Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful
information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and
an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be
present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at
the time of communication; thus communication can occur
across vast distances in time and space. Communication
requires that the communicating parties share an area of
communicative commonality. The communication process is
complete once the receiver has understood the sender.
Communication as an academic discipline, sometimes called "communicology,"
relates to all the ways we communicate, so it embraces a
large body of study and knowledge. The communication
discipline includes both verbal and nonverbal messages. A
body of scholarship all about communication is presented and
explained in textbooks, electronic publications, and
academic journals. In the journals, researchers report the
results of studies that are the basis for an ever-expanding
understanding of how we all communicate.
Communication happens at many levels (even for one single
action), in many different ways, and for most beings, as
well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of
study dedicate a portion of attention to communication, so
when speaking about communication it is very important to be
sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking
about. Definitions of communication range widely, some
recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as
well as human beings, and some are more narrow, only
including human beings within the different parameters of
human symbolic interaction.
Human spoken and picture languages can be described as a
system of symbols (sometimes known as lexemes) and the
grammars (rules) by which the symbols are manipulated. The
word "language" also refers to common properties of
languages. Language learning normally occurs most
intensively during human childhood. Most of the thousands of
human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols
which enable communication with others around them.
Languages seem to share certain properties, although many of
these include exceptions. There is no defined line between a
language and a dialect. Constructed languages such as
Esperanto, programming languages, and various mathematical
formalisms are not necessarily restricted to the properties
shared by human languages.
A variety of verbal and non-verbal means of communicating
exists such as body language, eye contact, sign language,
paralanguage, haptic communication, chronemics, and media
such as pictures, graphics, sound, and writing.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also
defines the communication to include the display of text,
Braille, tactile communication, large print, accessible
multimedia, as well as written and plain language, human
reader, and accessible information and communication
Every information exchange between living organisms — i.e.
transmission of signals that involve a living sender and
receiver can be considered a form of communication; and even
primitive creatures such as corals are competent to
communicate. Nonhuman communication also include cell
signaling, cellular communication, and chemical
transmissions between primitive organisms like bacteria and
within the plant and fungal kingdoms.
In any communication model, noise is interference with the
decoding of messages sent over a channel by an encoder.
There are many examples of noise:
Noise that physically disrupts communication, such as
standing next to loud speakers at a party, or the noise from
a construction site next to a classroom making it difficult
to hear the professor.
Physical maladies that prevent effective communication, such
as actual deafness or blindness preventing messages from
being received as they were intended.
Different interpretations of the meanings of certain words.
For example, the word "weed" can be interpreted as an
undesirable plant in your yard, or as a euphemism for
Mistakes in grammar can disrupt communication, such as
abrupt changes in verb tense during a sentence.
Poorly structured communication can prevent the receiver
from accurate interpretation. For example, unclear and badly
stated directions can make the receiver even more lost.
Stereotypical assumptions can cause misunderstandings, such
as unintentionally offending a non-Christian person by
wishing them a "Merry Christmas".
Certain attitudes can also make communication difficult. For
instance, great anger or sadness may cause someone to lose
focus on the present moment. Disorders such as Autism may
also severely hamper effective communication.