Home » Communication and language

Communication and language

The following vocabulary is useful for understanding and discussing communication and language.

Communicating without speaking

  • Body language – how a person positions themselves (e.g. facing someone, looking at the floor, crossing their arms) that tells us how someone feels.
  • Non-verbal communication  – similar to sign language, but this can be clear, pre-arranged signals. A policeman directing traffic, for example, often uses his/her arms to tell drivers where to go, when to stop etc – this is non-verbal communication.
  • Sign language  – use of the hands to show words and meaning used by (and to communicate to) deaf people.


  • Mother tongue – (also called ‘Native language’ or ‘First language’) this is the language you were brought up listening to and speaking
  • Bilingual – the ability to speak fluently and accurately in two languages
  • Multilingual – the ability to speak fluently and accurately in more than two languages
  • Polyglot – a person who is multilingual