Communication is a word of Latin origin; it means sharing of information or intelligence. The most common medium of communication is language. While speaking we often resort to physical gestures. We wave our hands, shrug our shoulders, smile and nod to reinforce what we say. Besides, there are several other means of communication available to us. We use non-linguistic symbols such as traffic lights, roads signs, railway signals to convey information relating to the movement of vehicles and trains. We also use telegraphic code for quick transmission of messages and secret codes for communicating defense and other highly confidential information. For communicational these codes are valid in their special frames of reference. But it is linguistic communication with which this article is concerned. Therefore, a brief is given here to outline how it takes place.
Communication is a process, the main components of which are sender, message, channel, receiver and response.
The first thing to note is that in every communication situation there are two parties, sender and a receiver, who interact within a common frame of reference. Without a common background purpose and interest there can be no effective communication.
An important factor in the communication process is the existence of cooperation between the sender and the receiver. If you speak to a person who is totally lost in his thoughts or use a language he does not understand, no communication will take place. Communication, in fact, is a social function and each community develops a common medium for the purpose. The medium may consist of a language or code â€“ a set of symbols which stand for certain ideas, feelings, notions, things, etc. To encode a message, relevant symbols are selected and arranged into a pattern to convey meaning.
The choice of the channel and the type of symbols is determined by the situation. When addressing a conference of research workers a scientist uses technical language. He speaks distinctly and makes suitable gestures to drive home his points. On the other hand, when he talks to his wife and children he uses simple everyday language and speaks in an informal manner.
When the sender transmits a message he expects a response. The response may be immediate or deferred, favorable or unfavorable. He may, for instance, send a letter of congratulations to a friend on his success in an examination and receive an immediately reply. On another occasion an application for leave may not be granted. But for this reason it has not ceased to be a communication, only it has produced the desired response.
The sender is naturally interested in knowing how his message has been received. The observation of the receiverâ€™s response is called feedback. Immediate feedback is possible only in face to face interaction or telephonic conversation. Such communication has one significant advantage. The sender can promptly adjust the tenor of his communication. But oral communication by its very nature is of limited use.