chapter  3
21 Pages

Artifacts and “interpersonal” communication

In this chapter, I lay a foundation for fashioning a theory of human communication that departs sharply from traditional views. The reason for taking this drastic step is simple: conventional communication theories are profoundly flawed because they rest on, or are adapted from, language-based models. To be sure, language is a marvel of natural selection; not only do people learn language as effortlessly as they learn to walk, but activities everywhere are punctuated by these peculiar acoustic performances. Scholars are drawn strongly to language, perhaps because they believe it directly reflects, through symbolism, uniquely human cognitive processes (e.g., Deacon 1997). Thus, it is no surprise that language use (as verbal performance) has been taken as the paradigm of communication and all other performances subordinated, both theoretically and methodologically, to verbal ones (Burling 1993).