How you would differentiate between linguistics and non-linguistics communication?

Explain the concept of Linguistic and non-linguistic Communication?


As language may not always be used to communicate, so also communication may be possible without necessarily using spoken language. For example sign language. Deaf and dumb people have their own non-linguistic code (gestures and hands signs) to express themselves or to communicate with one another. The linguistic key is the tone, manner or spirit in which an act is performed. Linguistic communication differs from non-linguistic communication. For communicating linguistically, the whole language is available. Sometimes one can communicate in even more than one language, whereas the choices are limited for a non-linguistic communicator, such as, facial expressions, signs and gestures, movements of hands etc. An interesting point here is that even linguistic communication is accompanied by certain elements of non-linguistic communication. While talking a speaker often uses facial expressions and hand movements to convey his message with greater force or more elaborately. This also gives the listener an idea about the speakers mood and attitude.

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We mostly use language in order to communicate with others. Here we shall analyze in detail some of the components of communication.

The participants (speaker and listener)

In every communicative situation there have to be at least two participants, the speaker, (sender of the message) the one who transmits a message and the listener (the receiver of the message). There are indeed events which have only one human participant e. g. in prayers. However, these are unusual situations and do not come within the purview of normal linguistic communication.

Channel or medium of communication.

Channel means the medium of transmission of speech” which includes written, semaphore, telegraphic etc. lira situation where the Speaker and the listener are talking face to face, the sound waves produced by the air, act as the channel or medium of communication. But this is not always the case. Sometimes the speaker and the listener are at a distance from each other, they are not at the same place, e.g. they may be talking on phone. In such a case the sound waves are not travelling through the air Instead telephone wires arc carrying the message. In case of a written message it is the paper on which the message may be recorded.

Setting and Topic of Communication.

Setting and topic play a vital role in the communication process and decide the mood and the kind of language to be used. For example, consider a person visiting someone for the sake of condolence. This setting (situation) and topic will demand seriousness on the part of the speaker as well as the listener. Similarly, a person visiting his friend or relative in hospital would use topics to encourage and boost the morale of the patient. A person in a mosque will speak in a low volume/tone. The setting, thus, affects the stylistic mode.         .        ‘ ”

Message form

Just as a message can be conveyed through different channels of communication such as air, paper, wire etc, similarly there can b6 different forms of message such as written, verbal, telephonic etc. These different forms of conveying a message depend on the setting, time, status of the participants, code etc. For example, if the setting is an over-crowded place, street, railway station etc,The sender will have to be loud in order to be audible as compared to a place which is quiet and peaceful, such as a lecture room, library, hospital etc. These settings demand a low volume.


If the sender of a message is in a hurry he will make his message brief and may even cut short what he has to say. In case there is enough time the message can be detailed and in elaborated form.


The message will be more formal in case the receiver is senior or not very friendly with the sender or if the message is ‘official. It will be less formal in case it is delivered to a friend or young receiver. Similarly, the tone of the message will be different in both cases. Thus the status of the receiver and the sender greatly affects the language form of the message.


Code means the language in which communication takes Place. Language is an arbitrarily chosen set of sound symbols used by the speech community to communicate. For example the word “man” has been used by English speaking people for a male human being with certain characteristics. Whenever used this word will represent a male human being having those characteristics. Certain societies are monolingual (speak one language) but there are bilingual as well as multilingual societies such as Pakistani, Indian etc. The advantage of a bi or multilingual society is that the participants can switch from one language to another from time to time in order to be more clear.


Language is used for the following purposes:

  • To express feelings
  • To express ideas or thoughts
  • To socialise
  • To instruct
  • To give or receive directions
  • Perform different linguistic functions
  • To express feelings

Language is often used to express our feelings of happiness/ depression, personal reaction to wards something/incident, likes and dislikes etc.

  • To express ideas and thoughts

Language is most of the time used to express ideas, beliefs, opinions and thoughts,

  • To socialise

to greet, to introduce, to welcome, to bid farewell etc.

  • To instruct/guide

to tell someone what to do and how to do it. Parents and teachers often use language for this purpose

  • To direct

One common function of language is to give directions e.g. „; people ask for direction and Rive directions as well.

  • to perform linguistic functions

Ail functions in life can be performed with the help of language e.g. to invite, to order, to inform, to impress, to apologize, to thank etc. Sometimes a single utterance can be used for expressing several functions. Similarly, several utterances can be used for expressing one particular function e.g.-

Can I help you?

Would you like me to help you?

I am at your disposal.

Do you need my help?

In other words one language function can be expressed by many language forms and vice versa.

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