Individual Project 1
Cross Cultural Relations
Cross cultural communications requires not only knowledge of another language but also familiarity with nonverbal behavior and cultural practices, values, and customs. Nonverbal communications or body language is communication by facial expression, head or eye movements, hand signals, and body postures. It can be just as important to understanding as words are, because they may mean something very different from what they mean in your own culture. What might be acceptable in one culture can be considered rude and improper in another. For example, the nodding of the head up and down is a gesture that communicates a different message in different parts of the world. In North America, it means “I agree.” In the Middle East, nodding the head down means “I agree” and up means “I disagree”. In a conversation among Japanese, it often means “I am listening.” Misunderstandings can often arise between people from different cultures if they misinterpret nonverbal signals. For example, while speaking with a salesman; one Japanese student in the U.S. nodded his head politely to show he was paying attention. The next day the salesman brought a new washing machine to the student’s apartment, because he took nodding for yes. Gestures and eye contact are two examples of nonverbal communication that vary widely across culture. In the United States, for example, making a circle with your thumb and forefinger and holding up your remaining three fingers means you’re okay. However, in most other parts of the world, that symbol is considered vulgar. The level of eye contact also differs around the world. American culture encourages eye contact. On the other hand, the Japanese consider eye contact disrespectful. For greetings in the U.S. a handshake is appropriate. In France, the traditional handshake is considered too rough and rude; a quick handshake with only slight pressure is preferred. In Japan the traditional...
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