Long before we had words to communicate with, we had a highly sophisticated non-verbal repertoire. Hand gestures, eye movements, tonal variance, posture, facial expressions, lips, tongues, teeth … the list is almost endless. Think how a small pre-verbal child communicates and you’ll know what I mean.
Putting aside misinterpretations of Albert Mehrabian’s research on facial liking, usually starting, “55% of all communication is body language,” it’s still likely that we pay more attention to non-verbal and environmental data than linguistic data. (For example, we now know that our close primate cousins “sniff” potential partners for dissimilar genetic make-up to maintain genetic diversity.)1 That said, there are a few words ...