Its easy to take speaking a language for granted – throughout history, throughout the animal kingdom, there is no better method of conveying thoughts, ideas, humour or our deepest emotions. But how do we speak to others who don’t communicate in our language? In this blog we’ll look at the ways we communicate without actually speaking (or writing) to one another.
Body language is perhaps the most universal language on the planet, as we share this means of communication with the animal kingdom; when frightened humans and animals tend to retreat and make themselves small, and the opposite is true when confident or attempting to threaten. And while different cultures vary, generally body language stays the same throughout humanity. The things to look out for when reading body language are eye and body contact, proximity and facial expressions.
We’ve dedicated an entire blog post to body language before, which you can read here: https://www.vlslanguages.com/blog/body-language
If there are aspects of body language that are up for debate, very little can be said for body contact. A person knows what is being said when receiving a hug or a reassuring touch, or conversely, when being pushed or punched. There are two forms of body contact; one being private contact, which takes place in a place away from other people, an example of this would be sexual activity. The other is public contact, such as a handshake – speaking of which, handshakes are surprisingly layered in terms of communication; it can be used to greet, but rejection of a handshake can be a serious affront, and between restrained men it can be an expression of affection and love. Furthermore, a handshake can mean a sign of trust, or forgiveness if there has been tension between two people.
Is there a better way to express yourself than through art? A recent study suggests that there are recognisable moods in songs throughout the music world – songs you would dance to, or lullabies and soothing songs. Furthermore, the language of music called notation, is fairly standardised around the planet, particularly in professionals. Beyond this, the artwork that hangs in famous museums attracts people from all corners of the globe – and though the finer details of the meaning and message may be debateable, the general mood can be read regardless of where you’re from. The same goes for dance and any other artform; the human nature is present and reflected within these methods of communication, and emotion is something we all experience, and therefore can all relate to.