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Intercultural Communication and Body Language

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Title: Intercultural Communication and Body Language


1
Intercultural Communication and Body Language
MLDE 115
2
Lecture Plan
  1. What is communication and intercultural
    communication?
  2. Nonverbal communication
  3. Gestures used in different cultures and their
    meaning.

3
Communication
  • Communication is the activity or process of
    giving information to other people or living
    things.

4
Intercultural Communication
  • focuses on differences in language and behavior
    patterns
  • the theory of intercultural communication
    encourages the understanding of the differences
    between two speakers from unique national
    cultures

5
Iben Jensens model for intercultural
communication (1998)
Cultural self-perception
Cultural self-perception
Cultural presuppositions
Cultural presuppositions
Fix-points
Positions of experiences
Positions of experiences
6
Intercultural Verbal Communication Advice
  • Speak slowly
  • Repeat as necessary
  • Be sincere and empathetic
  • Keep it simple and short
  • Show and demonstrate by using examples
    /illustrations

7
Intercultural Verbal Communication Advice
  • Check the other person's understanding by asking,
    What do you understand? not Do you
    understand?
  • Be patient, use encouragement and praise
    sincerely
  • Watch for body language cues to understand real
    meaning in communication

8
Communication
Non-verbal (gestures, glances, changes in the
tone of voice, etc. )
Verbal (words)
( paralanguage)
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High/low context cultures
Japan
  • High
  • Low

China Turkey America
Germany
11
High/low context
  • Low context communication
  • The message is mainly carried by the language.
  • eg. TV, books, talking to a stranger
  • High context communication
  • The message is mainly carried by the context.
  • eg. telling your mother how you feel

12
Talking to your mother
  • She will listen to what you say.
  • 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, which will she
    believe?

13
Example
  • You are going overseas to study at an American
    college.
  • Before you even leave Turkey, 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.

14
Explanation
  • Westerners look for, and trust, impersonal (low
    context) information.
  • (books, internet, advice from officials, etc)
  • The Turkish student in America, with no human to
    help them, might feel that the situation is cold
    and unfriendly.
  • The Westerner travelling to Turkey feels
    uncomfortable when they hear Youll find out
    all the details when you arrive!

15
Explanation
  • Westerners often think the best way to
    communicate is for everyone to speak directly.
  • Once all the information has been shared, a
    decision can be made.
  • They pay attention to words, rather than context.
  • But people from a high context culture often
    communicate indirectly.

16
Nonverbal communication is studied by
  • PROXEMICS
  • (Study of space)
  • HAPTICS
  • (Study of touch)
  • OCULESICS
  • (Study of use of eyes)
  • KINESICS
  • (Study of use of face body)

17
Proxemics
  • the study of space in interpersonal relationships

comfortable interaction distance (comfort zone)
18
Proxemics (the study of distance in interaction)
  • Public (teacher to class)
  • Social (classmates chatting)
  • Personal (student asking teacher after class)
  • Intimate (friends in class whispering)

Traditional Forms of Greeting
19
Average comfortable distances among North
Americans
Distance between faces  Tone of voice Type of message
  very close (7-15 cm) soft whisper   top secret or sensual
  close (20-30 cm) audible whisper   very confidential
  neutral (50 cm-1 m) soft voice, low volume     personal subject matter
  neutral (1.3 m-1.5 m) full voice   non-personal information 
  across the room (2.5 m-6 m) loud voice   talking to a group
  stretching the limits   (6 m-7m indoors and   up to 30 m outdoors) loud hailing voice   departures and arrivals
20
Proxemics
  • organization of space

Western offices
Japanese offices
21
Haptics
  • the study of touch

Low-contact cultures
High-contact cultures
North Americans, the British, China, Japan
Italians, the French, Russians, Arabs and Latin
Americans
22
Haptics (the study of touching behaviour)
  • Seven types of touch
  • positive affect (support, appreciation,
    inclusion)
  • playfulness
  • control (compliance, attention wanted, response
    needed)
  • ritual (greeting/leave-taking)
  • hybrid (mix some of above as in a hug good-bye)
  • task-related
  • accidental Jones and Yarbrough (1985)

23
Oculesics
  • the study of the use of the eyes in interpersonal
    communication

In China and Japan people avoid looking at each
other in public places or in a crowd.
24
Oculesics (the study of eye contact)
  • attentive focus/challenging stare
  • shifty-eyed/respectful looking away
  • flirtatious up-look/adultery of the eyes
  • lustful glance/complimentary notice
  • attempt to access vocabulary/lack of
    attentiveness or ability

25
Oculesics
  • the study of the use of the eyes in interpersonal
    communication

26
Oculesics
  • Asians, Puerto Ricans, West Indians, African
    Americans and Native Americans consider a direct
    eye contact
  • to be rude, or disrespectful, or intimidating,
  • while Europeans find it a sign of openness and
    honesty.

27
Kinesics
  • the study of bodily movements and facial
    expressions

instinctive
Gestures
coded
acquired
28
Instinctive gestures
  • we do them unconsciously

Im happy!
Im sad
29
Universal hand gestures
MEANING HAND GESTURE
I am hungry. Patting the stomach with the hands
I am cold, or it's cozy or a sign of eager anticipation. Rubbing the hands together.
30
Coded / technical gestures hand signals used by
TV directors, gestures of referees or brokers in
the stock market
Acquired gestures socially generated
31
Facial expressions and head gestures
  • The ultimate gesture
  • Yes / No gestures

32
Hand and arm gestures
  • "O.K." gesture
  • Victory/Peace sign

33
Hand and arm gestures
  • thumbs-up sign
  • hailing a taxi

34
Hand and arm gestures
  • finger beckoning
  • upraised hand

35
Hand and arm gestures
  • Hands at the hip with arms akimbo

36
Hand and arm gestures
  • waving one's hand
  • touching a child on the top of the head
  • point at an object
  • at the restaurant
  • placing your hand behind your head

37
Hand and arm gestures
  • linking your pinky with someone else's pinky
  • right/left hand
  • counting to ten on the hands

38
Hand and arm gestures
  • Good luck gesture
  • Crazy sign

39
Trunk and leg indications
  • pointing the sole of your shoe toward someone
  • bowing

40
pointing the sole of your shoe toward someone
Swedish diplomat insults Irans president by
exposing soles of his shoes By Joel Taylor
Monday 10 Dec 2012 833 pm
41
Dealing with the Differences
  • acculturate, that is, borrow attributes of the
    other culture that will allow you to function
    effectively in it
  • practice the skill of switching cultural channels

42
International Gestures Quiz
  • Look at the pictures showing gestures and guess
    their meaning (some gestures have more than one
    meaning)

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