Definition of Communication

Essay by dirrj October 2007

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Communication is a fluid concept in today's academia. While many scholars have tried to pin down an overarching definition of communication, we have not yet reached a strong centrally agreed upon generalization that includes all aspects of the term. Each definition offers something similar to the other, while at the same time, building upon it, adding something further. From my research, I would have to agree with Miller in the text reading and say that communication is transactional. It is an act where information is passed from a source which encodes a message, transmitted through a channel to a receiver, whether it be verbal (i.e. speaking, singing, etc.) or nonverbal (body language, sign language, touch, eye contact, facial expressions, writing, and so on) where it is decoded and has an effect.. It is important to include the contexts in which the communication occurs. I would argue that communication can be intentional or unintentional and can be transmitted through many different mediums, it may also involve conventional or unconventional signals, and it may take many forms (linguistic or nonlinguistic).

As broad a definition as it may seem I feel it adequately represents what communication is and does on a regular basis. Further focusing it would exclude many aspects of communication that we may not recognize at first glance.

Communication as a whole goes farther than just verbal communication, that is, auditory means that person A has with person B who receives the messages, processes it, and then responds. Brant R. Burleson describes communication, not as a single process, but is "made up of several interrelated, simultaneously functioning sub processes (e.g., message production, message interpretation, nonverbal cue interpretation, turn taking, etc.) His description both defines, and elaborates on communication as a process. He expands to include all aspects of an interaction. His...