Communication (from Latin: communicare, meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is usually defined as the transmission of information. The term can also refer just to the message communicated or to the field of inquiry studying such transmissions. There are many disagreements about its precise definition. John Peters argues that the difficulty of defining communication emerges from the fact that communication is both a universal phenomenon (because everyone communicates) and a specific discipline of institutional academic study. One definitional strategy involves limiting what can be included in the category of communication (for example, requiring a "conscious intent" to persuade). By this logic, one possible definition of communication is the act of developing meaning among entities or groups through the use of sufficiently mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic conventions.
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An important distinction is between verbal communication, which happens through the use of a language, and non-verbal communication, for example, through gestures or facial expressions. Models of communication try to provide a detailed explanation of the different steps and entities involved. An influential model is given by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, who argue that communicative motivation prompts the sender to compose a message, which is then encoded and transmitted. Once it has reached its destination, it is decoded and interpreted by the receiver. Communication is studied in various fields. Information theory investigates the quantification, storage, and communication of information in general. Communication studies is concerned with human communication, while the science of biocommunication is interested in any form of communication between living organisms.
Communication can be realized visually (through images and written language) and through auditory, tactile/haptic (e.g. Braille or other physical means), olfactory, electromagnetic, or biochemical means (or any combination thereof). Human communication is unique in its extensive use of abstract language.