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Intercultural Communication Essay

1593 words - 6 pages

IntroductionThe field of intercultural communication is usually seen as an area of specialisation within the domain of communication studies. It is an area in which anthropologists on account of their concern with the cultural diversity of humankind should be seriously interested. It is therefore rather difficult to explain why anthropologists have not as yet made any notable contribution to the study of intercultural communication in United States. The aim of this paper is therefore, in the first instance, to bring this very topical field of research to the attention of colleagues in our country.A second aim of equal status is, once again, to emphasise the importance and sensitive implications of the manifold variations in language and ways of life (culture) when promoting contact and communication between members of the different language and cultural groups in United States. It is therefore an initial hypothesis that the success of intercultural communication is directly related to the extent of the cultural awareness demonstrated in such communication.The method used in this exposition is mainly the scrutiny and evaluation of relevant literature.One also acknowledges that personal experience and discourse with experts played an appreciated role in the final formulation of the text. To these latter sources no specific references are made because the responsibility for all opinions enumerated must, in the final instance, be my own. Though some of the examples used, have a wider connotation it has been the intention primarily to focus on situations of intercultural contact and communication as found in United States.Communication studies are a problem-oriented "scientific discipline studying the physical, psychical and sociological aspects of all communication"; where communication is seen as "the transmission of intelligence from one organism to the other through a system of symbols or signs, i.e. through speech or sign language" (my translation) (Plug et al. 1988:183). Those working in this field accept the task of facilitating such processes of communication.It is important to understand that all communication, and therefore also all intercultural communication, takes place between human individuals. This holds true even in those cases where communication occurs between organisations or institutions. All communication starts with a conscious resolution by the initiator of contact, but the success of the full process depends on the readiness of the recipient to accept the message, albeit passively.If the recipient is unwilling to accept the communication no successful contact is possible. This openness to receive is usually tacitly assumed in communication theory. It is also seen as the task of the initiator of contact to overcome all impediments to the process including the possible unwillingness of the recipient to accept the message or to reciprocate in the process. One must therefore at the outset stress one's conviction that real and...

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