Ruth Finnegan offers us a splendid feast of ideas about the ways we communicate with each other – some with, and some without language.

About The Book

Many accounts of human communication suggest that we are limited to communicating through words, visual images, the mass media and by digital means. This perspective underestimates the multisensory qualities of much of our human interconnecting and the multiple sounds, touches, sights and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time.


Ruth Finnegan brings together research from linguistic and sensory anthropology, alternative approaches to ‘material culture’ and ‘the body’, non-verbal communication, cultural studies, computer-mediated communication, and illuminating work on animal communication. Examples from both western and non-western cultures together with plentiful illustrations enrich and deepen the analysis.


The book uncovers the amazing array of sounds, sights, smells, gestures, looks, movements, touches and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time – resources consistently underestimated in those western ideologies that prioritise ‘rationality’ and referential language.


Focussing on embodied and material processes, and on practice rather than text, this comparative analysis challenges the underlying cognitive and word-centred model common to many approaches to communication.


The second edition of Communicating includes a new introduction, updates to take account of recent work, an additional chapter covering ethereal non-verbal non-bodily communicating such as telepathy and dreams, fresh illustrations, a new conclusion and updated bibliography.


This authoritative but accessible book is an essential transdisciplinary overview for researchers and advanced students in language and communication, anthropology and cultural studies.

Readers say

” Ruth Finnegan offers us a splendid feast of ideas about the ways we communicate with each other – some with, and some without language. “

Amazon reviewer

” This book is a revised and updated of the first edition of 2002, and will be warmly welcomed by a readership as ‘interdisciplinary’ as they come. “

Amazon Reviewer

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Ruth Finnegan

About the Author

A Hullo and thank you for taking an interest in me and my works, you are so welcome.You can see some information about me below ( plus a download Inguarantee you’ll like);and more, including about my life beyond books – like you I’m a person as well a writer and reader you know! – at www, feel free to email me at with any, um, extreme laudatory comments (well, one can always hope!), questions, and (always important for writers) criticisms and ideas for improvements: I can always say if I disagree …In the meantime and until we (e)meet again, keep well, keep safeRuth, in code-breakers’ Bletchley, England, May 2020MULTI-AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, fiction and nonfiction Finalist 50 Great Witers you should be reading (AuthorsShow) 2017 RIVERS MEMORIAL MEDAL, Royal Anthropological Institute 2016recent awards and commendations (many others earlier): BLACK INKED PEARL (novel) Literary Titan SILVER AWARD 2017 PEARL OF THE SEAS (novel) Hungry Monster SILVER AWARD 2016 KIRKUS one of best 25 Reviews of 2017 Book excellence WINNER (friendship) ENTRANCEMENT (ed) Readers Favorite FINALIST (friendship) BLACK INK PEARL (screenplay) Capital fund Screen Contest GENRE WINNER am an Emeritus Professor, The Open University, OBE, Fellow of the British Academy and Hon. Fellow Somerville College Oxford, among other things I am the author of MULTIPLE AWARD-Of my Black Inked Pearl “BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ” (unsolicited amazon review) Of my ‘Pearl of the Seas’ – “EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS ” Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.I was born (1933) and reared in Ulster and Donegal in a family committed to reconciling the deep divides in Ulster and in the world, went to a Quaker school in York, followed by a first-class Oxford degree in classics/philosophy. Then it was African fieldwork, an Oxford doctorate in literary anthropology, university teaching in Africa, then many years ( with a short period in Fiji), with the pioneering Open University (UK) where I am now, most happily, an honorary research professor. I live in Bletchley in south-central England with my husband of 50 years and two dogs (alas not so long-lived) and have three wonderful daughters and five grandchildren, one in New Zealand. And I still love writing.I have published well over twenty (lost count) academic books with leading publishers (university presses et al.), primarily in literary and linguistic anthropology, music ethnography, and cultural history, and have a continuing interest in modes of communication (multi-sensory) and their practical role in the human worlds of the past, present and future.My most recent publications are second editions of ‘Communicating’ (2014) and of the now widely-available ‘Oral literature in Africa’ (2012) and the new ‘Where is language?’ (2015); other monographs (on ‘the shared mind’, the heritage of Africa, and taxi drivers’ life stories) are in preparation.My contribution to anthropology over the last five years has been recognised by the award of the 2016 Rivers Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, a great honour.The most surprising (to me) publication, because rooted in dreams, is my Homeric and African shaped epic romance, ‘Black Inked Pearl’, together with many five-star reviews ; also an Honorable Mention (romance’) in the New York 2016 Book Fair, and Finalist (visionary fiction) in the National Indie Excellence awards. described in a amazon review as “A WOMAN’S ODYSSEY’ and, in another, as simply, ‘WOW!’.I am currently preparing an audio version of the novel and have just published a much-praised version for 10-12 year old readers ( ‘Pearl of the Seas’ – with rave reviews).See the video trailers by the brilliant Castelane at New blogs with book news and on fighting writers’ block on www.ruthfinnegan.comFacebook Page: Page: indie publihser’s page: Trailers:


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