An Experience of the Process of Intercultural Communication


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Communication Class

Intercultural communication is also being referred to us the cross communication. Intercultural communication mainly occurs when there appears to be communication between two or more individuals who come from different cultures or different ethnic groups. At first it appears to arise a problem since the individuals in the conversation have differences in the way they use their vocabularies and their principles. The principles of an individual mainly impact the kind of communication they will hold. People who come from the same culture mainly do have similar principles or the ones that do not oppose one another. These are mainly because, the use of words and vocabularies appears to be the same and, hence, they typically understand one another well. A majority of the conversations that are held by people coming from different cultures, usually results in a kind of learning of one individual. One person mainly is after knowing the vocabulary or the language that is spoken by the other person. My research paper will involve what I learned after I held a conversation with a person from a different culture from mine and how their vocabularies and principles were different from mine.

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I first met the person I interviewed during a wedding ritual of one of my best friend in which I was invited. During the wedding ceremony, I identified a person who had a problem in locating where the parking lot. The primary parking was fully parked with cars of different models and sizes. The person tried so much in asking assistance from other individuals without getting the help of where to park his car. Having observing all these, I walked towards the person who had opened the front window halfway of his car. Upon my arrival, I realized that the individual came from a different culture from mine by just seeing how the person physical appearance was. These were further confirmed, by the way, the person greeted me and to my amazement I just waved a hand. I had a problem communicating with the person since I did not understand well what he was telling me. My only advantage that I had was that I understood his problem earlier even before I decided to walk towards where he was. The person would hear if I communicated in English, but he cannot communicate back in English. Therefore, I ordered the person to follow me so that I show him where the parking with lots was. I moved in front of his black-tinted BMZ X5 that was shining. After I had shown him the parking, he came out of the vehicle, and we spent the remaining part of the day together because he was a friend to the broom as well as I was. The company was so hectic since there was no effective communication between the two of us. Later, I called the person to interview him about his language which was French and which I had created interest in knowing from the first day of our encounter. The interview was held in our home from 10 o’clock in the morning to around 6 in the evening.

There are various things that I learned from the person I interviewed. The person’s name was Alexandre from Strasbourg, French. The accent of the French language pronunciation of his words was very different from the Arabic accent. I learned that understanding the French language was easy, but the problem arises in the pronunciation. Every language has its way in which words are supposed to be pronounced in order to sound as the language goes. The same word if pronounced with a different accent may have a different meaning in the same language or even from a different language. Therefore, knowing a particular language involves identifying the commonly used words and how they are supposed to be pronounced. Pronunciation is what matters the most in any language. What one requires to do when holding an intercultural communication is to listen very carefully and mind your mindset. What mainly helped me in knowing what Alexandre was telling me is listening carefully. I listened to him carefully despite not getting to understand each and every word in his statements. But out the ten words in his statement, I was able to identify the meaning of three words. Some of the words though present in different cultures have closer meaning. Something else that I identified in use to was conversing with Alexandre while looking at him in the eyes or his face. Some words like the ones used to express anger or happiness were associated with a particular facial expression. These further helped me in understanding the vocabularies of the French language by associating them particular facial expressions. For example, the word “pleurs” is used by French to mean crying. When Alexandre was describing that word to his facial expression was folded in a manner that you could identify that the person was angry. Another word that somebody can learn well from the facial expression is the French word “rire”. It usually means in English laughing. When Alexandre described the word to me, he wore a facial expression that was bright and shiny showing signs of being happy. Also, the body movements act very helpfully in learning another language from different culture. The French word for go is “aller”. When Alexandre was telling how he went home after the wedding ceremony, he indicated by expanding his hands and finally by waving. To me, it meant that the word was associated with somebody who went away and that is the reason he was being waved at.

While I listened to Alexandre in order to make the communication effective, I also created some stories to him so that also I can see his reactions. Communication is not a one-way process but, it mainly involves a two-way process. I tell you something and from your perspective you tell me something as well. Through both parties being deeply involved in the communication process, gives one a chance of getting more. Some vocabularies can only be learned by observing how other people react in order to see how much the words move the individual attention. Dominance in communication invites the ineffectiveness of the communication process. The primary integral part of the intercultural communication is the willingness to share your story that appears to be equally important. The communication process has the power to reconstitute someone’s social reality. Therefore, the crucial part of reconstituting the undesirable social realities is by keenly listening to one another. Meta-communication that involves communication about communication becomes very helpful in the intercultural communication. The meta-communication helps ones to identify the problems that may occur in the process of communication that may tamper with effective communication occurring. Taking the perspective is also an important aspect of the cross communication process. The Native American proverb side by observing the process of taking perspective. It summarizes behaviors of a man by saying that a man is not supposed to be judged by just looking at him or her without having a mile walk in his or her moccasins. Therefore, it is important to take your stand and learn about the other person from the different culture. That is the only way to knowing a person better.

The principles of the intercultural communication are mostly imperative when well observed. They help a person not only to understand the language from the different culture, but to understand even its social meaning in the culture being studied. The principles involve the process of exchanging unambiguous and meaningful information that mainly occurs across the cultural boundaries. These mainly occur in a manner that observes respect to the individual from the other culture and usually minimizes antagonism. Therefore, going by the principles, culture is the shared system of the beliefs, expectations, attitudes, symbols, values, and the norms of behavior. Every language has its principles which someone who wants to know the language must know first for effective communication to occur. Alexandre told me that some symbols that he used in communicating with me were used even very long time ago, and they were associated with particular beliefs in the French language. By knowing the beliefs of the French people will help oneself understand the language more and in a broader perspective. The principles are the one that helps oneself to create a particular attitude when conversing. For example, going from the French word “aller” which means laughing, we ought to have a good attitude towards laughing in order to impact your facial expression to showing the same. Some words auger well when they are communicated by using the body movements and the facial expressions. Therefore, it becomes very crucial by being able to incorporate the vocabularies while talking with our facial expression and body movements in order to help one understand them well. The last thing that I have learned is having the ‘spacing out’ where all the participants in a conversation tend to move out of their zones of cultural comfort into the space that they create together. This space makes the best of the individual’s vocabularies from the other culture and the viewpoints of all the ideas that both individuals usually brings to the table while discussing. This space mainly brings the diverse perspective together and ensures that all of them are heard in the power for the intercultural communication.

In conclusion, somebody learns a lot in the process of intercultural communication when they listen carefully to the other individual. Sharing your side of the story also enables the intercultural communication to be effective and meaningful to all the individuals. Also, by using the facial expressions, gestures, and the body movements allows one understand the vocabularies in a broader perspective and, hence, achieving a better understanding within an intercultural communication. Spacing out also brings the diverse perspective together and ensures that all of them are heard in the power for the intercultural communication. It is also imperative that we familiarize ourselves with other languages in order to gain a better understanding of what is regarding as rights and wrongs in other cultures. In other words it is good to be aware of the cultural differences that exist and at the same time have a clue of what they are in order to avoid offending other people while communicating with them. It helps us avoid using words and signs that might be meaningful to us but offensive in other cultures.

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