intercultural communication


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ObjectivesAt the end of this chapter, the students should be able to:

1. understand the meaning of communication and language2. show the relationship between language and culture3. enumerate the characteristics of culture4. explain how language distinguishes man from animals5. identify the communication, behavioural, cognitive, and material components of culture6. understand and explain cultural relativism

The world today is characterized by an ever growing number of contacts resulting in communication between people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

This communication takes place because of contacts in the areas of business, military cooperation, science, education, mass media, entertainment, tourism and also because of immigration brought about by labor shortage or political conflict.


Communication- is an act or instance of transmitting

Two types of Communication

Verbal refers to use of languageNon-verbal refers to the use of gestures, facial expressions, and other body movements.

Language - is a system of verbal and in many cases, written with rules about how those symbols can be strung together to convey more complex meanings.

Four Developments that Illustrate the Impact of Information Technologies on Communication

E-mails including people in various parts of the world exchanging and sharing new information and knowledge.Web log or Journal is a rapidly growing from of electronics communication.

3. Computer or generated slide software such as PowerPoint

4. Telecommunicating - is an arrangement in which employees use computers to perform their regular work responsibilities at home or somewhere.

Paralanguage- is the language of gestures, expressions and postures.Body Language or Kinesics- the most obvious form of paralanguageA mans language- is a reflection of the kind of person he is, the family where he comes from, the level of education he has attained.

The Study of Language is divided into Four Areas:

Phonology, Semantics, Grammar, and Pragmatics(Sharey)

1. Phonology- the system of sounds that a particular language uses, includes not only the languages basic unit of sounds, or phonemes, but rules about how we put phonemes together to form words and rules about the proper intonation patterns for phrases and sentences.2. Semantics- is the study of word meanings and combinations. Comprehension of written as well as spoken language requires not only a knowledge of specific words and their definitions but an understanding of how we use words and how we combine them in phrases, clauses, and sentences.

3. Grammar - describes the structure of a language which consists of two major parts: morphology and syntax. Morphology is the study of the languages smallest units of meaning called morphemes prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

4. Pragmatics- consists of rules for the use of appropriate language in particular contexts. Thus pragmatics is concerned not only with speaking and writing but with social interaction, and it directly addresses the issue of effective communication.


Perhaps the most significant of the inventions made possible by culture is language. The learning of culture takes place through language. From our enormous capacity to learn and use language is derived our collective memory, as well as writing, art, and all other media that shape human consciousness and store and transmit knowledge.

According to Panopio et al, 1992:Language is an integral part of culture and human culture cannot exist without it. All human societies have languages. In some simple societies where people cannot read or write, they have a spoken language. Through the use of language, wide vistas of reality have been opened.

One way a societys language may reflect its corresponding culture is in lexical content, or vocabulary. When experiences, events, or objects are singled out and given words it may be the result of cultural characteristics.

If culture can affect the structure and content of its language, then it follows that linguistic diversity derives in part from cultural diversity.

According to Edward Sapir:The linguistic relativity hypothesis asserts that language determines thought and therefore culture. In reality language and culture influence each other.

Every society has a culture, no matter how simple the culture may be, and every human being is cultured in the sense of participating in some culture or other.

As our nation continues to change, we all will interact with others from quite different backgrounds from our own, especially in the classroom. The manner in which we respond to others who seem different can have a serious impact on success in school, work, and harmonious relationship with others.


Culture is defined as the set of learned behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideals that are characteristics of a particular society or population. (Ember, 1999)Culture, as defined by Calhoun, et al., (1994) is the learned norms, values, knowledge, artifacts, language, and symbols that are constantly communicated among people who share a common ritual and technology.

Allan Johnson (1996)said that culture is the sum total of symbols, ideas, forms of expressions, and material products associated with a collective way of life reflected in such things as beliefs, values, music, literature, art, dance, science, religious ritual and technology.E.B. Taylor, defines culture as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. (Panopio, 1992)

Leslie A. White refers to culture as an organization of phenomena that is dependent upon symbols, phenomena which include acts(patterns of behavior); objects(tools and things made by tools); ideas(beliefs, knowledge); and sentiments(attitudes, values).Hofstede(1997) states that culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts


1. Culture is learned.The first essential characteristic of culture is that it is learned .2. Culture is shared by a group of people.For a thought or action to be considered cultural, it must be commonly shared by some population or group of individuals.3. Culture is cumulative.Knowledge is stored and passed on from one generation to the next, and new knowledge is being added to what is existing.

4. Culture change.All cultural knowledge does not perpetually accumulated. At the same time that new cultural traits are added, some old ones are lost because they are no longer useful.5. Culture is dynamic.This is a characteristic of culture that stems from its cumulative quality. No culture is ever in a permanent state. It is constantly changing because new ideas and new techniques are added and old ways are constantly modified and discarded.

6. Culture is ideational.Culture is an ideal pattern of behavior which the members are expected to follow. Man assigns meanings to his environment and experiences by symbolizing them.7. Culture is diverse.The sum total of human culture consists of a great many separate cultures, each of them is different. Culture as a whole, is a system of with many mutually interdependent parts.

8. Culture gives us a range of permissible behavior.Every culture allows a range of ways in which men can be men and women can be women. Culture also tells us how differentt activities should e conducted, such as how one should act as a husband, wife, parent, child, etc.









A. COMMUNICATION COMPONENT1. LANGUAGE. Perhaps more than anything else, language defines what it means to be human. It forms the core of all culture. When people share a language, they share a condensed, very flexible set of symbols and meanings.

2. SYMBOLS. Along with language and non-verbal signals, symbols form the backbone of symbolic interaction. They condense very complex ideas and values into simple material forms so that the very presence of the symbol evokes the signified ideas and values.

B. COGNITIVE COMPONENT1. IDEAS. Are mental representations(concept, categories, metaphors) organize stimulus, they are the basic units of which knowledge is constructed and a world emerges. KNOWLEDGE. Is the storehouse where w accumulate representations, informations, facts, assumptions, etc. Once stored, knowledge can support learning and can be passed down from one generation to the next. BELIEFS. Accept a proposition, statement, description of the fact, etc., as a true

2. VALUES. Are defined as culturally defined standards of desirability goodness and beauty, which serve as broad guidelines for social living.

3. ACCOUNTS. People who share a common language for talking about their inner selves.

C. BEHAVIORAL COMPONENT(how we act)NORMS. Are rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members. Norms can change over time, as illustrated by norms regarding sexual behavior. Norms may vary in terms of their degree of importance.TYPES OF NORMS:MORES. They are cus


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