We can communicate with other people in many ways. We can talk and write. We can send messages. We have got the phone – the mobile, the fax and e-mail. Then we´ve got TV, film, photo.
Animals also communicate and change their information, bees for example dance and tell other bees where to find food.
We have language – about 6000 languages. We can write poins, stories, we can tell the truth or tell lies.
The radio, film and TV have a huge influence on us. And now we have the Internet which is infinite. We can give and get much information very promptly. Modern media are changing our world every minute of a day.
We use symbolic gestures as words (for example the hand-wave when we want to say goodbye). When we are in danger we send mayday.
Men like talking about themselves, women about other people.
The Internet is very popular. Some people spend a lot of time surfing on the net and looking for new partners or just chatting. I send e-mails to my friends.
Modern ways of communication have stopped face-to-face contact.
It is true. People meet less often, they phone, get e-mails, watch TV, read newspapers. Their visits are less frequent too. I see my friends every day. Althought I´ve got a mobile phone, I prefer face-to-face contact. The average child today sends messages to their friends using their mobile phones, surfing on the net to find information for school and emails foreign friends.
Learning new languages takes time and effort. But everyone can do it. It is well worth it.
Languages are as important as computers. It´s not easy to learn a new language. The best way is to go to the country where the language is spoken. If you speak English, you have an advantage. The English language means power and freedom. It dominates international relations. It affects nearly all our lives from pop music to diplomatic relations. Yet only 10% of the world´s population are native English language speakers. But there are also artificial languages, one of them is Esperanto.
We are able to understand non-verbal performers like mime artists or dancers who “speak“ body language fluently.
There are different kinds of conversation: formal, informal, chatering and gossiping. Most of us find it embarrasing to remain silent in company, and feel we have to fill silence by saying something. Others like silence and don´t use a lot of words. Silence can sometimes communicate ideas more powerfully than speech.
Verbal communication is spoken language, which is often spontaneous and accompanied by a demonstration of a process. The spoken word is usually face to face which may allow the speaker to ask questions. In verbal communication we can use stress, tone and the modulation of the voice to express different meanings. Spoken language can also include laughter, sighs and long expressive pauses to produce additional meaning. When something has been said it cannot be taken back. Speech establishes a relationship between the skilled speaker and their audience and is a particularly good tool for persuasion.
Written communication requires more thought and planning, and is often expressed in rather more formal terms, the ideas are more structured and better organised with suitable examples included. Written words can be read several times which will aid their understanding. Written communication is one-way, and the reader is not usually able to make immediate reference to the writer to ask for more explanation or further examples. Written language does not allow the reader to fully appreciate the feelings and attitudes of the writer at first hand, as the spoken word does. Writing is a better form of communication for recording facts and ideas. Texts can be longer and more complicated in content as they can be studied later.
Kissing and hugging.
A certain type of communication is sometimes kissing and hugging. People usually only kiss someone on the mouth if they are having a romantic relationship. Parents and children will also kiss each other on the cheek or forehead. People also sometimes kiss each other on the cheek in orer to greet each other or say goodbye. People can kiss hello or goodbye on both cheeks. It is fairly common for people, when they are kissing someone on the cheek, not to actually kiss them, but instead to make a kissing movement, next to their cheek.
Symbols and colours.
Sometimes symbols and even colours can communicate without any words being used at all. Owls, for instance, represent wisdom in English speaking countries, so there´s often one on educational materials or school signs. In mostly western countries, black is the colour of death, so if there´s black flag hanging outside a building, everybody knows someone died there.
Influence of modern ways of communication.
The older generation used to just live with home phones, faxes and maybe walkie-talkies, but the average child today text messages his friends using his mobile phone, surfs the net to find information for school and emails foreign friends half a world away. It is very common to see people speaking, laughing or arguing into a small box. Some people spend hours chatting with “friends“ in Internet chatrooms, without ever having met them. Another influence of using the computer is that while they make life easier, they also influence our handwriting. Most people consider handwritten letters to be more personal. Yet, because people today often do all their writing on computers, they have problems writing that personal letter by hand without “spell-check“.
Gestures and body language.
We use systems of signs, symbols, gestures for conveying information. Like all animals, we have a complex body language of gestures, postures and facial expressions. Our bodies are constantly talking. We smile, frown or make different gestures, shapes with ou hands, etc.
When we yawn, we are tired or bored. Sitting with eyes and mouth wide open means that we are fascinated. Banging your fist on the table or stamping our feet express anger, shaking hands or hugging conveys pleasure or satisfaction. While a hand-wave is a primary gesture, the sneeze is secondary or incidental gesture. Its primary function is mechanical – a sneezer´s personal breathing problems and its secondary role is a warning to companions that a sneezer may have caught a cold. Leaning back with arms folded across the chest might seem to you as a relaxing way of sitting while listening to someone, but your friend may take it as a sign of boredom.
One meaning can be signalled by different actions: in Europe if you tap your forefinger against you temple, it means a sign of stupidity but in Arabic countries you touch the lower eyelid with the tip of the forefinger. The “thumbs up“ sign in England is a positive sign of success, whereas in Australia it is rather insulting.
Several meanings may be signalled by the same action. We should learn symbolic gestures of other nations as we learn their vocabulary.
A system of sending messages, using dots and dashes or short and long sounds or flashes of light, is called Morse code. When travelling, we usually read pictorgams or drivers find their way from signs.
Many psychologists say that men´s and women´s conversations are different. Men like to talk about themselves whereas women like to talk about each other or other people.
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