Communication Technologies: Symbolic Communication

Table of Contents


Language is the mirror of the world. At its most basic form, language is a communication system meant to convey thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions between human beings (DeLamater, Myers, & Collett, 2015). However, the epistemological view of the subject expanded the meaning of language beyond these notions, granting it the capacity to form and influence the way individuals think and perceive the world. In a society, symbols and languages form a complex web of relationships, which both increase and limit our understanding of people, events, and the surrounding environment (Yule, 2020).

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The major types of nonverbal communication include facial expressions, body movements, posture, paralanguage, proxemics, and physiological changes (DeLamater et al., 2015). The difference between verbal and non-verbal language comes from how much control we have over them. Verbal communication requires conscious thought and control; therefore, it is used only to convey information the speaker wants to share (Yule, 2020). Nonverbal communication, on the other hand, projects the information about the person, their feelings and thoughts, which they would otherwise want to hide (Yule, 2020). When combined, verbal and non-verbal means shape communication into a richer and more informative channel, allowing for better expression of ideas and emotions both.


Social relationships shape communication in a variety of forms by placing standards, expectations, and social norms into the equation (DeLamater et al., 2015). One would communicate with a teacher or a parent differently than with a friend, the choice of words and gestures greatly differing from person to person depending on how much we respect them or what do we want from them. Since language is essentially a social phenomenon, it cannot exist outside of a society, where it is maintained and used to express and modify relationships between people, based on the types of thoughts and emotions being expressed (Yule, 2020).


DeLamater, J.D., Myers, D.J., & Collett, J.L. (2015). Social Psychology (8th ed.). Westview Press.

Yule, G. (2020). The study of language. Cambridge University Press.

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