Nonverbal Communication

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Communication, Sign language Pages: 7 (1442 words) Published: September 17, 2014
Nonverbal communication is the process of
communication through sending and receiving
wordless messages. It can be communicated
through gestures and touch, by body language
or posture, by facial expression and eye
contact. Like humans, most (if not all) other
primates engage in nonverbal communication
to relay messages, emotions, warnings, and
ideas to each other. Primates, by nature, are a
very social species and tend to live together in
communities. By interacting with the same
species so often, it is no wonder that primates
have developed a more complex way of
communicating than most other animals. For
example, a study of rhesus monkeys showed
that a community had distinct hierarchy
among them and it was clear which monkeys
outranked others. The question that was posed
was how could such a detailed living
environment be created if these monkeys did
not have a complex communication system?
People have compared primates and their
communication abilities to humans as more
studies continue, which have tended to bring
up controversial ideas, such as common
ancestry. [1] The fact that primates and
humans share some of the same nonverbal
communications, such as holding hands and
kissing, supports the idea that they share
common ancestry. [2]
Call Systems
Non-human primates like these have
between fifteen and forty different calls
in their call system depending on the
A call system is a type of limited vocal
communication system. Animals such as
monkeys and apes use call systems. According
to anthropologist Terrence Deacon , humans
still posses six call systems, including:
Screaming with fright
Crying with pain
These six calls appear to have co-evolved
alongside symbolic language, which may be
why humans integrate calls and symbolic
language into their speech. While human
beings still possess six calls, non-human
primates have a system ranging from 15-40
calls, depending on the species. Non-human
primates use these call systems when they are
in the presence of food or danger, when they
desire company, or when the animal desires to
mark its location or to signal pain, sexual
interest, or the need for maternal care. The call
system of non-human primates is “closed”
because it affords the ability to discuss neither
absent or nonexistent objects nor past or
future events, which is called displacement.
[ [8] ]. Closed call systems also have the
absence of any link between sound and
meaning in language, which is called
arbitrariness. These six calls, paired with
gestures and changes in rhythm, volume, and
tonality (something which linguists call speech
prosody) appear to have coevolved with the
development of symbolic language. This may
be the reason they amalgamate so well. This
being said, Deacon pointed out that these call
systems are controlled by different parts of the
ape brain. [3]
1. Woshoe, Koko, and Lucy
2. The Origin of Language
Two sign language interpreters
working as a team for a school.
Nonverbal Communication is defined as the
act of communicating with another via body
language or other symbolism to convey
meanings,or “nonverbal communication
involves those nonverbal stimuli in a
communication setting that are generated by
both the source [speaker] and his or her use of
the environment and that have potential
message value for the source or receiver
[listener]. Basically it is sending and receiving
messages in a variety of ways without the use
of verbal codes (words). It is both intentional
and unintentional. Not only does it use body
language, but also eye contact, gestures,
posture, and facial expressions. Another
somewhat obvious form of nonverbal
communication is that which is written.
Handwriting styles and emoticons can be
included within this category, exemplifying
different forms of human personal expression.
Emoticons, which are used often in...
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