A Brief History of Communication
Definition of “Communication”
The roots of the word communication (communis,
or common) accurately portray its purpose. In
communication the speaker is attempting to “be
one” with the listener. In the process of “being
one” we develop a communion, a transaction, a
dialogue. At its foundation, communication
involves a uniting and exchanging of thoughts. As
a result, the speaker is obligated to create a clear
picture of reality to stimulate listeners to “make
common” his or her thoughts.
(Cap 4-5)
How do we communicate?
“Basically, we communicate by using the
tools available to us, namely symbols.
Verbal and
nonverbal
language are
essentially sets
of commonly
accepted symbols
to which we
attach meaning.”
(Capp 5)
Early Communications
Before human beings
created languages and
alphabets, they
communicated with
both sound and body
language.
Early Communications
Arguably, the earliest
humans related
feelings and stories
through sounds as well
as body and hand
gestures.
Early Communications
Some of these stories
became illustrations,
probably drawn in the
dust on the ground
before eventually
developing into
petroglyphs, or
paintings created on
cave walls.
Early Communications
As humankind’s
communication
abilities developed,
other permanent
symbols evolved:
Wooden totem poles
Early Communications
As humankind’s
communication
abilities developed,
other permanent
symbols evolved:
Wooden totem poles
Egyptian hieroglyphics
Early Communications
As humankind’s
communication
abilities developed,
other permanent
symbols evolved:
Wooden totem poles
Egyptian hieroglyphics
Religious symbols like
the Star of David and
the Christian cross.
Development of Language
Even though scholars
were creating ways to
write languages, many
people were unable to
obtain a formal
education and could
not read these
developing alphabets .
..
Language & Symbols
. . . so early
commercial signage
developed, like the
barber pole and other
symbols indicating the
type of service a
merchant provided.
Symbols
Today, this signage
has developed into
trademarks.
Insignia
Other identifying
forms of
communication from
the past and present
include insignia worn
by military forces.
Insignia and Flags
These forces often
routinely carried flags
representing their
countries.
Early Military Communications
Before electronic
communications
evolved, military
forces found other
ways to relay their
plans. Roman soldiers
used torches to signal
their troops to attack.
Early Military Communications
Even animals were
used to communicate
important information.
Carrier pigeons were
instrumental during
World War I.
Native American Communication
Native Americans
used smoke signals
and drums which were
actually very effective
and could be seen and
heard from great
distances.
Developing Technology
Another valuable form
of communication
from the past and still
used today is Morse
Code.
Developing Technology
When automobiles
appeared, traffic signs
and signals evolved
out of necessity.
Developing Technology
Eventually, units of
measure were printed
on road signs to
communicate
distances and
acceptable miles per
hour for automobile
drivers.
Physically Challenged Communication
Individuals who are
unable to read, write,
see or hear may be
able to learn and use
sign language and
other forms of
specially adapted
communication
technology.
Non-Verbal Communication
Individuals
communicate every
minute of the day
through non-verbal
gestures and their
choice of dress.
Consider the following photographs:
Can you guess:
Socioeconomic Status?
Relationships?
Age?
Occupations?
Consider the following photographs:
Can you guess:
Socioeconomic Status?
Relationships?
Age?
Occupations?
Consider the following photographs:
Can you guess:
Socioeconomic Status?
Relationships?
Age?
Occupations?
Consider the following photographs:
Can you guess:
Socioeconomic Status?
Relationships?
Age?
Occupations?
Consider the following photographs:
Can you guess:
Socioeconomic Status?
Relationships?
Age?
Occupations?
Communication in Advertising
What can you
determine from
looking at the
following
advertisements?
Communication in Advertising
What can you
determine from
looking at the
following
advertisements?
Communication in Advertising
What can you
determine from
looking at the
following
advertisements?
Communication in Advertising
What can you
determine from
looking at the
following
advertisements?
Communication Today
Cell-phones
Instant Messaging
Photo/Video Options
Texting
Internet
E-Mail
Twittering
Live
telecommunications
??????
Back to the Beginning
Sometimes, however,
simply talking face-toface is truly the most
effective type of
communication, and
this fact is why
students should learn
how to craft and
deliver effective
speeches.
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A Brief History of Communication