communication, transfer of information, such as thoughts and messages, as contrasted with transportation, the transfer of goods and persons (see information theory). The basic forms of communication are by signs (sight) and by sounds (hearing; see language). The reduction of communication to writing was a fundamental step in the evolution of society for, in addition to being useful in situations where speech is not possible, writing permits the preservation of communications, or records, from the past. It marks the beginning of recorded history. Whereas the rise of book publishing and journalism (see also newspaper and periodical) facilitated the widespread dissemination of information, the invention of the telegraph, the radio, the telephone, and television made possible instantaneous communication over long distances. With the installation of the submarine cable and improvements in short-wave radio technology, international communication was greatly improved and expanded. In 1962 the first active communications satellite was launched; it provided the first live television broadcast between the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America. Today, satellite communications is used extensively for relaying television signals, telephone calls, and special teleconferencing calls that might include two-way video and graphics along with audio (see satellite, artificial). The 20th-century development of mass media has played a major role in changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. In the United States, radio and television communication is controlled by the Federal Communications Commission. The international phases of transport and communications are under the direction of the Office of Transport and Communications of the Dept. of State. The United Nations maintains an International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which has three functions—to maintain and extend international cooperation for the improvement and rational use of telecommunication, to promote the development and efficient use of technical facilities, and to harmonize the actions of nations. Telecommunication has been defined by international agreement as any emission, transmission, or reception of signs, signals, sounds, and writing. Recent advances in electronics have made mobile personal communications widely available and inexpensive, primarily through cellular telephony. Worldwide computer networks allow computer users to use modems to communicate rapidly and inexpensively through electronic mail. The proliferation of facsimile machines allows users to send printed communications over telephone lines. See broadcasting.

See H. M. McLuhan, The Medium is the Message (1967); E. W. Brody, Communication Tomorrow (1990); M. M. Mirabits and B. L. Morgenstein, The New Communications Technologies (1990); W. Schweber, Electronic Communications Systems (1991).

Communication is the process of conveying information from a sender to a receiver with the use of a medium in which the communicated information is understood the same way by both sender and receiver. It is a process that allows organisms to exchange information by several methods. Communication requires that all parties understand a common language that is exchanged, There are auditory means, such as speaking, singing and sometimes tone of voice, and nonverbal, physical means, such as body language, sign language, paralanguage, touch, eye contact, or the use of writing. Communication is defined as a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. This process requires a vast repertoire of skills in intrapersonal and interpersonal processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing, and evaluating. Use of these processes is developmental and transfers to all areas of life: home, school, community, work, and beyond. It is through communication that collaboration and cooperation occur. Communication is the articulation of sending a message, through different media whether it be verbal or nonverbal, so long as a being transmits a thought provoking idea, gesture, action, etc.

Communication happens at many levels (even for one single action), in many different ways, and for most beings, as well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of study dedicate a portion of attention to communication, so when speaking about communication it is very important to be sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking about. Definitions of communication range widely, some 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 a few major dimensions: Content (what type of things are communicated), source, emisor, sender or encoder (by whom), form (in which form), channel (through which medium), destination, receiver, target or decoder (to whom), and the purpose or pragmatic aspect. Between parties, communication includes acts that confer knowledge and experiences, give advice and commands, and ask questions. These acts may take many forms, in one of the various manners of communication. The form depends on the abilities of the group communicating. Together, communication content and form make messages that are sent towards a destination. The target can be oneself, another person or being, another entity (such as a corporation or group of beings).

Communication can be seen as processes of information transmission governed by three levels of semiotic rules:

  1. Syntactic (formal properties of signs and symbols),
  2. pragmatic (concerned with the relations between signs/expressions and their users) and
  3. semantic (study of relationships between signs and symbols and what they represent).

Therefore, communication is social interaction where at least two interacting agents share a common set of signs and a common set of semiotic rules. This commonly held rule in some sense ignores autocommunication, including intrapersonal communication via diaries or self-talk.

In a simple model, information or content (e.g. a message in natural language) is sent in some form (as spoken language) from an emisor/ sender/ encoder to a destination/ receiver/ decoder. In a slightly more complex form a sender and a receiver are linked reciprocal. A particular instance of communication is called a speech act. In the presence of "communication noise" on the transmission channel (air, in this case), reception and decoding of content may be faulty, and thus the speech act may not achieve the desired effect. One problem with this encode-transmit-receive-decode model is that the processes of encoding and decoding imply that the sender and receiver each possess something that functions as a code book, and that these two code books are, at the very least, similar if not identical. Although something like code books is implied by the model, they are nowhere represented in the model, which creates many conceptual difficulties.

Theories of coregulation describe communication as a creative and dynamic continuous process, rather than a discrete exchange of information.

Types of communication

There are 3 major parts in any communication which is body language, voice ,tonality and words. According to the research (Mehrabian and Ferris,'Inference of Attitude from Nonverbal Communication in Two Channels' in The Journal of Counselling Psychology Vol.31, 1967,pp.248-52), 55% of impact is determined by body language--postures, gestures, and eye contact, 38% by the tone of voice, and 7% by the content or the words used in the communication process. Although the exact % of influence may differ from variables such as the listener and the speaker, communication as a whole strives for the same goal and thus, in some cases, can be universal.


A language is a syntactically organized system of signals, such as voice sounds, 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 another. In that sense, an animal communication can be considered as a separate 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 the linguist Max Weinreich is credited as saying that "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy". Constructed languages such as Esperanto, programming languages, and various mathematical formalisms are not necessarily restricted to the properties shared by human languages.


A dialogue is a reciprocal conversation between two or more entities. The etymological origins of the word (in Greek διά(diá,through) + λόγος(logos, word,speech) concepts like flowing-through meaning) do not necessarily convey the way in which people have come to use the word, with some confusion between the prefix διά-(diá-,through) and the prefix δι- (di-, two) leading to the assumption that a dialogue is necessarily between only two parties.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is the process of communicating through sending and receiving wordless messages. Such messages can be communicated through gesture, body language or posture; facial expression and eye contact, object communication such as clothing, hairstyles or even architecture, or symbols and infographics. Speech may also contain nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, emotion and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation and stress. Likewise, written texts have nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, or the use of emoticons.A portmanteau of the English words emotion (or emote) and icon, an emoticon is a symbol or combination of symbols used to convey emotional content in written or message form.

Non-human living organisms

Communication in many of its facets is not limited to humans, or even to primates. Every information exchange between living organisms — i.e. transmission of signals involving a living sender and receiver — can be considered a form of communication. Thus, there is the broad field of animal communication, which encompasses most of the issues in ethology. On a more basic level, there is cell signaling, cellular communication, and chemical communication between primitive organisms like bacteria, and within the plant and fungal kingdoms. All of these communication processes are sign-mediated interactions with a great variety of distinct coordinations.


Animal communication is any behaviour on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behavior of another animal. Of course, human communication can be subsumed as a highly developed form of animal communication. The study 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.

Plants and fungi

Among plants, communication is observed within the plant organism, i.e. within plant cells and between plant cells, between plants of the same or related species, and 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 also communicate 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.

Fungi communicate to coordinate and organize their own growth and development such as the formation of mycelia and fruiting bodies. Additionally fungi communicate with same and related species as well as with nonfungal organisms in a great variety of symbiotic interactions, especially with bacteria, unicellular eukaryotes, plants and insects. The used semiochemicals are of biotic origin and they trigger the fungal organism to react in a specific manner, in difference while to even the same chemical molecules are not being a part of biotic messages doesn’t trigger to react the fungal organism. It means, fungal organisms are competent to identify the difference of the same molecules being part of biotic messages or lack of these features. So far five different primary signalling molecules are known that serve to coordinate very different behavioral patterns such as filamentation, mating, growth, pathogenicity. Behavioral coordination and the production of such substances can only be achieved through interpretation processes: self or non-self, abiotic indicator, biotic message from similar, related, or non-related species, or even “noise”, i.e., similar molecules without biotic content-


  • Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin 117, 497-529.
  • Severin, Werner J., Tankard, James W., Jr., (1979). Communication Theories: Origins, Methods, Uses. New York: Hastings House, ISBN 0801317037

3) Witzany, G. (2006 ) Plant Communication from Biosemiotic Perspective. Plant Signaling & Behavior 1(4): 169-178.

4) Witzany, G. (2007 ). Applied Biosemiotics: Fungal Communication. In: Witzany, G. (Ed.) Biosemiotics in Transdisciplinary Contexts. Helsinki. Umweb, pp 295-301.

See also

External links

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