The Difference between Communcation and Language

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When your dog wags her tail, she is communicating with you. She is happy. When a baby cries because she is hungry, she is also communicating without words. When your husband tells you he loved dinner, but leaves most of it on his plate, again, this is another form of communication. And speaking and writing are communication, but of a different order.

On this little planet, language is unique to the human race. Other animals can communicate, but only domestic animals (and some primates studied by scientists) understand actual words. And an English-speaking dog won’t understand commands in other languages, unless she is taught commands in other languages. That is because speech – and writing – are symbolic communication and not instinctive (like crying or smiling). Basically, all English speakers have agreed that the word ‘dog’ represents a member of the canine family. There is no reason why we’ve chosen the word ‘dog’ that actually links itself…

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