Communication. 1. From Latin signalis
("sign"), an "indicator, such as a gesture or colored light, that serves as a
means of communication" (Soukhanov 1992:1678). 2. In biology,
"any behavior that conveys information from one individual to another,
regardless of whether it serves other functions as well" (Wilson 1975:595).
3. Any type of sign
used to inform as to what may happen next (e.g., a hand-behind-head gesture signals that a listener may
argue with a speaker's point of view).
Chinese lanterns. The color, glow, placement, and shape of a Chinese paper lantern signals good luck, birth, death, long life, marriage, sickness, and other symbolic messages in neighborhood alleys of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. A plump, bright red lantern (deng) betokens good luck; it's roundness recalls the rounded shape of yuan (money). The vitality and energy of redness also signals a birth or marriage. A blue lantern, in contrast, signals sickness by suggesting energy in decline. Two white lanterns signal death and mourning in a household. Chinese lanterns have been used as signals since 250 B.C.
RESEARCH REPORT: As nonverbal signs help us understand intentions, feelings, and moods, they may become more conspicuous through a process of ritualization (Huxley 1923; e.g., in greeting rituals, the smile is a universal signal of friendly intent).
See also CUE.
Copyright 1998 - 2016 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)