According to Katie Wales in A Dictionary of Stylistics, communication can be defined as "the process of exchanging information or messages; and human language, in speech and writing, is the most significant and most complex communication system" (69).
- I inserted the semicolon (after "messages") where the original has a comma, just to make it clearer.
- This is a helpful definition that does not actually make reference to meaning.
- Just as it does not explicitly refer to meaning, this definition does not explicitly refer to intention, which is significant to communication. But the idea of "exchanging" probably implies intention.
- The word "process" makes sense, but it might make the definition sound a bit too scientific or mechanical -- something that communication (or at least the subcategory of human language) is not.
- The definition is broad enough to include all communication and helpfully distinguishes or reminds of the subcategory of human language, which is what most researchers in the humanities and social sciences are focused on.
What do you think?