Relationship Between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

The communication process made of  a message being sent and perceived by the others. The message may be verbal or non-verbal. Communication means talking, making friends, interacting with people, having relationships either private life relationships or work related. Communicating with others is essential in leading a normal life. We all communicate in our own way but we need to learn how to do it effectively. Communication has two types, there is verbal communication and non-verbal communication.

The verbal is includes oral communication mean that through words and writing. Verbal communication is divided into written and oral communication. The oral communication refers to speaking words in the communication process. Oral communication can be face-to-face communication or a conversation over the phone or on the Messenger chat over the Internet. Spoken conversations or dialogues are affecting by voice modulation, volume and even the speed and clarity of speaking. The Another type of verbal communication is written communication. Written communication can be via letters, newspaper, mail, or email. The effectiveness of written communication depends on the style of writing, grammar, vocabulary used, clarity and precision of language.

Non-verbal communication is includes the body language or expressive behaviors of the person who is doing, which will include the body posture, overall body movements, and the hand gestures. The facial expressions are also play a major role while communication since the expressions on a person’s face say a lot about his/her mood. On the other hand gestures like a handshake, wave hand to say hello or goodbye, a smile or a hug can independently convey emotions. Another example, a person want to show uncertainty will make some sounds to mean that are not sure. Non-verbal communication can also be in the form of pictorial representations, signboards, or even photographs, sketches and paintings.

Relationship Between Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

There are several ways in which the nonverbal behavior is seen clearly related to verbal behavior. This relationship  between verbal and non-verbal communication is one of dependence and also of independence. There are nonverbal communicative acts that are easily and accurately translated into words. Several gestures clearly illustrate this relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication. For example, the gesture of folded hands for namaste, the gesture of handshake, a smile, a frown, etc., are generally translatable into words. There is also a class of nonverbal acts that are very much a part of speech and serves the function of emphasis. Examples are head and hand movements that occur more frequently with words, and phrases of emphasis. There are acts which draw pictures of the referents tracing the contour of an object or person referred to verbally. Yet another class of acts is employed for displaying the effects (feelings). Another class refers to acts that help to initiate and terminate the speech of participants in a social situation. These regulators might suggest to a speaker that he keep talking, that he clarify, or that he hurry up and finish.

There are many ways in which the relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication can be characterized. These are as follows:

  1. The relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication is one of the latter playing a supplementary role to the former. The non-verbal acts that are supplementary to verbal acts may precede or follow or be simultaneous with the verbal acts. For example, in many verbal acts one notices an accompaniment of one or more nonverbal acts, such as gestures, facial expressions, and movement towards or away from the addressee, to illumine the meaning of the former. While for any verbal acts such an accompaniment may only be considered redundant, for several others, such and accompaniment explicitness, clarity, emphasis, discrimination and reinforcement.
  2. The relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication is also one of the former playing a supplementary role to the latter. In many verbal acts, both in children and adults, in normal’s with all the linguistic organs intact, and normal with some handicap to the linguistic organs, as well as in abnormal individuals, nonverbal acts may take precedence over the verbal acts in several ways. In the normal with all the linguistic organs intact, occasions demand the use of nonverbal acts such as pantomime and gestures for aesthetic purposes, and for purposes of coded (secret) communication. Indulgence in nonverbal acts as primary medium is also necessitated by the distance that separates the parties which can, however, retain visual contact while engaging themselves in communication.
  3. The relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication could be one of correspondence as well. That is, there are several nonverbal acts that can be accurately translated into words in the language of a culture in which such nonverbal acts are performed. A handshake, shaking a fist at someone, a smile, and frown, etc., are all nonverbal acts translatable into verbal medium in a particular language. The functions of these nonverbal acts, context to context, are also codified in aesthetic nonverbal acts, such as dance, sculpture and other arts. The correspondence is sometimes translatable into words, sometimes into phrases and sentences, and several times translatable into compressed episodes involving lengthy language discourses. But the correspondence is there all the same and the import of this correspondence is shared between individuals within a community. There is also yet another correspondence of nonverbal acts in the sense that similar nonverbal acts could mean different things in different cultures.
  4. Yet another relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication is one of dependence. A verbal act may depend for its correct interpretation entirely on a nonverbal act. Likewise a nonverbal act may depend for its correct interpretation entirely on a verbal act. In extreme circumstances, the former is caused because of deliberate distortion of the verbal act, or because of the difficulty in listening clearly to the verbal act, or because of the difficulty in reading with clarity what is intended to be read in the written verbal message. Deliberate distortion is not found only in contrived acts such as poetry or drama. It is done in day to day language itself. Distortion and opacity of the verbal message are also required in certain socio-cultural contexts wherein it is demanded that verbal acts be suppressed and made dependent on nonverbal acts. The dominant nonverbal acts also depends on verbal acts for clarity. This dependence also depends on verbal acts for clarity. It also occurs in daily life.
  5. Verbal and nonverbal acts can be independent of one another. Something is communicated through a verbal act. The continued manifestation of this communicative act may be in the form of nonverbal acts. That is, in a single communicative act, part of the message may be in verbal form and the rest in nonverbal, in an alternating way. Each part is independent of the other. This is contrived in poetry and drama. It is also found in every day life. An extreme form of this independence is the gulf that we notice between what one says and what one does. Also prevarication both in word and deed derives its strength, among others, from this feature.
  6. Another relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication in one of non-relevance. This is most commonly found in normal adult speech and its accompanying gestures which are produced simply without any communicative intent. We move our hands, snap our fingers, move our bodies while speaking, with these gestures having no relevance to the speech we make. When this non-relevance between verbal and nonverbal acts found in normal is shifted to non-relevance or irrelevance within the single domain, within speech itself or within nonverbal act itself (during which coherence in speech or act is lost), we start considering the individual abnormal in some way. That is, non-relevance across the verbal and nonverbal media is normal, but non-relevance within a single medium is abnormal. The non-relevance is idiosyncratic and could be imitational as well. In the normal the excessive non-relevance of nonverbal acts accompanying speech comes to hamper the understanding of the verbal acts.

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