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CHAPTER 3: INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Objectives: At the end of this chapter, the students should be able to:
1. understand the meaning of communication and language
2. show the relationship between language and culture
3. enumerate the characteristics of culture
4. explain how language distinguishes man from animals
5. identify the communication, behavioural, cognitive, and material components of culture
6. understand and explain cultural relativism

INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

 It is defined as situated communication between individuals or groups of different linguistic and


cultural origins.

Communication is the active relationship established between people through language


Intercultural means that this communicative relationship is between people of different cultures
Culture is the structured manifestation of human behaviour in social life within specific national and
local contexts

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 AND LANGUAGE

Communication - is an act or instance of transmitting

Two types of Communication

1. Verbal – refers to use of language

2. Non-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

1. E-mails – including people in various parts of the world exchanging and sharing new information and
knowledge.

2. 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 paralanguage
 A man’s 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

1. Phonology - the system of sounds that a particular language uses, includes not only the language’s
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 language’s 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.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

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 society’s 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.

WHAT IS CULTURE?

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

CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE

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.

COMPONENTS OF CULTURE

Components: 1. Communication

2. Cognitive

3. Material

4. Behavioral
A. COMMUNICATION COMPONENT

 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.
 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

B. COGNITIVE COMPONENT

 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 we 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
 VALUES. Are defined as culturally defined standards of desirability goodness and beauty, which
serve as broad guidelines for social living.
 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 customary behavior patterns or folkways which have taken on a moralistic
value. This includes respect for authority, marriage and sex behavior patterns, religious rituals, and other
codes of human behavior.

• LAWS. Laws constitute the most formal and important norms. Laws are the mores deemed so
vital to dominant interests that they become translated into legal formalizations that even nonmembers of
society are required to obey.

• FOLKWAYS. These are behavior patterns of society which are organized and repetitive. The
keyfeature of all folkways is that there is no strong feeling of right or wrong attached to them. They are
simply the way the people usually do things.

• RITUALS.These are highly scripted ceremonies or strips of interaction that follow a specific
sequence of actions. The ff. are examples: - ceremonies: graduation, baptism, funerals, weddings,
birthdays - holidays: thanksgiving, Christmas - Everyday public rituals: greeting, kissing, answering the
telephones, birthday and cards

D. MATERIAL COMPONENT

Human make objects, sometimes for practical reasons and sometimes for artistic ones. Material
components of culture refer to physical objects of culture such as machines, equipment, tools, books,
clothing, etc.
THE ORGANIZATION OF CULTURE

A CULTURAL TRAIT, either of a material or non-material culture, represents a single element


or a combination of elements related to a specific situation. Example of cultural traits are kissing the
hands of the elders after Sunday mass and at Angelus. Clusters of culture traits are known as culture
complexes which, in turn, group together to form a culture pattern.

Culture is transmitted through:

1. Enculturation. It is the process of learning culture of one’s own group.

2. Acculturation. It is the process of learning some new traits from another culture.

3. Assimilation. It is the term used for a process in which an individual entirely loses any awareness of
his/her previous group identity and takes on the culture and attitudes of another group.

IMPORTANCE AND FUNCTIONS OF CULTURE

Culture is what distinguishes human beings from the lower animal forms making them unique. It
is a powerful force in the lives of all people and shapes and guides people’s perceptions of reality.

1. Culture helps the individual fulfill his potential as a human being.

2. Through the development of culture, man can overcome his physical disadvantages and allows him to
provide himself with fire, clothing, food and shelter.

3. Culture provides rules of proper conduct for living in a society.

CULTURAL RELATIVISM

According to Rosado(2003), is in essence an approach to the question of the nature and role of
values in culture. Cultural relativism in anthropology is a key methodological concept which is
universally accepted within the discipline

According to Glazer(1996), is an anthropological approach which posits that all cultures are of
equal value and need to be studied in a neutral point of view. The basis of cultural relativism is a
scientific view of culture, which also rejects value judgments on cultures.

Here is an illustration of cultural relativism: Practices considered immoral or taboo to a certain


group of people but are accepted by other groups with a different cultural orientation. “The central point
in cultural relativism is that in a particular setting certain traits are right because they work in that setting
while other traits are wrong because they clash painfully with parts of the culture.” - Hunt et., 1998

“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.” -Mahatma Gandhi