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Intercultural Communication. The New “Norm”. Intercultural Communication. Intercultural communication increases our understanding about other cultures and it is an effective way to make our world a better place. Culture`s Link with Communication. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation



Intercultural CommunicationThe New Norm

1Intercultural Communication

Intercultural communication increases our understanding about other cultures and it is an effective way to make our world a better place.Culture`s Link with Communication``Language carries culture, and culture carries, particularly through orature and literature, the entire body of values by which we come to perceive ourselves and our place in the world``

(Ngugi 1986, Intercultural Communication: page 15-16)


Communication creates culture: culture is a means of communication. Language carries culture, and culture carries, particularly through orature and literature, the entire body of values by which we come to perceive ourselves and our place in the world (Ngugi 1986: 15-16).

3Intercultural Communication Patterns Collectivist Cultures: Asian, African and Natives of Canadian and AmericansLess focus on verbal interactions More focus on nonverbal interactions Often use indirect style More reliant on hierarchies Implicit: Context is more important Silence/long pauses are valued Individualist Cultures: Mostly Anglo-European Americans

More focus on verbal interactions Less focus on nonverbal interactions Mainly use direct style Value equal status Explicit: words are more important

Silence is viewed incompetent & uncomfortable

Intercultural Communication Patterns Example of high context cultures: Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan, Middle East, Latin America

Examples of low context cultures: Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Europe America, Great Britain

Verbal and non verbal communication is affected by cultural context. In high context cultures, people rely a lot more on the overall situation (eg non-verbal cues and the other persons background) to interpret messages. In contrast, low context cultures, people depend more on the explicit verbal content of messages.

Example Canadian Culture:

most info are explicitly stated: apologize high context: smile, sigh, frown; low need to say Im SorryDirectness, openness, spontaneity and casualness are preferredRelationships are more informalIndependence, self-determination and personal confidence are highly values in work situations

5Recommendations for individualists interacting with collectivists:Recognize that collectivists pay attention to group memberships and predict behavior thereby.Recognize that collectivists change their behaviors when they change group membership.Dont force equality of statusvertical hierarchies are ok.Avoid overt competitionemphasize harmony and cooperation instead.Avoid threatening another persons facehelp them save face when necessary.Recognize that collectivists do not separate criticism of an idea or action from criticism of the person.Avoid overt confrontationuse a strategy of indirectionor just let go of the conflict.Behave more formally than usual in initial interactions. (World Bank, 2013)

Intercultural Communication Patterns -- Federico FelliniFilmmaker and director, Italy

A different language is not just a dictionary of words, sounds, and syntax. It is a different way of interpreting reality, refined by the generations that developed the language. Intercultural CommunicationCultural Logic and Shared MeaningsIs the process of using our own assumptions to interpret the messages and actions of other, thereby inferring their motives and intentions

Provides people with a system of assumptions about what is mutually known and understood our common ground.

8Challenges of non-native speakers

9Fill out the form!Write from right to left.Write very clearly. Sloppy writing will be discarded.Fill in every blank.For #3 use the Islamic calendar, which begins November 4, A.D. 622Do not answer #7 unless you have a green strip of paperComplete this task within three minutesAsk no questions

How was that experience?

Analyze responses backwards why not use right to left; stupid/frustrating why not opposite from the way I usually write to describe how you felt.

What does the word blank mean in the instructions, since there are both blank lines and blank spaces?

Did the information about the Muslim calendar cause any problems?

Was any of the information on the form confusing?

Did the questions make sense? Why do you think they were asked? If you wanted to get to know someone, what questions would you ask?

How many people actually finished the form?

How did people cope with completing the form? In other words, who held the paper up to the light backward to read it, who wrote left to right and who just gave up?

We are culturally conditioned to view situations in pre-dertermined ways and to respond to tasks in ways appropriate to our culture, as well as how we obtain information and how confused we are by other ways of doing so. 10Consider: Fourth floor The fourth floor in an American building is three flights of stairs up. The fourth floor in a British building is four flights of stairs up.The fourth floor in a Korean building often doesnt exist.

Consider: If identifying the fourth floor is so difficult, what happens when we are talking about something really important?

Lets consider fourth floor between UK and USA they are both low context culture and we see misunderstanding on the way they use words. Words used in UK may not mean the same in USA or vice versa We assume that those who speak the same language will have the same understanding but it is not always true. 11Korean Elevator

U.S. Elevator The 4th floor in Korea has the same status as the 13th floor does in the US. The pronunciation for 4 is sa which is the same as the Chinese character for death, hence they use F (for Fourth) instead of 4 in elevators.

In Korean elevator you can not find 4 or 4th just the letter of F is replaced because 4 sa

12Translate this sentence!British English:I was waiting in queue for the loo before getting some petrol for my lorry when I realized I left the hob on and the aubergines were probably burning!American English:I was waiting in line for the bathroom before getting some gas for my truck when I realized I left the stove on and the eggplant was probably burning!

UK and USA both speak English, but the way they use vocabularies is different from each other. That easily lead to misunderstanding. Some new comers coming to Canada will have studied only British English and when they speak they assume that Canadians are all English speakers and they use the same vocabularies or refer to things as they have learnt, which may not mean the same thing here in Canada 13Challenges facing non-native English speakersHave you ever experience this14Factors in Intercultural Communication There are many variables in intercultural communication.

Source: Intercultural Communication Variables:

Intercultural Communication: A ReaderBy Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter, Edwin R. McDaniel15ContinuedFactors in Intercultural Communication Source: Intercultural Communication Variables:

Intercultural Communication: A ReaderBy Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter, Edwin R. McDaniel

16Enhancing message claritySmile! It is validating.State message clearly; slow down.Repeat message using different words, if possible.Back up spoken message with written materials.Speak in the others language, if possible.Avoid using idioms, slang, jargon, or ambiguous words.Be careful about the use of humor. It is often difficult to understand jokes outside our own culture.Convey message in ways that are not offensive or threatening to others.

17Enhancing message comprehensionState your expectations and assumptions clearly.Deal with questions and concerns as they arise.Be patient; repeat message as often as needed.Ask each side to state the others position as he/she sees it. Avoid being so polite or subtle that message context gets lost.


Recognizing and responding to communication breakdownsObserve body language for signs of distress, anger, or confusion.Be patient and understanding. Take a break when appropriate.Mentally change places with others, asking yourself how they would respond to what you are saying.Notice your own reactions to the situation. 19

Slow Down (Tone, Volume, Speed)Avoid Slangs Avoid Negative QuestionsAllow Time for a response Be SupportiveCheck MeaningsVerbal and Visual CuesNaming SystemsCommunication Tips Speak clearly and slowly, write down key information, Keep your vocabulary and sentences direct and simple Avoid Jargon or metaphors, many clients tell us they have no idea what people are saying Would you mind if I sit here? Take turns lunch room sometimes the person needs to process what you said in their head before being able to answer Be patient Acknowledge and support the students efforts to communicate Check meanings and check for comprehension Link verbal and visual cues, it is confusing when visual or body language does not match what you are saying Ask what people prefer to be called Above all make an effort to avoid making assumptions about people and resist stereotyping



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