4 out of 4 stars
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The book Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication by Ruth Finnegan is a fascinating look at how interaction has evolved over the centuries. Communication is not only projected orally but through all the senses. Touch, sight, even smell is crucial to the overall development of communication, and the author provides well-documented research on how written communication especially has changed through the generations. From the hieroglyphs found from 5000 B.C.E on rock formations in southern Utah, to the recent use of emoji's in electronic communication, this book is a thorough foray into speech.
The book is divided into multiple sections, first documenting how the different senses affect our speech as a whole. The text then dives into the earliest known representations of written communication, and also how animal interaction compares to our bodily interactions without verbalization. As our spoken speech has developed over time, we have evolved further from animals in terms of communication, but we are still able to communicate effectively with animals if we know what physical clues to look for. The book is also full of illustrations providing a pictorial history of human speech.
I enjoyed this book immensely. I was worried it would read like a dry textbook, but the author does a wonderful job with the writing flow and information. I learned a lot from this book, and plan to reread it as necessary to reflect on the information learned. I really liked how the author organized the book in a way that was easy to follow. It was not necessarily chronological, but the book starts with the foundations of speech, how we use the five senses to communicate, and the future of communication was fascinating and informative.
I really enjoyed all the research the author did for this book, and feel so much more informed about the history of human interaction than I have ever been. The author does a wonderful job discussing how different languages affect specific cultures and gave me a lot to ponder. The author is from England and uses standard English as opposed to American English (i.e. "realise," "adrenalin," etc.) and this proved her point to me about communication that was not initially intended. This book is a quick read, with an interesting subject matter that I had never really thought of previously.
I give Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication 4 out of 4 stars for its interesting subject matter, smooth writing flow, and vivid illustrations. I recommend this book to any intellectual looking to either supplement their formal educational focus or simply anyone looking to learn more about this fascinating subject.
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