Elements of Communication Exchange

Elements of Communication Exchange


There are four major elements of communication: these are the sender; the receiver; the topic or referent; and the means of expression. The sender is the person who is sending a message The receiver is receiving it, in this case we show the infant and parent as sender and receiver the referent or the topic is what they are communicating about and the means of expression is the behavior used to communicate the message In this case, the infant is using a pointing gesture to communicate about the topic of the balloons As communication develops and becomes more sophisticated, the distance between those four elements becomes greater and greater both conceptually and physically In terms of the physical distance between the sender and the receiver, in this case the parent and the infant, communication initially involves a lot of direct contact then as gestures are developed a child can refer to things that are slightly removed from him or herself When children start talking, the parent simply needs to be within earshot Finally when they start using telephones and sending letters and email, they don’t even have to be in the same country to communicate with each other As far as the distance between the sender and the topic of communication, initially the infant is revealing information about what we call self topics At first they are strictly internal states- “I’m hungry”, “I’m wet”, “I’m sleepy.” Gradually they become able to talk about topics that are external to themselves but they’re still very much things that are important to their basic physiological states, such as food Eventually they start talking about environmental topics, first ones that are physically present in the room and then later things that are absent, like dad at the office Finally, they start talking about more and more abstract topics including concepts like time and existence relativity and that sort of thing. Finally, the conceptual distance between the referent or topic, and the means of communication gets greater. Initially, communication generally involves a lot of physical contact between the child and the topic. Later then as they start communicating about things using other means such as iconic gestures, they can be more physically removed from the referent As children start using words, there initial words may have some auditory connection to there referents. For instance they might say, “plane” in kind of a sing-song way, giving the impression of the sound of planes flying over Eventually they’re just saying, “plane”, which has no physical relationship whatsoever to an actual airplane

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