Nonverbal Communication

Topics: Culture, Nonverbal communication, Communication Pages: 15 (4991 words) Published: March 7, 2011
Chapter One Introduction
Human communication is usually divided into verbal and nonverbal systems. Actually, in everyday life, we spend a considerable amount of time on nonverbal communication. Furthermore, we receive much of our emotional meanings through nonverbal elements. Birdwhistell and Philpott figured out that the nonverbal communication accounts for 60 to70 percent of what we communicate to one another (Tubbs&Moss, 1991:137) . This statistic has been widely accepted and reported by most current nonverbal communication books. Since verbal communication is only 30% in daily conversation, nonverbal communication is of great significance. Culture and communication are inextricably bound. Cross-cultural communication, as one of the most important parts in culture, should not be neglected. Cultural difference is one of the greatest hinders in cross-cultural communication. People in different countries may misunderstand each other because they have different cultures. Some of these differences show up by language and translation, but many others involve subtle differences in etiquette, behavior, values, norms,rituals, expectations and other nonverbal variations. Learning about cultural differences in nonverbal behavior is useful to study cross-cultural communication for number of reasons. First, we will be able to gather clues about underlying attitudes and values by realizing critical cultural differences. Nonverbal communication often reveals basic cultural traits. Second ,the study of nonverbal behavior an help us to isolate our own ethnocentrism. Knowing what attitudes and behavior be bring to a communication event can make people understand our response to the people we meet. In the 1970, Fast's Body Language was the opening of the time of synthesized the nonverbal studies. The following linguists followed and summarized the book and attempted to make nonverbal achievements more understandable to people. Among all these books, some outstanding ones were: Ekman's findings on the human face (Emotion in the Human Face.1972); Mehrabian's works on the meaning of nonverbal cues of immediacy, status and responsiveness (Nonverbal Communication.1972); Scheflen's kinesics in the framework of general systems theory (Body Language and Social Order.1972). Recently, the linguists in our country have also produced many nonverbal communication works. The earliest work was Breif Review of Kinesics written by Geng Erling. (Beijing Linguistics Institute Press. 1988) Hu Wenzhong aslo have edited several books, for instance, Intercultural Communication and English Study (1988); British and American Culture Dictionary (1995) As it is mentioned above ,the history of nonverbal communication studies as a discipline is not very long. The research on nonverbal behavior in our country began from 1980s. Now in 21st century, there is an increasing amount of research findings in this area. In addition ,With increasing contact between China and America, the study of the Sino-American cultural differences in nonverbal communication makes controbute to releasing misunderstanding and culture conflicts. Above all, it is necessary to deepen the study of the differences in nonverbal communication between China and American and an appropriate way of such study is to make a broad statement and then provide a contrastive study of cultural differences in nonverbal communication between American and China neither too broadly nor too narrowly. This paper focus on the nonverbal communication from the view of cultural differences. Through analyzing certain examples form various sources, the findings show that cultural differences in nonverbal communication between China and America is worth of studying in order to release cultural barrier and to achieve a win-win situation. Starting from the second chapter, general ideas of nonverbal communication are touched upon. Next chapter is describing the theories of culture and cultural differences....
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