Free Course Work On Cross Cultural Communication

Published: 2021-06-22 00:45:01
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Category: Education, Communication, Linguistics

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Introduction

Communication is the process by which information is conveyed or transferred from a source to a recipient. The process usually involves conveying useful information between two parties (Berlo, 1960). Each of the communicating parties must have a way to understand the information. In communication, there is a medium by which the information is sent or encoded so as to ensure that both parties are conversant with the information exchange mode. In short, communication usually requires a common language for it to be effective. This means that a difference in language (language barrier) can cause a serious problem in communication (Berlo, 1960).

Culture can be generally defined as an integration of human knowledge and behavior with a common belief usually gained from a social learning (Rodgers, 2002). This means that culture is in a way confined to a certain group of people mainly tracing a common ancestry. Since culture is deeply rooted in social sphere, it can be clearly shown by the way a group of people uses language. This shows that culture can encompass language though language can’t encompass culture wholly (Rodgers, 2002).

Since communication uses language to pass information and language is part of culture illustrated by a certain style of language use, there exists a close relationship between culture and communication. The medium of connecting the two is language which on plotting on overlapping circles forms the middle circle.

The actual relationship between communication and culture is complex to understand and very intimate. This is mainly because communication forms the basis for culture formation (Rodgers, 2002). While culture deals mainly with a particular use of language style or sub-language patterns, communication on the other side deals with provision of a common identity and a common ground for interaction and negotiations among parties.

Communication can be also grouped in a similar manner as culture is sub-divided into sub-culture. The communication in a sub-culture can be said to be uniform. Comparing the communication pattern in different sub-cultures, there exists some slight differences within the same culture due to the difference in use among the sub-cultures. This accounts to a noticeable difference in language pattern use among different cultures (Rodgers, 2002).

Cross-cultural communication.

Communication among teams of different cultures is famously known as cross-cultural communication or inter-cultural communication. In simple terms, it can be defined as the communication among or between people or parties belonging to different cultures and tries to seek an understanding of what people perceive of the world around them and tend to behave on top of communicating with one another. As an example, cross communication occurs when a Kenyan communicates with a Briton or when an American converses with an Indian.

Cross communication is faced by major challenges. These challenges are mainly attributed to the diversity in cultural backgrounds. Some of the challenges include:

1. General communication barrier – This mainly occurs when the sender and receiver (conversing parties) use completely different language styles and patterns. This challenge mainly affects parties who are illiterate or semi-literate. This barrier is common in regions where cultural diversity is common.

2. Partial communication barrier – This barrier like the first one is mainly based on the cultural diversity. This communication barrier is caused by several factors which are mainly also attributed to the diversity in cultural background. Some of these causes are:

Difference in word meaning across the cultures. As an example, in the American language, a boot does not mean the same as a boot in Briton English.

Intonation difference.

Slung use. Slung is a language developed for the use only by a very small fraction of a sub-culture. This language mainly works only for that group and is not effective when one gets out of the group or locality. An example is the language used in the streets by some blacks in America.
Use of specific jargons in sub-cultures in a particular style which is used in a different pattern in other sub-cultures or cultures.

How to establish and sustain effective cross cultural communication.

Cross cultural communication also offers several advantages which should not be overlooked due to the challenges facing it. These advantages are always geared towards uniting the different cultures and drawing some of the native communication styles, combining them so as to come up with a universal language which should be common to all the cultures (Rodgers, 2002). The only and the best way to establish and sustain cross cultural communication is by use of a common universal communication language. In most regions, the response to this is development of a common secondary language derived from the local languages. A good example of this cross cultural language derived from the local languages is the Swahili language which is mainly used in the east African region. The main advantages of cross cultural universal language include:

1. Ease of learning – The language is easy to learn since it draws most of its pattern and words from the local languages. This offers the local people an advantage of learning the cross-cultural language making it easier for the people tracing different backgrounds to freely and easily communicate.

2. Resemblance to the local language –The derived language resembles the local languages. This makes the language easier to use and universal in communication offering a good cross-cultural communication ground.

On my research paper, the main areas covered try to establish some effectiveness in cross-cultural communication as well as some flaws in the same field of communication.

Research work

In the research, I used personal observation and journals on cross communication to gather my data. In personal observation, I observed that the inter-cultural communication followed slightly different patterns. Communication among people of the same age group was different from that between parties of different age groups. In my study, the language pattern among the youths was very different from that among the adults. As an example, the youths used the word ‘halla’ to mean ‘call using a cellphone’ while the adults used the normal word ‘call’.

In another observation, I felt discriminated against when the youths started using personalized language which to me was not understandable.

When communicating with the seniors, the youths used a different language pattern that appeared to be full of respect and emotion. This posed a lot of questions to me but by inter-cultural communications, I understood what it meant.

Another scenario that I witnessed was within a certain institution in which I was attached. The employees at the same job rank in the same department had created their own universal cross-cultural languages. These languages were easily used by the employees but often put off any person who was new to the department (Byram, 1997).
In the same institution, I was also able to witness cross- cultural communication between the company and other companies that were in the same industry. The company being in the assembly industry used some engineering jargons which people from other sectors would not easily understand.

Lastly on data collection, I was able to read several journals pertaining to cross cultural communication. In one of the journals, cross communications was addressed using ten tips so as to enhance it. It is defined as the general communication between parties whose communication patterns are not the same. In all journals, the main theme expressed was that cross-communication exists whenever parties involved in the communication process are not using the same language patterns.

Data analysis.

The data obtained required some critical analysis so as to come up with the final fine details about cross-communications. The main methods of data analysis were by comparison between the written work in books and the practical evidence. With me equipped with practical cases from personal observations, I applied the knowledge gained from books and articles to analyze the raw data even what I gathered from the articles.

Findings

Cross-cultural communication occurs as the most common form of communication.
Cross – cultural communication must have a universal language well understood by the communicating parties for it to take place coherently.
Cross-cultural communication requires both parties to learn a language which is not native to either parties or one party.
Communication through the internet is one of the fastest growing forms of cross- cultural communication.
Another evident issue from the data analysis was the challenges facing cross-cultural communication. These challenges were also noted side by side with some advantages of cross-cultural communication.

Discussion or implications

In this section, we discuss several issues raised in the findings section about cross-cultural communication.
Starting with the advantages, we find that inter-cultural communication results in the following benefits.

1. Internationalization of higher education. Due to cross-cultural communication, people from different parts of the world can freely communicate and pursue higher education in foreign countries easily. This is mainly because the main cross cultural language in use today globally is English. Though there exist slight differences in meanings and usage of some words in the different patterns in English, the common language pattern accounts to about 80%. This makes it easy for students to study in any apart of the world since almost all international syllabuses are written in English.
2. Easy e-business and e-commerce. In the internet, a common cross-cultural communication language is used to design the websites. These languages can be understood by any computer user thus it is easy to carry out business on the web. Even some regions with regional inter-cultural communication languages have integrated them on the web so as to ease the communication. An example is the use of Google in Swahili edition within the east African countries.
3. Global conferences. If there was no common communication language across the culturally diversified country heads of the world, no summits or meetings would ever take place pertaining to the world development.
4. Appreciation of cultural diversity. The development of a common language from the local languages makes sure that each language at least chips in some of its native words into the universal language. Whenever this language is used, the different cultural groups hear some words from their native language and feel appreciated. Also, since the cross-cultural communication language is developed from the local native languages, its use appreciates its origin resulting in the appreciation of the cultural diversity.
5. Development of tolerance. Since the communicating parties are from different cultural backgrounds, the parties learn to tolerate any misunderstood words and phrases from the other party. This in turn results in development of tolerance for people who tend to annoy you and boosts your understanding for the others.

Though, some obstacles to effective cross communication were also evident. Some of the outright obstacles readily observed are discussed below.

1. Difficulty in learning and adapting to a new language. Generally, it is difficult to learn a new language especially when you are well versed with a certain language in the past. With this as a major problem, most people discard the idea of learning a new language thus have poor inter-cultural communication skills. This in turn discourages internationalization of studies to some people.
2. Religion. Some religious points and norms oppose cross-cultural communication. This is mostly evident in some countries especially where there exists rivalry between Christians and Muslims.
3. Culture.
4. Poor intercultural etiquette.

As a recommendation, the following set of simple rules to guide a person into effective cross cultural communication can be drafted.

Understand the relationship between cultures and their communication patterns. This will save you the stress of trying to tolerate a person who always speaks in a way that might be oppressive to you without knowing what to do. Have the knowledge of the different cultures and their beliefs and backgrounds. This helps understand a cross-cultural conversation better and be at a good position to draw a good decision.

Have excellent communication skills in your own language as well as the universal language which you will employ in the inter-cultural communication. This will make you understand your partners well and avoid getting into possible confrontation due to misunderstood words. It also eliminates the element of ambiguity leading to a clear precise and concrete conversation. Be sensitive towards the cultural diversity in your area of language use. By being sensitive on this, the other party in the communication process will feel recognized and appreciated. This will eventually make the conversation a success.

Conceptualization. This means that you have to get the right concept of the universal language for you to communicate effectively. By doing this and polishing on your styles, you earn the point of being well versed for the cross-cultural communication.

Avoid assumptions. In this, you are requested not to have any re-assumed judgment or prejudice. These two can make you have the wrong impression of a person resulting in communication bias. Be open minded, creative and innovative. This helps you deal with the people from the other cultures without being culture-biased. Also, it eliminates the idea of being only a listener not a communication initiator which might make the communication boring to the other party. (Bartell, 2003).

Though not a part of the main research, it would be unfair to leave the effects of inter-cultural communication on education sector out of the discussion. It is clear that inter-cultural communication tries to unite people from different parts and origins. This helps improve the education sector and communication sector making the process of improving the country’s literacy easier and possible. It also helps learners advance their skills in international campuses and universities. This adds to the spread of education and improvement of literacy at least to mentionable levels. Inter-cultural communication also helps bring together people from diversified fields of study and with different ideas. The group of intellects then communicates efficiently within itself and eventually a decision is reached. Therefore, inter-cultural communication enhances educational research even beyond your locality (Bartell, 2003).

Conclusion

1. For the world to move on as a single unit, inter-cultural and intra-cultural communication must become highly developed.
2. Inter-cultural communication helps greatly when it comes to international studies.
3. Inter-cultural communication brings forth unity and appreciation of individual cultures.
With this in mind, a general conclusion can state that inter-cultural communication is a must for the peaceful co-existence on this planet. The main problem is to develop a language that will have the power to surpass all the faults hindering basic cross-cultural language that will serve all the nations with equal ease in both learning and use.

Works Cited

Berlo, D. K. 1960. The process of communication. New York, New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston

Bartell, M. 2003. Internationalization of universities: A university culture-based framework. Higher Education Journal Printers.

Rogers N., Hart B. and Miike Y. 2002. The History of Intercultural Communication: The United States and Japan. Keio Communication

Byram, M. 1997. Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters

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