animal behaviour that focuses on the reception and use of signals
  • Mass communication
  • Development communication
  • Communication studies
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Organizational communication
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Conversation analysis
  • Cognitive linguistics
  • Linguistics
  • Pragmatics
  • Semiotics
  • Discourse analysis

Communication as a named and unified discipline has a history of contestation that goes back to the Socratic dialogues, in many ways making it the first and most contestatory of all early sciences and philosophies. Seeking to define "communication" as a static word or unified discipline may not be as important as understanding communication as a family of resemblances with a plurality of definitions as Ludwig Wittgenstein had put forth. Some definitions are broad, recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as well as human beings, and some are more narrow, only including human beings within the parameters of human symbolic interaction.

Nonetheless, communication is usually described along three major dimensions:

  1. Content
  2. Form
  3. Destination

With the presence of " communication noise" these three components of communication often become skewed and inaccurate. Between parties, communication content include acts that declare knowledge and experiences, give advice and commands, and ask questions. These acts may take many forms, including gestures ( nonverbal communication, sign language and body language), writing, and speech. The form depends on the symbol systems used. Together, communication content and form make messages that are sent towards a destination. The target can be oneself, another person (in interpersonal communication), or another entity (such as a corporation or group).

A particular instance of communication is called a speech act. A speech act typically follows a variation of logical means of delivery. The most common of these, and perhaps the best, is the dialogue. The dialogue is a form of communication where both the parties are involved in sending information. There are many other forms of communication but the reason the dialogue is good is because the dialogue lends itself to clearer communication due to feedback. (Feedback being encoded information, either verbal or nonverbal, sent back to the original sender (now the receiver) and then decoded.)

There are many theories of communication, and a commonly held assumption is that communication must be directed towards another person or entity. This essentially ignores intrapersonal communication (note intra-, not inter-) via diaries or self-talk.

There are many different areas of communication.A few are: nonverbal communication, verbal communication, and symbolic communication. Nonverbal communication deals with facial expressions and body motions. 93% of “emotional meaning” we take from other people is found in the person’s facial expressions and tone of voice, the other 7% is taken from what the person actually says (More Than Talk). Verbal communication is when we communicate our message verbally to whoever is receiving the message. Symbolic communications are the things that we have given meaning to and that represent a certain idea we have in place, for example, the American flag is a symbols that represent freedom for the Americans themselves, or imperialism and evil for some other countries.

Interpersonal conversation can occur in dyads and groups of various sizes, and the size of the group impacts the nature of the talk. Small-group communication takes place in settings of between three and 12 individuals, and differs from large group interaction in companies or communities. This form of communication formed by a dyad and larger is sometimes referred to as the psychological model of communication where in a message is sent by a sender through channel to a receiver. At the largest level, mass communication describes messages sent to huge numbers of individuals through mass media, although there is debate if this is an interpersonal conversation.

Communication is also the name for the academic discipline which studies communication.


A language is a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, such as intonations or pitch, gestures or written symbols which communicate thoughts or feelings. If a language is about communicating with signals, voice, sounds, gestures, or written symbols, can animal communications be considered as a language. Animals do not have a written form of a language, but use a language to communicate with each other. In that sense, an animal communication can be considered as a separated language.

Human spoken and written languages can be described as a system of symbols (sometimes known as lexemes) and the grammars ( rules) by which the symbols are manipulated. The word "language" is also used to refer to common properties of languages.

Language learning is normal in human childhood. Most human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols which enable communication with others around them. There are thousands of human languages, and these seem to share certain properties, even though many shared properties have exceptions.

There is no defined line between a language and a dialect, but Max Weinreich is credited as saying that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy.

Humans and computer programs have also constructed other languages, including constructed languages such as Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Klingon, programming languages, and various mathematical formalisms. These languages are not necessarily restricted to the properties shared by human languages.


Telecommunication is the transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication. Today this process almost always involves the sending of electromagnetic waves by electronic transmitters but in earlier years it may have involved the use of smoke signals, drums or semaphores. Today, telecommunication is widespread and devices that assist the process such as the television, radio and telephone are common in many parts of the world. There is also a vast array of networks that connect these devices, including computer networks, public telephone networks, radio networks and television networks. Computer communication across the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging, is just one of many examples of telecommunication.


The process of communicating about communication, for example, to discuss a past conversation and to determine the meanings behind certain words, phrases, etc. Metacommunication can be used as a tool for sense making, or for better understanding events, placts, people, relationships, etc.

Animal communication

Animal communication is any behaviour on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behaviour of another animal. of animal communication, called zoosemiotics (distinguishable from anthroposemiotics, the study of human communication) has played an important part in the development of ethology, sociobiology, and the study of animal cognition.This is quite evident as humans are able to communicate with animals especially dolphins and other animals used in circuses however these animals have to learn a special means of communication.

Animal communication, and indeed the understanding of the animal world in general, is a rapidly growing field, and even in the 21st century so far, many prior understandings related to diverse fields such as personal symbolic name use, animal emotions, animal culture and learning, and even sexual conduct, long thought to be well understood, have been revolutionized.

Plant communication

Plant communication is observed (a) within the plant organism, i.e. within plant cells and between plant cells, (b) between plants of the same or related species and (c) between plants and non-plant organisms, especially in the rootzone. Plant roots communicate in parallel with rhizobia bacteria, with fungi and with insects in the soil. This parallel sign-mediated interactions which are governed by syntactic, pragmatic and semantic rules are possible because of the decentralized nervous system of plants. As recent research shows 99% of intraorganismic plant communication processes are neuronal-like. Plants communicate also via volatiles in the case of herbivory attack behavior to warn neighboring plants. In parallel they produce other volatiles which attract parasites which attack these herbivores. In stress situations plants can overwrite the genetic code they inherited from their parents and revert to that of their grand- or great-grandparents ( see also: Witzany, G. (2006) Plant Communication from biosemiotic perspective. Plant Signaling & Behaviour 1(4):169-178.)

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