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How Does Language Contribute To Inter Cultural Communications?

1889 words - 8 pages

There once was a story named Babel in Bible•The Old Testament. It states like the following: in the early days of the world, all mankind spoke the same language. They wished to build a tower which is high enough to reach heaven when they arrived in the great plains of Babylonia. However, God was angry about that idea and decided to punish these arrogant humans. As a result, God gave them different languages to prevent them from communicating and strewing them into different part of the world. Since then, people could not understand each other any longer (Babel, 1997). Although this is simply a story, it could be indicated that what an important role that language plays in communication. ...view middle of the document...

Third, language can be used to represent itself. In addition, it can describe the past things which may not exist at present. Finally, language is changeable with varied meaning. All of these factors consist in the complicated ingredients of communication, thus they will be reflected more or less in the following illustration.Languages often appear to exist as static forms with little changes over a relatively long period of time, however, they are rather dynamic indeed involving a lot of changes such as vocabulary and grammar and such a phenomenon can be called as language evolution. The evolution of language has twofold meanings which are the biological evolution of language faculty and a changing system of communication (Stanford, 2005). In other words, language evolution is along with the development of human being bringing both positive and negative effects on inter cultural communication.On the one hand, it is evolution of language that makes it possible for people to communicate among different cultures. Both Nowak and Krakauer (1999) believe that all humans' languages are thought to possess the same general structure and permit an almost limitless production of information for communicating as the result of language revolution. Firstly, language allows people to have contact with others. Gudykunst and Kim (2003) argue that language has at least three functions in communicating situation, which are providing one's knowledge, expressing one's own opinions and influencing others' actions or thoughts. People could exchange ideas with each other by means of applying the use of language to achieve mutual understanding. Secondly, language can help us understand culture variations in both communication style and the context regulations (Martin and Nakayama, 2004). It is widely believed that the word "language culture" is better than saying language and culture separately (Agar cited in Gudykunst and Kim, 2003:211). For example, the difference in values between British and Chinese could be read apparently through some usage. Admittedly, the English speaking countries often emphasize the individual initiative while the Chinese people often pay more attention to others and give priority to others. British people would say "What can I do for you?" when they would like to offering assistance, whereas Chinese prefer to say "What do you need for help?" under the same condition. Moreover, the letter "I" appears as capital form almost every situation in Britain while Chinese people like to use self-depreciatory expressions when referring to themselves. Consequently, it might be implied that people can learn about different traditions and customs through languages.On the other hand, language evolution causes some disapproving matters as well. To begin with, according to Natural Virtual Translation Center (2006), 6,912 languages live in the modern world today and not every single language would be a vital one, that is, not all the languages are in the...

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