An Investigation into the Relationship between Language and Communication
Amity Global Review, February 2011
11 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2009 Last revised: 12 Jan 2011
Date Written: December 21, 2009
Language has many definitions, and is viewed as an important medium of communication. It is also considered a unique human trait. However, a review of many theories of communication shows that language is probably not as critical to communication as is generally believed.
For example, the work of the Ethnolinguists and the Semiologists only helps to highlight the improbability of effective communication. Even the Mathematical Theory demonstrates that the more distorted a message, the more informative it appears to be. Research also shows that we might even be predisposed by our genders to view realities in different ways.
Further, the study of Kinesics reveals that there exists a range of patterned body motion behaviour, limited to a particular culture, which might account for a phenomenal 93% of the meaning that is generated in any interaction. Therefore, an accurate use of language (if there were such a thing) cannot by itself ensure communication effectiveness.
What is needed is a better understanding of Kinesics and the myriad factors that affect perception, cognition and emotions. We also need to know the impact of these factors on the communication process and on the consequent generation of meaning; which is more than the sum of the signs, symbols, and signals that constitute a message.
Communication effectiveness depends more on how one feels, and makes others feel, rather than on how adept one is at using language. It seems that many other factors besides language play a key role in the generation of meaning. An understanding of these factors is more likely to enhance communication effectiveness than just a command over language.
Keywords: Effective communication, interpersonal communication, language and communication, interpersonal effectiveness, communication effectiveness, semiotics, communication theory, ethnolinguistic, kinesics
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