Language and Linguistics

Elements constituting the communication/Nonverbal communication

Elements constituting the communication

In the fact of communication we can extract three constituent elements : Elements constituting the communication

  1. Intensity
  2. Modality
  3. Content


This element will depend on the importance of the semantic field or meaning of the message that is transmitted. But this is a totally subjective factor since what is of great importance for one can be totally trivial for another. 

The intensity of a communication is usually manifested in 3 states:

    • Privacy, that is, who and how many know the precise content of a message.
    • Emotivity, which is quantifiable through blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, pupil dilation …
    • Risk. Sense for the subject that makes the communication.

Modality Elements constituting the communication

Fundamentally there are two modes of communication: verbal communication and nonverbal communication.

Verbal communication consists in coding the meaning of a message through the use of a spoken and written formal language, which all the interlocutors share.

Nonverbal communication consists in the issuance of a message, often unconsciously, through elements that cannot be encoded through a formal language of signs and symbols. For example, waving your hand quickly, even if a word is not issued in formal language, it will be understood as a greeting or the word “hello.” But this is a verbal language since a sign is the continent that carries the meaning of the greeting. Elements constituting the communication


The content of a message can be of a different nuance, such as thoughts, feelings, values, morality and very diverse topics such as politics, sexuality, religion.

Communication filters

In communication there are a series of filters that are a set of decisions that learning teaches us to make decisions automatically.

In function of:

  • The self-image: every person has an image of himself, a self-concept that is loaded with feelings of self-worth, self-esteem and aspiration levels. This self-concept tends to remain unchanged. That is why the style, the terms of the communication are selected and not only the contents.
  • The image of the interlocutor: it is loaded with emotionality, much of the attention that should be focused on the message is diverted to the way I should have to relate to that specific person.
  • The definition of the situation: acts as a content selection element and a true filter of the tone, form and terms. We adapt the communication to make it consistent with the situation in which it takes place. When a situation is defined, the social roles of which the situation is part are automatically defined. The situation will come defined by the physical environment, time and space. Elements constituting the communication
  • Motivations, feelings and attitudes greatly influence the selection of content. Any express response, personal needs and emotional situations of the subject who communicates something.
  • Habits, conditions and other elements learned, that is, what was previously left in the communicant by similar previous experiences.
  • The expectations you have about what a specific person will do, for what she is or for what can be expected from the group to which she belongs. These expectations are established from past experiences, stereotypes. First impressions must be taken into account, the expectations of being and acting as communication filters tend to be confirmed. The human being will cause what he expects in advance.

Nonverbal communication basically has a number of forms: Elements constituting the communication

  • The Body Posture, which will express in a special way the polarities “superior? Lower ”,“ dominance? Submission ”and Tension? Relaxation. This form will express, in the same way, the exercise of the various roles. But it should be borne in mind that this form can be greatly influenced by sociocultural elements.
  • Body Contact, which in our western culture is reduced, outside the family, to the hands. What must be taken into account is which parts of the body are touched and by whom.
  • Physical Proximity, but it is only important in expressions of intimacy and dominance. Is it going to be relative to the physical environment, that is, for example, going on a passenger in an urban bus on time? Punta means absolutely nothing.
  • Orientation or Position with respect to others in parallel, face to face, … The various interpersonal attitudes are expressed.
  • Gestures or Expressions, which often occur involuntarily, communicate emotional states.
  • Head Movements, which reinforce and control the timing of the conversation.
  • Facial Expression, which is the great means of providing feedback or “feed back” to the interlocutor. Elements constituting the communication
  • Appearance, the way of dressing, personal hygiene … are expressive aspects but these are always under the control of the subject‘s will.
  • The Non-Linguistic Aspects of spoken language, such as tone and volume. Studies in this regard have shown that the listener recognizes about 70% the emotion expressed by the sender through the tone, even if the content of the message is neutral.


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