Culture, Language and Communication

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Culture, Language and Communication

With globalization, people from different parts of the world, speaking different languages and from different cultures meet, mix and try to work and live together.

Often they fail because they misunderstand each other.  They lose happiness in a private relation.  They lose efficiency in a professional role.

Language is our obvious way to communicate.  If we are native speakers of the same language, so much easier it is to work together.  Then we share the same culture background too!

If you are a native English speaker and the other person is speaking this language as a second language there is obviously scope for misunderstandings.  If we both use a language that we both speak as a foreign language, then so much wider the scope for misunderstandings!

Culture is another way to communicate

We know and have feelings for right and wrong behavior in our own native culture instilled in us from our early childhood and at the same time as we learnt our native language.

Conclusion 1.
For two people to have a good understanding of the language they use when communicating is obvious.  Less understanding means less efficiency in professional and less harmony in private relationships.

Conclusion 2.
For each of us to understand the cultures the other person comes from is actually equally critical for efficiency and harmony in working and private relationships!

BUT: it is not always easy to understand people from another culture!

You need not only to understand what is said but also listen to how it was said and why it was said in that way.

Culture empathy: feel the feelings

In order to properly understand and interpret what other people say and do we need to understand how they think, their culture, traditions, values and their reactions to other people's behavior and how they like to relate to other people!

Language, Culture and Cooperation

To work and live together requires effective communication, which means understanding the language as well as the culture!

Children learn a language and they learn the first norms of their culture through interaction with their family and friends.  They learn to be able to live with and work with people in their own culture.

Language and culture provide the glue that holds life and cooperation between people together.  Language and culture, speaking, listening and behaving are ways of doing things together and are improved and strengthened by frequent interaction between people.

Language to signal status

The difference between two languages may not only be a difference in pronunciation, vocabulary or grammar, but also in the different ways of expressing oneself.  Some cultures have ways of signaling social distance through language.  In English and modern Swedish you may call someone you don't know well by his first name but in German and French you would use the surname and add a title.

In Thai and Burmese, different words are used according to whether you talk to someone perceived as of higher or lower rank.  These are hierarchical societies with children ranking low and monks, gods and royalty the highest.

How to overcome language and culture barriers?

How to ensure successful cooperation and working relationships so critical for success in a globalized world?  Cooperation and relationships depend on understanding and trust!  So speaking and understanding the same language is an obvious first.  Understanding how people in other cultures think and work is a second and critical to any global corporation but surprisingly often underestimated

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Cross Culture, Communication and Cooperation. Culture, Language and Communication