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Writing and speaking are the primary basis of the human language and as such are utilized on a daily basis to convey thoughts and ideas between two or more people. While both methods are important facilitators of communication each has their own unique characteristics which define their usage.
Main Differences between Writing and Speaking
Writing is a method of communication that has a certain degree of permanence in that whatever you write has the potential of being recorded in either a hardcopy or softcopy format to be read by any individual in the foreseeable future. It is due to this that a greater degree of care and formality is taken when communicating when it comes to writing.
This takes the form of ensuring that proper grammar is utilized, sentence structures are correct and there are no spelling errors to speak of. In other words, writing is a controlled form of communication wherein the communicator interacts with no one except the ideas that they want to convey.
Speaking on the other hand is a less permanent method of communication due to its spontaneous nature wherein the act of talking between two or more individuals produces varying views, thoughts and concepts that are produced at a faster rate compared to writing.
It is actually due to this that ideas conveyed during the act of speaking are at times forgotten or not conveyed in the way the communicator intended due to the way in which people interpret information differently through the act of talking. Furthermore, due to the presence of other communicators the result is a less controlled environment for communication wherein each individual gives out their own thoughts and ideas without there being a specific order to their introduction in the conversation.
It must also be noted that unlike written communication talking often utilizes facial expression, hand gestures and changes in vocal tone in order to properly convey a certain degree of emotion to the idea being expressed. In written communication this often not necessary and the reader is often left to determine on their own the degree of emotion that the writer is trying to convey through what they wrote.
Difference in Conveying Emotion and Intent
What must be understood is that conveying emotion through vocal tones, facial expressions and gestures is one of the most important aspects of speaking due to the fact that these are the methods by which other communicators derive the intent of the speaker.
For example, the phrase “get here now” can be said with little emotion and no facial expression and the communicator would be unable to determine the importance of “going there now”. On the other hand when phrase “Get Here Now!” utilizes a strong forceful voice and an angry facial expression the other communicator realizes the urgency of the situation and “goes there” immediately.
From this it can be seen that facial expression, vocal intonation and gestures are a facilitator of intent in verbal communication and as such are an integral aspect of this particular form of communication. Written communication on the other hand has fewer problems in expressing intent in a conversation wherein the intentions, emotions or desires of the communicator can just be indicated via written text making it rather easy to determine how they want to convey a particular thought or idea.
It cannot really be said that one method of communication is better than the other. In the beginning of this essay it was established that both methods of communication have their own unique characteristics which define their usage and as such each is applicable to particular situations. For example, it would be difficult to “speak” the thoughts of an academic dissertation within the limited time frame whereas it would be easier to merely have it written down and have readers go through it at their leisure.
Not only that it would be strange to convey via writing an informal conversation you have with someone while walking down the street whereas it would easier to just speak. It is based on this that it cannot be stated that one form of communication is better than the other, rather, they are both important aspects of how humans choose to communicate and as such both are important in their own way.