Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Interconnection

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9780415241182: Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Interconnection

In Communicating, the anthropologist Ruth Finnegan considers the many and varied modes through which we humans communicate and the multisensory resources we draw on.
The book uncovers the amazing array of sounds, sights, smells, gestures, looks, movements, touches and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time - resources consistently underestimated in those western ideologies that prioritise 'rationality' and referential language.

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About the Author:

Ruth Finnegan is Visiting Research Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University.

Review:

The name of the New Books in  Language channel might hint at a disciplinary bias towards "language". So in some sense Ruth Finnegan's Communicating: the Multiple Modes of Human Communication (2nd edition; Routledge, 2014) is a departure: central to her approach is the idea that, within a broader view of human communication, language (in the linguistic sense of the word) is over-emphasised. The book sets out many more ingredients to communication, spanning the gamut of sensory modalities (and hinting at what might lie beyond) as well as considering the role of artifacts.
Although both the book and this interview ultimately take place in conventional language, Ruth Finnegan succeeds admirably in evoking the richness of multisensory experience, whether in the poetics of ancient Greece or in the storytelling practices of the Limba tribe of Sierra Leone. The book's illustrations offer some cross-modal enrichment of the experience, and I hope this interview does too. For a more direct impression, the World Oral Literature Project's homepage for Ruth Finnegan's Limba collection is here: oralliterature.org/collections/rfinnegan001.html. - Chris Cummins

This book is a wonderful celebration of the immensely creative and diverse methods that humans have invented to connect and make sense together. After reading it, one will find most other accounts of communication narrow and dull..
–Jurgen Streeck, The University of Texas at Austin

Finnegan brings us to our senses in this finely argued book. She reminds us of just how much more than information exchange is involved in our human interconnectedness. Finally we have a book on communication that is as full and rich as communication itself. The book is full of the sights and the feel, the noise and smells of human life.
–Ron Scollon, Georgetown University, USA

...emphasis and wonderfully detailed documentation on the plethora of forms of communication it insists that language, spoken or written, is one and often not the major form through which humans make and receive meaning...The book's exapmles range so widely, draw from such different cultural and theoretical resources that, never mind its contribution to a revolution in thinkingabout representation and communication, it deserves to be in every household; it is beautifully written and well enough produced to have its place there. In all these ways, the book makes the strongest possible contribution to a now essential understanding of language, irrespective of where precisely our interests in language are located-in writing and literacy, language teaching, stylistics, social/political/ideological uses of language, translation studies, and so on. The British Association for Applied Linguistics 2003.

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Finnegan, Ruth
Editore: Routledge (2002)
ISBN 10: 0415241189 ISBN 13: 9780415241182
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