Cultural Differences in Discourse

Topics: Linguistics, Culture, Communication Pages: 6 (1745 words) Published: March 1, 2014
Ostroh Academy National University
Department of Romance and Germanic Languages

Cultural Differences in Discourse

Holovchenko I. ЗA-41

Ostroh, 2013
CONTENTS
Introduction………………………………………………………………………3 1. Cultural Gestures………………………………………………………4-5 2. Address as a Sociolinguistic Marker in the Cultural Discourse……….6-9 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………10 List of the Literature…………………………………………………………….11 Appendix…………………………………………………………………….12-13

INTRODUCTION

Communication is culture bound. The way the individual communicates emanates from his or her culture. Of course, a person may know more than one culture or may be competent in a combination of cultures. Nonetheless, one basic truth prevails: communication is a product of culture. The cultural differences are not only differences in pronunciation or grammar, but also they involve the form of getting the message across, speech intonation and even paralinguistic features. It is very important for everyone to know the peculiarities of different cultures of the world-wide community, since in the discourse with their representatives, such knowledge is indispensable. Being a good and intelligent interlocutor in such kind of discourse means to be aware of all the differences in culture and traditions. In this way the person is able to avoid any misunderstandings or the possibility to unintentionally offend the person of another culture, he or she is talking with. 1. CULTURAL GESTURES

Language is only one type of communication and it is narrow-minded to privilege language over other types of sign systems. Communication is the transfer of information and ideas during interactions between people. The most commonly used, although it may not be as noticeable, is nonverbal communication. While nonverbal communication may be comparatively easier to use between nations, some visual communication remains to be understood amongst the diverse populations around the globe. The latter is defined by anything consisting of eye contact, facial expressions, patterns of touch, gestures, tones of voice and other cultural differences. When one first learns to speak a second language, they can be deterred from fluency by their nonverbal signs. Changing with each is the translated definition of body language. When at first exposed to a new environment where attitudes, language and behaviour are all unfamiliar, people may often suffer from culture shock. With these varying meanings from country to country it is easy to see how misunderstanding may occur. Culture gives meaning to manners, different hand gestures, how close we may stand while conversing; and thus, culture influences every aspect of nonverbal communication. Equally as vital to convey a message or an image, it is important to understand how performing smooth interactions requires eloquence with not only spoken language but visual as well. Linked by common origins and similar paths of development, visual and verbal communication are both defined by the culture from which they were created. So, let us look at the following examples.

First of all, it is worth mentioning greeting gestures within different countries and cultures. In Canada women greet with a slight nod; men greet with a firm handshake. In USA women may briefly hug other woman, and men may quickly kiss the cheek of a woman. As we can see it is more informal way of behaviour. It is interesting that in Egypt greetings are performed by handshakes followed by a touch on the elbow. In India women should never initiate the handshake; women will often shake hands with other women but not men. Also, when greeting someone they say “Namaste” and press palms together with fingers pointing upward. Something similar can be observed in Thailand, where the traditional greeting is to place hands in a prayer position with your head slightly bowed; this is called the Wai. The higher your hands, the more respect shown In...
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