Non-verbal Communication

  • Course code: UPNNET-15-2
  • Credit number: 15
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Course description: This module explores non-verbal communication (NVC) from varied yet complementary perspectives. It is often the case that NVC is omitted from study in languages / linguistics courses, but research demonstrates that NVC plays a pivotal role in our communicative comprehension. Relatedly, this module provides the opportunity to explore sign languages – which are used by millions of people around the world – to a sufficient degree for Level 2 study. The module will cover the field of NVC in a logical manner. Firstly, the notions of NVC and “gesture” will be considered in terms of what they mean and why they are of academic interest. Specific forms of NVC will then be explored, such as the functions of eye contact and gaze shift, hand positions and path movements, and nervous self-touching behaviours. Then, NVC will be compared and contrasted with linguistic descriptions of sign languages, followed by opportunities to work with NVC data using appropriate technology. Finally, students will also get a chance to apply non-verbal theory and methods to a more specific linguistic field of study, for instance metaphor. There is great public interest in NVC, and this module allows students to discern between popular (yet misguided) views and interpretations which are supported by strong, empirical evidence. It also offers a chance for students to reflect on how they use NVC and how this may be honed to interact in a more confident and assertive way.