The Communicative Wheel: Symptom, Signal and Model in Multimodal Communication

Per Durst-Andersen, Paul Cobley

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This paper addresses the need for a model of communication with a new, holistic conception of language within it. The resultant process model is called the Communicative Wheel. It consists of three communicative products: the sender’s input corresponding to his/her experience of a situation (symptom), an output corresponding to a piece of information to the receiver (signal), and the receiver’s intake corresponding to a description of the situation referred to (model). What the model of the wheel suggests, is that the understanding of “utterance” as symbolic needs to be replaced by an understanding of it as indexical.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number225
Pages (from-to)77-102
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Input
  • Output
  • Intake
  • Symptom
  • Signal
  • Model
  • Experience
  • Information
  • Situation
  • Precoding
  • Encoding
  • Decoding
  • Gift package
  • Communicative gift

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