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Intercultural Communication

Intercultural Communication
Two types of communication:
Ø  verbal refers to use of language
Ø  non verbal refer to the use of gestures, facial expressions, and other body movements
Language is an abstract system of word meaning and symbols for all aspects of culture. It includes speech, written characters, numerals, symbols and gestures and gestures and expressions of non-verbal communication.
Communication is far more than speech and writing. Most of us are unaware that we are communicating in many different ways even we are not speaking. The same goes for social animal species. We rarely lean about non-verbal human communication in school even though it is very important for effective interaction with others. Growing up in a society, we learn how to use gestures, glances, slight changes in tone of voice, and other auxiliary communication devices to alter or emphasize what we say and do. We learn these highly culture-bound techniques over years largely by observing others and imitating them.
Paralanguage is the language of gestures, expressions and postures.
Linguists refer to all auxiliary communication devices as paralanguage. It is part of redundancy in communication that helps prevent ineffective communication. It can help prevent the wrong message from inadvertently being passed on, as often as the case in a telephone call and even more so in a letter.The most obvious form of paralanguage is body language or kinesics. This is the language of gestures, expressions, and postures.
A man’s language is the reflection of the kind of person he is, the level of education he has attained, and an index to the behavior that may be expected from him.
Language is the key factor in the success of the human race in creating and preserving culture, for without language the ability to convey ideas and traditions is impossible.
Four areas of the Study of Language:
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 proper intonation patterns for phrases and sentences.
2.       Semantics is the study of word meanings and word combinations. Comprehension of written as well as spoken  requires not only knowledge of  specific words and their definitions but an understanding of how we use the sentence
3.       Grammar describes the structure of language which consists the two major parts: morphology and syntax. Morphology is the study of language’s smallest units of meaning called morphemes- prefixes, suffixes, and root words-and of how these units are properly combined. Syntax specifies on how are words are combined into sentences. The rules of syntax allow us to vary word orders so that we are not limited to one way of saying what we mean.
4.       Pragmatics, the fourth component of language, consists of the rules for the use of appropriate language in particular contexts. Thus progmatics is not only concern with speaking and writing but with social interaction, and it directly addresses the issue of effective communication.
If culture can affect the structure and content of its language, then it follows that linguistic diversity derives in part from cultural diversity
The linguistic relativity hypothesis asserts that language determines thought and therefore culture. In reality language and culture influence each other. - Edward Sapir
Edward Sapir, a linguist, acknowledged the close relationship between language and culture, maintaining that they were inextricably related so that you could not understand or appreciate the one without the knowledge of the other.

What is Culture?
Culture is defined as a set of leaned behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideals that are characteristics of a particular society or population. (Ember,1999)
An eminent English scholar, E.B. Taylor defines culture as that complex whole which include knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society (Panopio, 1992)
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.
Culture is:

·         Learned
·         Shared by a group of people
·         Cumulative
·         Dynamic
·         Ideational
·         Diverse

·         Changes
·         Gives us a range of permissible behavior patterns.
Characteristics of Culture
Culture possesses several characteristics. Different cultures throughout the world have these characteristics or qualities.
1.       Culture is learned, this is the first essential characteristics of culture. Culture is learned by any individual, especially if he/she grows up with that particular culture. He/she can learn behavior patterns including language and many other attributes. We can learn the culture of others especially if we acquaint with them and get influence with their personality and lifestyle.
2.        Culture is shared by a group of people. We can consider a thought or an action as a culture if it is commonly shared and believed or practiced by a group of people. If it is commonly shared and believed by a group of individuals then it can be considered as their culture.
3.        Culture is cumulative. Different knowledge embodied in culture can be passed from one generation to another generation. More and more knowledge is added in the particular culture as time passes by. Each may work out solutions to problems in life that passes from one generation to another. This cycle remains as the particular culture goes with time.
4.       Cultures change. Not all cultures accumulate. There is knowledge; thoughts or traditions that are lost as new cultural traits are added, with that there are possibilities of cultural changes with the particular culture through time.
5.       Culture is dynamic. It was considered that there is no culture remains on the permanent state. Culture is changing constantly as new ideas and new techniques are added in time modifying or changing the old ways. This is the characteristic of culture that stems from the cultures cumulative quality.
6.       Culture is ideational. Culture forms ideal pattern of behaviors that followed by individuals expectedly. It serves as guidelines that must be followed by members to gain social acceptance from the people with the same culture.
7.       Culture is diverse. It was considered that culture was formed by many separate cultures. It is a system that has several mutually interdependent parts. Although these parts are separate, they are interdependent with one another forming culture as a whole
8.       Culture gives us a range of permissible behavior pattern. Culture provides us with the norms of appropriate behavioral patterns. It involves how an activity should be conducted, how an individual should appropriately act, as husband, wife, parents, child, and others. It tells us how to dress based on gender, occasions, statue and many more. Culture provides us with the norms of appropriate behavioral patterns. It involves how an activity should be conducted, how an individual should appropriately act, as husband, wife, parents, child, and others. It tells us how to dress based on gender, occasions, statue and many more.

Cultures varies from one another and it shares four major components, these are the communication, cognitive, material and behavioral aspects.
1.       Communication components include language and symbols. Through having a language, a group of people interact with one another, socially sharing their thoughts, feelings or ideas to the people with same language.Language forms the core of all cultures throughout society. The symbols are considered as the backbone of symbolic interactions. A symbol might be considered as anything that holds a particular meaning and are recognized by the people that shares the same culture. Different cultures have different symbols, it is cross-culturally and it might be change over a period of time.
2.       Cognitive component  includes Ideas, Knowledge and Belief, Values and Accounts.
Ideas, Knowledge and Belief are basic units of knowledge construction. Ideas are considered as mental representation and are used to organize stimulus. When Ideas are link together it will organize into larger systems of information which will become knowledge.
Knowledge now is considered as a storage of information fact or assumption, and these knowledge can be passed down from one generation to another.
Belief on the other hand assumes that a proposition, statement, description of fact are true in nature. These acceptance were influenced by the external authorities such as government, religion, or science rather than proven true from the individual’s direct experiences.
Values serve as guidelines for social living. Culturally, it can be defined as the standards of desirability, goodness and beauty.
Accounts are considered to be a way on how people use the language for their explanation, justification, or to rationalize, excuse, or legitimize a behavior towards themselves or to the others.
3.       Behavioral component is the major component of culture that is concerned about on how we act. It includes norms which further categorizes int Mores, Laws, Folkway, and Rituals.

Norms are considered as rules and expectations eventually set by a particular society that serve as guides to the behavior of its members. It varies in the terms of the degrees of importance and might be change over a period of time. It is reinforced by sanctions in the forms or rewards and punishments. These are standards accepted by society culturally and serves as obligatory and expected behavior’s of the people in different situations in life.

Mores are kinds of norms that are considered to be as a customary behavior patterns which have taken from a moralistic value.
Laws serve as the formal and important norms that translated into legal formalizations.
Folkways are considered as behavioral patterns of a particular society that is repetitive and organize. Rituals on the other hand are those highly scripted ceremonies of interactions which follows a sequence of actions. Examples are baptism, holidays and more.

4.       The Material component. This includes materials or objects created by humans for practical use or for artistic reasons. These objects are called as “material culture”. Material components serves as an expression of an individual culture.
1.       Enculturation. It is the process of learning culture of one’s own group. Ex. Learning the folkways, mores, social traditions, values, beliefs of one’s own group.
2.       Acculturation. It is the process of learning some new traits from another culture. For examplr, when students from the rural areas migrate to the urban areas or city and gradually learn some urban customs, they become acculturated. The interaction of Filipinos with Americans in the Philippines maybe considered an example of acculturation.
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.


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