book, Silent Talk : Nonverbal Communication, is intended for the benefit of students
of linguistics and adjacent sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology
and speech pathology, who would like to know something more about the aspects
of nonverbal communication than provided in their respective courses. Throughout
the book, I have made attempts to relate these aspects to Indian contexts. The
book is divided into six chapters, focusing on definition and scope of nonverbal
communication, proxemics and nonverbal communication, use and function of eye
and face in nonverbal communication, use and function of language and silence
in nonverbal communication, gesture, and the use and function of nonverbal communication
in the abnormal individuals.
Parts of this book have been presented in lectures which I delivered at the Department
of Linguistics, Madurai Kamaraj University, Department of Linguistics and Department
of Tamil, Bharathiar University, and the Department of Tamil, University of Madras.
I am grateful to all those who attended these lectures and who, by their insightful
questions, helped me revise the earlier drafts. In particular, I must express
my gratitude to Dr. M. Israel, Professor and Head, Department of Linguistics,
Madurai Kamaraj, Dr. K. Karunakaran, Professor and Head, Department of Linguistics
and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Bharathiar University, Dr. N. Jeyaraman, Professsor
and Head, Department of Tamil, Bharathiar University, and Dr. N. Sanjeevi, Professor
and Head, Department of Tamil, University of Madras. Their gesture, at a time
when I badly needed personal reassurance and academic encouragement, helped me
to complete this book soon.
I had many useful discussions with Mrs. B. Syamala Kumari, Reader-cum-Research
Officer, CIIL, on the design, content, scope and coverage of this book. She was
kind to read the manuscript in several stages of its completion and offer critical
comments which helped improve the quality of the contents and their presentation
in this book.
Mrs. C.R. Sulochana, Miss Suman Kumari, and Mrs. Sharada Mallikarjun, Librarians
of the CIIL Library, Sri Nissar Hussain and Sri Anwar Pasha helped me in location
and obtaining necessary reference materials. Dr. D.P. Pattanayak, Director, CIIL,
Sri H.L.N. Bharati, Asst. Editor, Sri V. Gopal, Stenographer (Technical), who
set the type for the entire book, Sri Sambamurthi, who typed the numerous drafts
of the munuscript, Sri S.B. Biswas, Manager, CIIL Printing Press and my other
colleagues at the CIIL Printing Press deserve special mention. I am grateful to
all of them.
My wife Swarna read the manuscript and helped me write and rewrite it several
times. But for her personal care and understanding I would never have completed
With gratitude and admiration, I dedicate this book to my teacher Professor Stanley
Starosta, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, and insightful theoretician
and a delightful teacher of linguistics, whose insistence on the deeper analysis
of linguistic structures is matched equally by his awareness of the need for supplementing
this analysis with findings from other sciences as well.
M. S. Thirumalai