Communicating across Cultural Barriers

Communicating across Cultural Barriers

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAYYAAAAJGU4NTgwNWVlLTlkNWItNDA1Ny1hNjkwLWE2OTM2ZjVmYjgxNQNancy J. Adler

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
Communication is the exchange of meaning: it is my attempt to let you know what I mean.Communication includes any behavior that another human being perceives and interprets:it is your understanding of what I mean.Communication includes sending both verbal messages (words) and nonverbal messages(tone of voice,facial expression,behavior,and physical setting).It includes consciously sent messages as well as messages that the sender is totally unaware of sending. Whatever I say and do,I cannot not communicate.Communication therefore involves a complex,multilayered, dynamic process through which we exchange meaning.Every communication has a message sender and a message receiver. As shown in Figure 3-1,the sent
message is never identical to the received message.Why? Communication is indirect;it is a symbolic behavior. Ideas,feelings,and pieces of information cannot be communicated directly but must be externalized or symbolized before being communicated.Encoding describes the producing of a symbol message.Decoding describes the receiving of a message from a symbol.The message sender must encode his or her meaning into a form that the receiver will recognize—that is,into words and behavior.Receivers must then decode the words and behavior—the symbols—back into messages that have meaning for them.For example,because the Cantonese word for eight sounds like faat, which means prosperity,a Hong Kong textile manufacturer Mr.Lau Ting-pong paid $5 million in 1988 for car registration number 8.A year later,a European millionaire paid $4.8 million at Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year auction for vehicle registration number 7,a decision that mystified the Chinese,since the number 7 has little significance in the Chinese calculation of fortune (20).

For example,because the Cantonese word for eight sounds like faat,which means prosperity,a Hong Kong textile manufacturer Mr.Lau Ting-pong paid $5 million in 1988 for car registration number 8.A year later,a European millionaire paid $4.8 million at Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year auction for vehicle registration number 7,a decision that mystified the Chinese,since the number 7 has little significance in the Chinese calculation of fortune (20).

Communicating across Cultural Barriers

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