The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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22                     THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
to the Morse code; to the Bell Telephone Company with its intricate network of wires; to the Pennsylvania Railroad and its system of tracks, its red lights, its green lights, its whistles; to the symphony; to the police siren; etc. Obviously, communication is a process that relates people and things.
In this Primer, we are interested in the communication process that relates human beings by means of words.
Verbal communication includes writing and reading, speaking and listening. And thinking. When we talk to our selves, this is probably the most important "communing ' that we do.
We are interested, also, in nonverbal communication, in so far as it supplements the use of words. The tone of voice, the gestures, the facial expressions; a sigh, a smile, silence itself contributes something that is at once subtle and powerful. Every time we use words, we communicate far and beyond their literal significance.
Both verbal and nonverbal signs express the uniqueness of the communicator. No two human beings in the world are exactly alike, and no two communication experiences are exactly alike. The characteristics which contribute to this uniqueness are often transmitted on the nonverbal level, for, it must be remembered, these unique characteristics exist on the nonverbal level. This uniqueness, the psychologist Gardner Murphy tells us in his Personality, A Biosocial Approach to Origins and Structure (1947), derives from the character and the organization of the physical structure of a person and from the pattern of his learned experiencefrom all the years of his biological and social past and his living present.