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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X


VAN BELLE, H.A.. Reflections on a Christian view of human communication. Koers (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.75, n.1, pp.173-188. ISSN 2304-8557.

This article defines human communication as community building and describes the various functions of communication in life. It argues that a number of other human activities are presupposed in communication without which communication would not be possible. These activities are its inherent functions. Community building is described as the authentic function of communication. Without it communication would not be what it is. Lastly, there are several social activities that depend on communication for their existence. These are what communication is for. Such functions form the adherent functions of communication. Next the article describes a set of norms or criteria for distinguishing good communication from bad. Then follows a description of some models of communication found in the literature. These are seen as less than full descriptions of actual human communication. A few of these models reduce communication to one or more of its inherent functions. One honours the authentic function but none of them do justice to the adherent functions of communication. In addition, the article briefly describes and evaluates mass media communication. Because of its monological nature this communication can only produce one-way messages from sender to receiver. It thus gives the sender an unfair advantage of influence over the receiver. Dialogical communication remedies that problem and is to be preferred because in it the influence is mutual between the sender and the receiver of a message. However, it fails to account for the influence of such communication on third parties not involved in the dialogical relationship. The article, therefore, favours what it calls a triological form of communicating. In closing the article briefly describes social networking as the latest form of human communication.

Keywords : communication models; community building; dialogue; monologue; social networking.

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