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Are we heading towards a 'Smart Non-Word Non-Verbal Communication'?
"With the advent of digital media and internet, a surge in production of electronic graphic narratives has been seen due smart technology and software available for their production as a commercial activity," writes researcher Lalit Kishore indicating a shift toward 'non-word' communication at

He adds that as usual, teachers have not made any worthwhile efforts, except at research level, to convert the text or concepts therein into graphic narratives. In science subjects, the quest narrative could be relevant since in it, the characters are required to achieve a goal in certain setting with events that exist in real and are factual. The graphic narrative can be a short story that usually focuses on a few characters and one event.

I think the thought-provoking article of the scribe SK Saksena in this portal titled "Will 'non-words' dictate how we communicate in the future?" raises a pertinent question. He speculates rightly when he states, "Words in dictionaries are a combination of alphabets. But what I find as a significant game changer is the fact that in 2015, the Oxford Dictionary added a 'non-word' an emoji as the 'Word of the Year'!" And the effect of it has been seen on the internet where the non-visual are liked the most. My experience also confirms it, every time, I put a text with an image, I got meagre views and still lesser likes.

Not only that, research in non-word communication has helped both children with special needs and infants through 'Makaton' and 'Picture Exchange' methods of communication though visuals. Moreover, non-word communication has universal appeal as visual literacy is nothing but making sense of the visual code saliently and acting. Road signs are an example of it and so are the signs at railway stations and airports. In academics; diagrams, visual codes, logos, icons, clip art vectors, graphics, etc,. are the examples of non-word communications

Even in teaching-learning practices, Pedagogic Graphic Narrative (PGN) worksheets are being experimented, which are the learning task sheets or academic leaflets in made of adapted visual codes presentations akin to comics for a disciplinary content. It can be dual code illustration of a content episode or it can be a relevant visual codes sequence which can be wordless, which used as a visual support learning through interactive decoding by both the teacher and students for learning.

My observation is hat everything that starts as a support to learning by innovative communicators such as wordless booklets, soon gets corrupted by commercial interests which takes readers from learning to "bottomless abyss of strip cartooning" – as described by Raymond Briggs, who was producing such works in the UK. Moreover, the internet's interest towards making linguistic communication nano-byte, the visual or word-less communication is going to be order the day.

"The graphic non-fiction, of which PGN can be seen as a part, often follows a schematic structure of a simple narrative in visual codes in a sequence to convey the concept or teach a small learning episode. A PGN based learning task sheet on photosynthesis which was created and used for a child with special needs and it worked well as compared to the conventional teaching," writes Kishore on the Slideshare portal.

To me 'non-word' communication with 'sign language' is going to be the 'smart language' of the future 'smart cities' and 'smart classroom'. Wait and watch! Wordlessly!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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