- Kategorie: Demo Contents
- Veröffentlicht: 12. Mai 2012
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Language is Not Just Merely a Means of Communication. Language is fundamental to everything we do --some say it's what makes us "human." We know that all animals engage in some form of social communication.
ABSTRACT: Human communication is an intentional act performed by a human agent for the purpose of causing some effect in an attentive human recipient. Our ability to use language to build words, combine these into meaningful sequences and then articulate them through speech that makes us the most powerful communicators on the planet. This article considers the prerequisite skills for developing communication and the necessity of intention in the process of communication.
The cry of a child. A romantic novel. Numbers on a computer screen. The music of the great, and not so great, composers. The gentle touch of someone's hand. Picasso's Guernica. All of these are commonly held to be acts of communication.
Paintings are one means of representing the appearance of the world. Music is another. Maths is another, and so on. We may have no personal experience of attempting to communicate through these means. However, the majority of us will have direct experience of accomplishing communication with words through the use of spokenlanguage.
Indeed, it is a human’s capacity to build words, combine these into meaningful sequences and then articulate them through speech that makes us the most powerful communicators on the planet.
To answer the question, 'what is communication?', it appears that communication involves at least three things:
Communication is an intentional act performed by an agent for the purpose of causing some effect in a recipient.
Suppose, that a dog places its foot in its empty water bowl and barks. Subsequent to this its human owner picks up the bowl, fills it with water and returns it to the dog, which then drinks the water. Has communication taken place? Well, according to our summary definition, we would have to conclude that it has.
Agents, of course, do not just have to be human beings. They can be any animate being which is capable of acting with intent. In the situation just described this would include the dog. The dog has intentionally transmitted a signal to a recipient (its human owner) and it has created an effect in this recipient (i.e. the owner went and filled its water bowl). Similarly, recipients can also be non-human, as when a human owner (agent) instructs the dog (recipient) to, ‘Sit!’
The distinction to be drawn is that, whilst there are many types of communication, this website does not consider in any detail communication which is either instigated by non-human agents or which is intended for receipt by non-human recipients. In other words, we are concerned solely with human communication. Our summary definition should, therefore, be amended to read:
Human communication is an intentional act performed by a human agent for the purpose of causing some effect in a human recipient.
There are, in fact, important differences between so-called animal communication and human communication. Some of these relate to the fact that only human beings appear to be genetically pre-programmed to learn what is known as language.
Language is the predominant means by which human beings communicate with each other. In broad terms, language is an ability to understand and systematically use symbols. Humans especially make use of verbal symbols (i.e. the spoken word) for communicating. The symbol-words are combined according to specific rules in order to create and convey meanings.
We can use language to describe novel events, situations which have happened in the past and situations that will happen in the future. Moreover, we can communicate concrete ideas about the here-and-now as well as abstract concepts such as feelings, attitudes and perceptions. There is seemingly a near infinite flexibility to what human beings are capable of communicating.
Human beings use speech as the most effective and flexible means of communicating ideas and sharing experiences and knowledge. This is true of all human social groups. In fact, throughout history there have been societies that have existed without being able to read or write but we are not aware of any that have existed that did not use speech.
Speech is the transmission system of language. It is highly complex and, arguably, it has to be learned. It involves rapid, coordinated movements of the lips, tongue, palate of the mouth, vocal folds (popularly, although inaccurately, also known as vocal cords) andbreathing to articulate sounds which are then used to form meaningful words.
As with language, speech also has its own set of rules that govern which particular sound combinations may or may not be produced. For example, in English, the sound ‘ng’ is allowable at the ends of words, such as in wing, sing and ring. However, this sound never occurs at the beginning of words, i.e. there are no words in English which begin with ‘ng’.