If Northanger Abbey is about nothing else, it's about communication. Communication is explored in all its forms here: verbal and non-verbal, intentional and unintentional, miscommunication, a lack of communication, direct communication, bad communication...and on and on. The plot is frequently pushed forward by miscommunication, from John's totally misunderstood marriage proposal, to Catherine's faulty assumptions about Mrs. Tilney's death. Catherine grows as a character by learning to better understand those around her and to make herself better understood.
Catherine hasn't really improved her communication skills, in terms of both speaking and listening, by the end of the book.
Though dialogue abounds here, Northanger Abbey places a greater emphasis on the importance of non-verbal forms of communication.