It is valuable to study both the verbal and non-verbal language of a culture

Essay by jie_wangC+, August 2004

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High-tech rapidly changes our daily lives, bringing us lots of new communication modes, for example, computers, Internet, mobile phone and so on. However, verbal and non-verbal language is still the most familiar way to communicate through the evolvement of human's civilization. It is important that we study both of the verbal and non-verbal language when we try to communicate with in a culture.

There is no doubt that we use the verbal language every day, which we treat as the most common way of communication. Every kind of verbal language that has its background is knitted with the culture. We must study the oral language when we wish to study oversea. And at the same time, it is also a way to know the different culture, such as the students live in the homestay not only practice the language skills but also know the local culture. Perhaps some consider that it is adequate to learn the verbal language of a culture and it is more necessary than non-verbal language.

Actually the non-verbal language, which is "signaling our feelings, attitudes and reactions" with our bodies (O'Sullivan, 1994, p.61), is as important as the verbal language.

The non-verbal language influence people more than the verbal language. We always consider that we use the verbal language much more than the non-verbal language. It is possibly that we think the verbal language used easily. Albert Mehrabian made a formula of impact of a message: "Total impact = .07 verbal + .38 vocal + .55 facial". We can find that there are just a little impact is conveyed by verbal message, one third of the influences are vocal ("that is paralanguage elements"). Most of the message impact is from facial communication. We use the non-verbal communication without learning and conscious awareness (Seal, 1997, p.137). An...