The Communication Process

Part of the Kommunikation und Kybernetik in Einzeldarstellungen book series (COMMUNICATION, volume 2)


The following survey of the so-called communication process does not aim at a complete treatment of the complicated problem of transferring messages in general, or linguistic messages in particular. The mathematical theory of communication has been explained in numerous handbooks to which we can refer. The purpose of this chapter is simply to give a general theoretical description of the communication process seen from a linguistic point of view and without any mathematical demonstrations.


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Bibliographical Notes

  1. The communication process and the conveying of linguistic messages has been treated from many different points of view and by numerous scholars, inside and outside linguistics. We give just a few references of particular interest from a linguistic and structural viewpoint. See e.g. G. Miller, “Language and Communication”, 1951;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. C. Cherry, “On Human Communication”, 1957;Google Scholar
  3. J.B. Carroll, “The Study of Language”, 1955;Google Scholar
  4. Abraham Moles, “Théorie de l’information et perception esthétique”, 1958;Google Scholar
  5. Norbert Wiener, “Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine”, 1948; id., “The Human Use of Human Beings”, 1950;Google Scholar
  6. L. Bloomfield, “Language”, 1933, pp.21 – 41;Google Scholar
  7. K. Bühler, “Sprachtheorie”, 1934, Chap. I; Fr. Kainz, “Psychologie der Sprache”, Vol.III, particularly Chap.III—V; D. B. Fry, “Speech and Language” /The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, Vol.LXXI, 1957, pp.434–452/, and id., “Perception and Recognition in Speech” /For Roman Jakobson, 1956, pp.170–173/. A short survey was given by G. Ungeheuer, “Einführung in die Informationstheorie unter Berücksichtigung phonetischer Probleme” /Phonetica IV, 1959, pp. 96–106/. The quotation is from this article p. 96. The scheme of the communication process set up in Fig. 3 has on certain points been influenced by D. B. Fry’s written and oral contributions to the question; see the articles quoted above.Google Scholar
  8. K. Bühler, For the problems of script and written language (alphabets), see in the first place M. Cohen’s great work “La grande invention de l’écriture”, 1958.Google Scholar
  9. The Egyptian and Chinese signs are taken over from respectively F. Blatt, “Alfabetets historia”, 1945,Google Scholar
  10. and B. Karlgren, “Kinesisk elementarbok”, 1948.Google Scholar
  11. The Japanese syllabic types are quoted from Ph. Noack, “Lehrbuch der japanischen Sprache”, 1886;Google Scholar
  12. for further details about Japanese syllables and script, see G. Wenck, “Japanische Phonetik” I, 1954. Graphemes have been described structurally by Henning Spang-Hanssen in “Probability and Structural Classification in Language Description”, 1959; and by Pierre Naert, in “Une définition et classification non-phonétique des graphèmes du vieil-islandais” /Studia linguistica XV, 1961, pp. 29–51/. For semantic noise and similar phenomena, see Cherry, “On Human Communication”, p. 67. The quotation from S. S. Stevens is taken over from Cherry, op. cit., p. 6. Conceptualization (code formation, etc.) has been treated by A. Kuhn in “Synthèse”, No.2, 1961, p. 130. For quantization, see in the first place Cherry’s “On Human Communication” (the example quoted is taken from pp.46–47) and B. Mandelbrot, “Structure formelle des textes et communication” /“Word” X, 1954, pp. 1–27/. — The quotation from Fry is to be found in “For Roman Jakobson”, p. 173.Google Scholar
  13. The schematic picture of a nerve impulse is taken from W. A. van Bergeijk, J. R. Pierce, and E. E. David Jr., “Waves and the Ear” (Fig. 45). — Fundamental problems of linguistic communication are treated by Jean-Claude Lafon, “Message et phonetique”, 1961 (cp. particularly his scheme of the communication process, p. 68).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ArtsUniversity of LundSweden

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