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What is intercultural communication (reading)?

What is intercultural communication (reading)?

Intercultural communication, in the context of reading, refers to the process of exchanging and interpreting written information across different cultural contexts. It involves understanding and navigating the complexities of communication between individuals or groups from diverse cultural backgrounds. Intercultural communication is essential in today’s interconnected world, where people from various cultures often interact, collaborate, and share information.

When it comes to reading, intercultural communication involves not only comprehending the literal meaning of the text but also understanding the cultural nuances, perspectives, and context embedded within the written material. It requires sensitivity to cultural differences, awareness of potential misunderstandings, and the ability to bridge gaps in cultural understanding to promote effective communication.

Intercultural communication in reading encompasses several key aspects:

  1. Language: Different languages and writing systems may pose challenges in understanding texts from other cultures. Translating or interpreting written materials accurately is crucial to facilitate cross-cultural understanding.
  2. Cultural Context: Every culture has its own values, beliefs, norms, and traditions that influence the way information is presented and understood. Readers must be aware of these cultural nuances to interpret the intended meaning accurately and avoid misinterpretation.
  3. Nonverbal Cues: Nonverbal cues, such as gestures, facial expressions, and body language, can vary across cultures and may convey different meanings. Understanding these cues in written texts, such as descriptions of nonverbal communication, can help readers grasp the full context and intention of the message.
  4. Stereotypes and Assumptions: Stereotypes and assumptions can hinder intercultural communication by perpetuating biases and misrepresenting cultures. Readers must be mindful of their own preconceptions and actively challenge stereotypes to approach texts with an open mind.
  5. Perspective-Taking: Intercultural communication in reading involves adopting a perspective-taking approach, striving to understand the author’s point of view within their cultural framework. This empathetic understanding enhances cross-cultural communication and fosters intercultural competence.
  6. Adaptation and Flexibility: Effective intercultural communication requires adaptability and flexibility. Readers should be open to different ways of expression, willing to seek clarification, and ready to adjust their interpretation based on new information or insights gained from the text.

By actively engaging in intercultural communication during reading, individuals can broaden their horizons, develop cultural sensitivity, and enhance their ability to connect and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. It fosters mutual understanding, empathy, and respect, facilitating meaningful interactions in our increasingly globalized world.

What is communication accommodation theory (CAT) (reading)?

Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) is a sociolinguistic theory that examines how individuals adjust their communication styles and behaviors to adapt to the speech patterns, language, and social norms of others. CAT explores how people strategically modify their communication to either converge with or diverge from the speech and behavior of their interlocutors. The theory was developed by Howard Giles and his colleagues in the 1970s and has since been widely studied and applied in various communication contexts.

When applied to reading, the concept of Communication Accommodation Theory can be understood as follows:

  1. Convergence: Convergence occurs when individuals adapt their reading style to match that of the text or author they are reading. This could involve adopting a similar tone, vocabulary, or sentence structure to align with the text’s characteristics. Convergence can facilitate comprehension and connection with the material, especially when reading texts from a specific cultural, academic, or professional context.
  2. Divergence: Divergence, on the other hand, involves intentionally maintaining or emphasizing differences in reading styles. This could be done to assert one’s own identity, resist social pressure, or convey distinctiveness. Divergence in reading may manifest in intentionally avoiding or challenging certain perspectives, questioning the dominant narrative, or interpreting the text through a different cultural or ideological lens.
  3. Accommodation Strategies: Communication Accommodation Theory identifies several strategies individuals employ to adapt their reading behavior. These strategies include lexical accommodation (using the same or similar words as the text), syntactic accommodation (structuring sentences similarly), and phonetic accommodation (pronouncing words in the same manner). Accommodation strategies may be conscious or unconscious, and they can vary depending on the reader’s goals and the specific context of reading.
  4. Social Identity: Communication Accommodation Theory recognizes the influence of social identity on communication. Individuals may choose to accommodate or diverge in their reading based on factors such as their cultural background, social group membership, or perceived power dynamics. Social identity plays a role in shaping reading preferences, interpretations, and strategies.

By understanding Communication Accommodation Theory in the context of reading, individuals can gain insights into their own reading behaviors and consider the ways in which they adapt or diverge from the text they are engaging with. It highlights the dynamic nature of communication and the role of individual agency in shaping reading experiences. Applying CAT to reading can enhance comprehension, intercultural understanding, and critical engagement with texts by encouraging readers to reflect on their own reading styles and consider alternative perspectives and approaches.

Definition of culture (lecture)?

Culture refers to the shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that characterize a particular group or society. It encompasses the learned patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are transmitted from one generation to the next through socialization and interaction. Culture shapes individuals’ identities, shapes their worldview, and provides a framework for understanding and interpreting the world around them.

Key aspects of culture include:

Beliefs and Values: Culture encompasses the beliefs and values held by a group. Beliefs are the ideas and convictions about the nature of reality, while values are the shared judgments about what is desirable or morally right. These beliefs and values guide individuals’ behaviors and shape their perceptions of what is important.

Customs and Traditions: Culture encompasses the customs and traditions that dictate social behaviors, rituals, and practices within a group. These can include ceremonies, celebrations, greetings, food preferences, clothing styles, and other behavioral norms that are shared and reinforced by the group.

Language and Communication: Language is a fundamental aspect of culture as it enables communication and the transmission of ideas and knowledge. Different cultures often have their own languages, dialects, and communication styles, which shape the way people interact, express themselves, and understand the world.

Norms and Etiquette: Cultural norms refer to the accepted standards of behavior within a particular group or society. They provide guidelines for appropriate conduct in various social contexts, such as family, work, or public spaces. Etiquette, which is a subset of norms, focuses on polite and considerate behavior in social interactions.

Art, Literature, and Symbols: Culture is often expressed and preserved through art, literature, and symbols. These creative forms reflect the values, aesthetics, and historical narratives of a culture. They can include visual arts, music, dance, literature, architecture, religious symbols, flags, and other cultural artifacts.

Social Institutions: Culture is also reflected in the social institutions that structure society, such as family, education systems, government, religion, and economic systems. These institutions embody cultural values, norms, and practices and provide a framework for social organization and interaction.

It is important to note that culture is not static or monolithic. It is subject to change, adaptation, and evolution over time as societies encounter new influences and experiences. Moreover, within a larger culture, there can be subcultures or diverse cultural groups with their own distinct beliefs, practices, and values. Understanding and appreciating cultural diversity is essential for effective intercultural communication and fostering mutual respect and understanding in a globalized world.

What does enculturation mean (lecture)?

Enculturation refers to the process through which individuals acquire and internalize the beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and social norms of their own culture. It is the process by which individuals learn and become socialized into the practices and expectations of their particular cultural group.

Enculturation begins from an early age and continues throughout a person’s lifetime. It involves various mechanisms and influences, including family, peers, educational institutions, religious institutions, media, and the broader social environment. Through these channels, individuals learn the language, acquire knowledge, develop social skills, and internalize the cultural rules and norms that guide their behavior and interactions with others.

During enculturation, individuals absorb cultural information implicitly and explicitly. Implicitly, enculturation occurs through observation, imitation, and unconscious absorption of cultural practices and values from the surrounding environment. Explicitly, it involves formal instruction, socialization processes, and direct communication of cultural knowledge and expectations.

Enculturation is vital for individuals to become competent members of their society, as it provides them with the tools and understanding necessary to function effectively within their cultural group. It helps shape their worldview, beliefs, identity, and behavior, and enables them to navigate social interactions and understand the shared meanings embedded in their culture.

Enculturation is closely related to socialization, which refers to the broader process of learning and internalizing the norms, values, and behaviors of a given society. While enculturation specifically focuses on cultural aspects, socialization encompasses a wider range of social norms and expectations beyond culture, including gender roles, social roles, and societal rules.

It’s important to note that enculturation is culture-specific, meaning that each culture has its own unique enculturation processes and content. Different cultures have distinct values, beliefs, and practices, and the process of enculturation reflects these cultural variations. Enculturation plays a crucial role in shaping individual and collective identities, maintaining cultural continuity, and transmitting cultural heritage from one generation to the next.

Definition of communication and the influences and principles thereof (i.e. irreversible, intentional/unintentional, etc.) (lecture).

Communication can be defined as the process of exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, and feelings between individuals or groups through various mediums, such as verbal and nonverbal cues, writing, gestures, symbols, or technology. It involves the transmission, reception, and interpretation of messages to create shared understanding.

Influences on Communication:

Cultural Influences: Culture plays a significant role in shaping communication patterns and norms. Cultural values, beliefs, norms, and expectations influence how individuals encode and decode messages, interpret nonverbal cues, and approach interpersonal interactions.

Social and Relational Influences: Social factors, such as the status, power dynamics, and relationship between communicators, impact the nature and dynamics of communication. The closeness of relationships, social roles, and social norms affect the communication style, level of formality, and the choice of communication channels.

Environmental and Contextual Influences: The physical environment, social context, and situational factors can influence communication. Factors such as noise, distractions, privacy, and the specific setting (e.g., workplace, home, public space) can impact the effectiveness and clarity of communication.

Individual Differences: Individual characteristics, including personality traits, communication skills, cognitive abilities, and personal experiences, shape communication styles and preferences. Factors like age, gender, education, and cultural background can also influence how individuals communicate and interpret messages.

Principles of Communication:

Clarity: Communication should be clear and easily understandable to facilitate accurate message transmission and comprehension. Clear language, organized thoughts, and effective use of verbal and nonverbal cues help convey meaning effectively.

Conciseness: Effective communication is concise, conveying information in a concise and efficient manner. Avoiding unnecessary complexity, repetition, and excessive detail helps prevent information overload and ensures the message is easily understood.

Listening: Active listening is a vital aspect of communication. It involves attentively receiving and understanding messages, demonstrating interest, providing feedback, and seeking clarification when needed. Active listening fosters mutual understanding and effective communication.

Nonverbal Communication: Nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and gestures, play a crucial role in communication. They can enhance or contradict verbal messages, convey emotions, and provide additional context and meaning.

Feedback: Feedback is essential in communication as it allows for clarification, confirmation, and adjustment of the message. Providing and seeking feedback ensures that messages are understood as intended and helps in maintaining effective communication.

Adaptability: Effective communicators are adaptable, adjusting their communication style, language, and approach to meet the needs of different individuals and situations. Adapting to cultural differences, using appropriate language, and being receptive to feedback fosters effective communication.

These influences and principles of communication highlight the complexity and dynamics involved in successful interpersonal and intercultural communication. By understanding and applying these principles, individuals can enhance their communication skills, foster meaningful connections, and avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

· What does it mean to say that meanings are in people, not in words (lecture)?

· Definition of health communication (lecture)?

· Reasons to study intercultural communication (lecture)?

· What is patient-centered care (lecture)?

· Know the different components of the ecological model of health communication (lecture).

· What is the definition of intercultural communication flexibility/competence? What are the components (reading/lecture)?

· What is the difference between an ethnocentric and ethnorelative mindset (lecture)?

· What factors influence intercultural communication flexibility/competence (lecture)?

· What are the stages of the Staircase Model of intercultural flexibility/competence (lecture)?

· How can we be more flexible/competent communicators (lecture)?

· What are the different layers of the iceberg metaphor of culture and why are they important to consider in patient-provider relationships (video)?

· What is meant by cultural humility and why is it important in the healthcare setting (video)?


· What are beliefs, values, and attitudes (reading)?

· Know the descriptions of the following cultural value patterns/orientations from Hofstede and Hall (reading/lecture):

· individualism/collectivism

· uncertainty avoidance

· power distance

· masculine vs feminine

· high vs. low-context communication

· What is the ODIS method? Know the steps (lecture).

· What are the differences between the biomedical, magico-religious, and holistic health perspectives (lecture)?

· Name the three prevalent health belief systems and their thoughts on the causes and treatment of illness (lecture).

SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS | Be sure to answer in your own words using original examples.

. Choose one of the diverse health belief systems covered during week two that is different from your own. Describe it in your own words. Develop a scenario where you are working with a patient or co-worker who employs this belief system. Share how you would use the ODIS system to ensure that you are being a mindful listener and using appropriate and effective communication skills in this scenario.

. How does learning about different cultural values help us in communicating with others? Choose one of Hofstede’s cultural value orientations from our reading/lectures and define it in your own words. Then describe an experience you’ve had or a hypothetical situation where this cultural value influenced an interaction in the health care setting. How did this cultural value influence the situation and what was the result?

. Describe high and low-context communication in your own words. What style do you typically use?  Provide an example.  What can you do in an encounter with someone in the health care setting who seems to speak in a style different from yours?  What adjustments would you make to communicate more effectively?

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