The Art of Silence

By Patience Kelly

Non-Verbal Communication and Linguistics

Non-Verbal communication can be defined as communication through wordless clues and can include things like; clothing, uses of time like waiting and pausing, touch in communication, body language like foot tapping, nodding, shrugging, waving and other body movement, things like limping and running, facial expressions, eye movements, smell, voice quality, silence, mumbling, speed, tone, volume, posture, position of body, and uses of space.

Languages such as American sign language have been around since the 17th century. Native Americans used signed language systems before 1492, in the 1500 the Turkish Ottoman court were using signed communication. In Ancient Rome, many men were known for their art of public speaking, and followed strict rules of gesture and even which hands to use in public speaking. The crowd understood the meanings of these gestures, and the messages were respected by all.

In the 1980’s a group of deaf children in Nicaragua came together and created their own form of sign language, completed with syntax, and linguists were allowed to see the birth of a language for the first time.

Non-verbal communication accounts for as much as two thirds of all communication, and is arguably the most important part of any conversation. The nuances of silence, or how a look between people who have known each other for years can communicate hours of spoken conversation. Even things like handwriting and page layout can make a statement about how a person communicates, and who they are as a person.

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