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About language and communication

Photo: What is language? What is communication?

Most people have heard the rule that says 93% of communication is non-verbal. While this statistic is disputed, it illustrates how good communicators are not only people who are skilled at using words, but  how they convey meaning using body language and other devices.

To achieve impact, and influence the world around us, we need to develop both language and communication skills effectively. But what is the difference between language and communication?

What is language?

Language can be described as the words (vocabulary), phrases, grammar and expressions we use and how we organise them to communicate. Language ability is both receptive (what we understand when others use it) and expressive (what we ourselves produce and use).

Babies develop a good deal of receptive language (but have less expressive language) during their first year. For example, a one-year-old child may understand quite a lot of what is said to her, but be able to actually say very little, as at that age, receptive abilities are more advanced than expressive ones.

What is communication?

Communication is the means by which we convey language, both to get our meaning across and to understand the meaning of others. It is vital not only to learn and to inform, but also to make connections and relationships with people.

It is crucial for our social and emotional wellbeing. It is also a two-way process and involves not only what we say or sign, but other things like eye contact, gesture, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. Communication begins right from birth, long before first words, with cries, then coos and smiles.

For children to develop a language well, they need to be surrounded by capable users of that language. For deaf children, who have varying levels of hearing, it is important explore a number of communication methods that are available that best suits your child’s needs.