“Defining communication sometimes seems to be the chief business of communication scholars, and it has persisted since Aristotle’s time. Conceptions of communication are central to inquiry, value-laden and fluid”. (Edwards and Shepherd, 2004) Communication is a vital part of our everyday life. Communication is the exchange of information between individuals. Communication is something that is learned gradually with time. This communication can be done in several ways such as by speaking, sign languages, symbols or behavior. People communicate because they want to be heard.
Human beings communicate all the time and sometimes do not even realize that they are communicating because it is a normal phenomenon for them. Communication is all about sharing thoughts. (Edwards and Shepherd, 2004) “Human language is often contrasted with all kinds of communication behavior in other species, and the distinction is held to be the primary difference in kind that distinguishes human beings from animals. Many philosophers and linguists have also argued that human language is closely linked with thinking, if not identical and inseparable. ” (Griffin, 1981)
The communication process involves transmission of data from sender to receiver and then feedback from the receiver. This process can get complicated and thus requires a particular symbolic transmission that can be done through language. Language is a means by which everyone can communicate. But that language needs to be a common language, which can be understood by the speaker and listener both. Language is a mode of communication and can be referred to as signals. These signals can be voice, intonations, and gestures etc, and these signals communicate feelings and emotions.
Therefore, if that is how language is put then it can be said that even animals have their own language and even they communicate. In simple words language is used to convey your ideas and thoughts. This is true but not completely because along with language other things are also being used for communication and people are usually unaware of it. The common language syndrome can applied to animals as they use encoding and decoding for understanding each other but humans use something more than that. And that is inferring a speaker’s meaning of a sentence on the decoded message. (Edwards and Shepherd, 2004)
Communication is thus very important for the survival of all living beings whether they are humans or non-humans. To communicate effectively one has to know what communication is and understand it. “Communication is the consideration and action of impelling an impulse or particle from source-point across a distance to receipt-point, with the intention of bringing into being at the receipt-point duplication and understanding of that which emanated from the source-point” Therefore the perfect formula for communication involves cause, intention, attention, effect, and duplication with understanding.
(What is Communication? ) Human Communication Human communication is very different from other communication systems. It involves interpretation and behavior along with a particular language. This is more complex than any other communication system. This complex system has been a crucial part of the human technology development. This is not because humans have a far more superior language to communicate their thoughts but because this language is used for information storing and information gaining. (Holmberg, n. d. )
Contradictory to what discussed before that even animals have their own language, Hurford (2004) says that animal communication should not referred as language. Language and communication are two distinct words. One should not confuse himself with communication being language. Communication is what occurs between every living thing and does not mean that all species have a language. If one applies the word language to the communication system of animals then he/she cannot discuss the important qualitative distinction between human communication and animal communication.
The two features that are absent from other communication systems are arbitrary symbols and semantically compositional syntax. (Hurford, 2004) As mentioned before, communication is not restricted to humans only even animals have their own communication system that they use to correspond with each other. Human communication is what separates us from animals and other non humans living on the earth. What makes human communication unique is the element of displacement and productivity that is present in the human language. (Human Language, n. d. )
“Displacement, this refers to the ability to communicate about things that are not present in space or time. Productivity, this refers to the ability to produce and understand any number of messages that have never been expressed before. Human language is an ‘open-ended’ system. ” (Language Files, 2001, p. 25) These two properties along with some other distinguish human language from other communication systems. Productivity as defined before means understanding and comprehending infinite numbers of new words and phrases.
For communication purposes human language can easily borrow and adapt to new words when ever necessary. For instance words like fax and modem are relatively new for humans because they did not exist almost 10 years before. Therefore, it is the ability to communicate creative messages and sentences that have the probability of not being used again. Human communication involves words, phrases and sentences that are at times very unique to that moment in time because of its structure and meaning.