Communicating without any understandable words

At the present time my parents are in Penrith visiting family, and it had made me realise how depressing solitude can be.  But not all solitude, there is solitude when you just want to escape and be on your own for a while.  Solitude when you just want to escape everything that is familiar and be alone, but with unfamiliar people at the same time (what I am planning on doing in my travels). And solitude when you don’t have anyone to talk to, and no need to use your vocal chords for extended periods of time.

It is the final type of solitude that I will be exploring.  It is a very strange feeling when you think about not talking at all, not opening your mouth unless to eat, drink or yawn.   With even the most anti-social people at least communicating with other people in one way or another not many people experience deep solitude often.  The only true exceptions to my theory are people that purposely remove themselves from society and live alone in a small cabin only going to civilisation to get supplies.

These thoughts on solitude got me thinking what it will be like while I am on my journey, will I feel a deep loneliness of not being able to communicate with people for very extended periods of time?  But then I came to the most wonderful realisation. Vocal communication is only a very small part of it. In one of my subjects this semester we have been learning the use of communicating information with just a drawing.  We have had to build complex objects inside a CAD program with only an image and some measurements.  Therefore realising that if language is an obstacle there are so many ways left to communicate with another person that it just means that a deep political discussion is out of the question, but at least we can show how old we are with numbers, how many brothers and sisters we have with drawings and where we come from with a map.  And that is only picking at the surface of how to communicate without words.

When you listen to someone talk it is not just the words that you are listening to, it is the tone that the words are said with.  If I turned around and yelled at Sam in rage telling her that I HATE her, she would be really hurt about it, but if I said the same words to her but in a joking manner she would not even think twice about it.  Is it possible to talk to someone with only tone being the sole convener of meaning? If talking with a Moroccan he does not speak a word of English, I don’t speak a word of Arab yet can a message be passed on with only tone? If I speak in English would he understand what I was saying without me saying anything of meaning to him?

прощание I know of only one person that will be able to pronounce that, but even he would not know what it means…



Filed under Thoughts, Travel

5 responses to “Communicating without any understandable words

  1. Nick

    Two things come to mind. First, if communicating with a person through drawings about how many brothers or sisters you have, how are you going to differentiate between brothers and sisters? Please tell me it will be by using the universal toilet-gender signs.

    Secondly, dogs. Remember when we used to tell The Dunster that we hated her in a really nice voice? And when we used to tell her how awesome she was in an angry voice? Tone most definitely communicates emotion. It’s difficult to know how well it conveys specific meaning though. Let me know how you go.

  2. Stephen

    Well, I most certainly agree with you, Manget. Most emotive communication is not really conveyed with words. In fact, words are hopelessly incompetent to describe anything metaphysical. A series of groans or grunts is much more apt, or perhaps some art.

    However, in describing abstractions and labels, it is nearly impossible to communicate without some mutually understood words or written symbols.

    So, while it is easily possible to indicate that you would like to purchase milk and you wish to buy it for a certain value, you will find it difficult to justify why, for example, you think that the milk is faulty if it is not immediately obvious visually.

    Also, the profundity of the look that you give in the Newcastle University ads defies any linguistic appellation.

  3. hellllooo! who writes this blog? I found it and have been reading but i forget who the owner is ha. enlighten meeee 🙂

  4. Copernicus

    Ha! Having pronounced it, I actually know what it means. Proshaniye, something along the lines of “until next time”. Now I know this isn’t really what you were talking about but it’s interesting how one can reconstitute meaning using background knowledge – the word “prochain” means “next” in French, and I know that, historically, Russian has borrowed a disproportionate number of words from French (presumably via the aristocracy who were often educated in that language).
    I also know that this is horrendous procrastination on my part so I will return to my assignment. You’ve a nice blog though.

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