general concept of communication

General Concept of Communication

Language as a Means of Communication

The term communication is derived from the verb communicate, which means to give or exchange information, news, ideas, or opinions orally or in writing (Hornby, 1995, p.229). In other words, communication is when two or more people send each other information or news. In addition, people learn what they want to know from one another through communication.

Communication is a fundamental human activity, and language is the foundation of all human communication. Language, as a communication device, is an effective means of expressing ideas and feelings in both spoken and written form. Thus, language provides a means for people to communicate and socialize in society. Therefore, people who live in society should have a good ability in communication.

Communication has its distinct features. According to Richards and Schmidt (1983, p.3-4), the following communication characteristics are:

  1. It is a form of social interaction and is usually acquired and used in social interaction.
  2. It involves a high degree of unpredictability and creativity in form and message.
  3. It takes place in discourse and socio-cultural contexts, which provide constraints on appropriate language use and clues to correct interpretations of utterances.
  4. It is carried out under limiting psychological and other conditions such as memory constraints, fatigue and distraction.
  5. It always has a purpose.
  6. It involves authentic as opposed to textbook–contrived language.
  7. It is judged as successful or not based on factual outcomes.

Based on the characteristics listed above, communication can be defined as exchanging and negotiating information between at least two people using verbal and nonverbal symbols, oral or written or visual modes, and production and comprehension processes.

From the definition above, language can be classified into two types based on its form. They are both spoken and written. They play different roles in social and educational settings. People use spoken language to interact with others to clarify ideas, thoughts, and arguments. On the other hand, written language allows people to consolidate their thoughts and then stand back to reflect on what they think about a subject.

Three Dimension of Language

Language can be used for a variety of purposes. It depends on the dimension of the language used. There are three dimensions of language (Di Pietro, 1994, p.6):

  1. Information exchange, with grammatical orientation.
    If the information or message is appropriately organized, it can be received. The process of exchange necessitates the speaker’s knowledge of grammatical rules. When someone does not understand a language, he cannot exchange information.
  2. Transaction focuses on negotiation and speaker intent.
    In this dimension, language is intended to cover the speaker’s intention so that the hearer will follow the speaker’s way of thinking. Language can also be used to negotiate with others. For example, if someone says, “Open the window!” it means she or he wants someone else to open it.
  3. Interaction, emphasizing how language works, reveals speakers’ roles and identities.
    In this dimension, a language is used to identify the speakers’ role or identity in social life. For example, the language used by a teacher in the classroom will differ from the language used by a shopkeeper. Thus, we can interact with others by expressing our ideas, emotions, and desires through language.

From those elaborations, it is known that there are three dimensions of language, first focused on grammatical, second, language covers the speaker’s intention, and the last dimension is that language reveals identity.

References & Recommended Reading

  • Di Pietro, R.J. 1994. Strategic Interaction (4th Printing Published). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hornby, A.S.1995. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (5th edition). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Richards, J.C. and R.W. Schmidt. 1983. Language and Communication. London: Longman Inc.
Tenry Colle
Tenry Colle

Hi! My name is A. Tenry Lawangen Aspat Colle. I am a motivated and resourceful English educator. In addition, as the owner of @rymari.translation17 has shaped me to be a punctual and dependable translator of Indonesian to English and vice versa.

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