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Communication Between Cultures

More than language...

I opened the door for her. I waved goodbye.A Story My friend Lin Qihui came for dinner. She seemed so surprised! . When it was time for her to go.

Song keren zou   a custom it has meaning (not doing it also has meaning) what gives it meaning? Culture  .

What is culture? An iceberg! visible customs etiquette music literature history clothing invisible values attitudes feelings patterns .

Example: forms of address Calling the teacher by their first name (common in American colleges) The reason: • reduce social distance • allow freer communication .

Visible or invisible?  When should you say “thankyou”? What is friendship? Are women better than men? When should gifts be given? Do old people deserve respect? visible invisible invisible visible invisible     .

memories.Context  Context is the situation in which language occurs: – physical location – relationship between people – shared knowledge (culture. etc) – reason for communication – gestures – behaviour .

telling your mother how you feel  . talking to a stranger High context communication: The message is mainly carried by the context. eg. books. TV. eg.High/low context  Low context communication: The message is mainly carried by the language.

which will she believe? .  She will consider the context:  – your gestures and facial expressions – your past behaviour – your current situation  If the message from the context does not match the message from the language.Talking to your mother She will listen to what you say.

High/low context cultures High Japan China America Low Germany .

Example  You are going overseas to study at an American college. Before you even leave China. . you receive a lot of written information: – handbook for international students – information about passports and visas – how to get from the airport to the college   There is nobody to meet you at the airport.

etc) The Chinese student in America. (books. might feel that the situation is cold and unfriendly. with no human to help them.Explanation  Westerners look for. advice from officials. The Westerner travelling to China feels uncomfortable when they hear: “You’ll find out all the details when you arrive!”   . internet. and trust. impersonal (low context) information.

Another example A trade fair in Beijing George Hall: an American businessman Mr. Li: manager of a Chinese company .

Li thoughtfully. “It sure is. “Ah.George suggested that they arrange a meeting. Li. Li was not available. Li had some important business and was not able to meet with George. He called back later in the day and was told that Mr. This week is very busy. “Right.” said George. “That would be interesting. Li replied in fairly good English. Li’s company’s exhibit only to find that Mr. .” “Tomorrow at 10 o’clock?” asked Mr.” “When can we met?” asked George.” was the reply. yes. The next day at 10 o’clock he went to Mr.” said George.” replied Mr. “I’ll see you then?” “Hmm. “How about 10 o’clock tomorrow? Meet you here. Mr. why don’t you come by tomorrow.

But people from a high context culture often communicate indirectly. They pay attention to words. Once all the information has been shared.Explanation  Westerners often think the best way to communicate is for everyone to speak directly.    . rather than context. a decision can be made.