Catching the essence of the concept


Communication is a basic human need and can thus be defined as a basic human right (see e.g. the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Communication Bill of rights (ASHA / American speech-language-hearing association)
Communication, however, has different meanings to different people and different professionals. Communication is also often combined with the word interaction. Interaction might, however, be understood as a basis for communication, as a source or a provider for communication.
Speech and language therapists as health care professionals are specialised in communication difficulties (among other things). As a speech and language therapist communication is the most important content and goal in the therapy. In my research I am also studying the essence of communication, and thus chose the concept for my terms analysis. As you will see, the content of the concept is very wide, and the viewpoints are numerous. However, I want to start with describing the concept in general and deepening the concept as a speech therapist and a resercher towards the end of the analysis.

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How would YOU define communication?
Tutoring new speech therapists or interpreter assistants I usually ask their definitions of the concept. Different people have different meanings. By communication someone means the interaction between two or more people, someone may talk about talking. The other one defines communication as conveying infromation through media or in business.

Communication origins from the latin word "communis" which means to share. The initial two letters "co-" refers to something in common; doing or having something together.
Usually we understand communication as the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information and as something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups. However, if we want to understand the different connotations between different people and different professions we need to look deeper.



- pass on, pass along

- transmit thoughts of feelings

- transfer to another (convey, transmit)

- join or connect

- be in verbal contact; interchange information or ideas

- exchange, transmit or send a message

- express, tell


Synonyms for the word communication (according to Thesaurus):
1) communion, connection, contact, conversation, correspondence, declaration, delivery, expression, interaction, intercommunication, publication, talking, telling, transfer, transmission, writing
2) announcement, disclosure, information, message, news, report, statement, word


Antonyms for the word communication:
cover, quiet, suppression, withholding


Finnish translations to the word communication
  1. yhteys, yhteydenpito, kommunikaatio, tiedonvälitys
  2. viestintä
  3. liikenneyhteydet
  4. ilmoitus

The specific differences between English and Finnish are the connotations between words "kommunikaatio" and "viestintä". In everyday language kommunikaatio refers more to the interaction between people as viestintä refers to the media and business communication. However, today in speech and language therapy we are shifting towards the word viestintä for the reasons of using words etymologically Finnish.


As you see, the terms analysis may take you to multiple meanings, connotations and references. The importance is after all understanding the different meanings of the term and finding and defining the concept of your own. How to close the analysis? To finish, I decided to use one important definition of communication in my own research partly borrowed from respected researchers in the field (von Tetzchner, S., Grove, N., Loncke, F, Barnett, S., Woll, B and Clibbens, J 1997) and partly formulated in my own terms.
The essence of communication might thus be seen as interaction and a conversation between two or more individuals taking responsibility for their participation and taking turns in expressing and perceiving messages, thereby creating and negotiang meaning in order to make themselves understood and to understand the other.


* Mirenda, P & Bopp, K.D. ( ) "Playing the game": Strategic Competence in AAC. Communicative competence for Indiciduals who use AAC, p. 401-442. eds. Light, J.C.. Beukelman, D.R., Reichle, J. London: Brooks Publishing.

* Solomon-Rise & Soto, G. (2011) Co-Construction as a Facilitative Factor in Supporting the Personal Narratives of Children Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Communication Disorders Quarterly, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p70

* von Tetzchner, S.& Jensen, M.H. (1997) Introduction. Augmentative and alternative communication - European perspectives, p. 1-18.. eds. von Tetzchner, S & Jensen, M.H. London: Whurr Publishers.

* von Tetzchner, S., Grove, N., Loncke, F, Barnett, S., Woll, B and Clibbens, J (1997)

Preliminaries to a comprehensice model of augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and alternative communication - European perspectives, p. 19-36. eds. von Tetzchner, S & Jensen, M.H. London: Whurr Publishers.

All the pictures are taken from Wikimedia or Papunet kuvatyökalu