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Culture and the Filter of the Social System

"Between the grammar of my language and its expression in audible speech lies the filter of the social system in which I live ... " - Peter Farb.

1.What comprises "the filter of the social system?" Define it within your personal context of work. Illustrate -- with at least two examples -- how your social system influences your communication style (speech, interpersonal communication, responses/reactions to any given situation, etc.).
2. Focus on a culture different from your own. How do communication styles vary according to age, sex, and status of speakers in that culture? Identify levels of formality, language style, tone, etc. Compare and contrast the communication styles of your own context with the "foreign" culture you have chosen to analyze.

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Please see response attached for best format, some of which is also presented below. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

Hi,

Let's take a closer look through definition, discussion, and example, which you can draw on for your final copy. For illustrative purposes, we will look at United States and Japan.

1. What comprises "the filter of the social system?" Define it within your personal context of work. Illustrate, with at least two examples, how your social system influences your communication style (speech, interpersonal communication, responses/reactions to any given situation, etc.).

First, let's look at some definitions. This often adds clarity and further aids understanding and thus, is often a good starting point.

What is culture? Not everyone agrees, but let's look at one definition. Culture is defined as a group's collective meaning system and includes its values, attitudes, beliefs, customs, and thoughts. Intercultural communication, on the other hand, is the exchange of information between well-defined groups with significantly different cultures. Globalization is "the process of strengthening the worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local events are shaped by circumstances at other places in the world" (Giddens, 1990, p. 64). One potential consequence of globalization is cultural homogenization due to the exchange of information among people from different cultural groups. http://www.safarix.com/0131927671).

The understanding of linguistic differences in business is thus imperative. Indeed, the impact of effective intercultural communication can be complicated by the fact that people speak different languages or different forms of the same language, depending on the social situation. It has potential dangers for misunderstanding and misgivings across people. Bilingualism (multilingualism) is complicated by the fact that it is situational, for a person may speak one language at home, one language at work, and still another language in the marketplace. For example, the expressions college students use to their friends in the dormitory differ from the way they address employers, ministers, parents, grandparents, or professors. Levels of formality between speakers, relative status, sex, age can frequently determine what is said and how it is said. As Peter Farb (1974) said, "Between the grammar of my language and its expression in audible speech lies the filter of the social system in which I live ... " (p. 43) (Ferraro, Gary, P. (2005). The Cultural Dimension of International Business, Fifth Edition; New York:
Prentice Hall. URL: http://www.safarix.com/0131927671).

Another example of the "filter of the social system" is illustrated in the linguistic differences associated with communicating in the workplace. For example depending on who is addressing the woman, the level of formality changes and implied through language. She could be referred to as "Dr. Sanderson," "Elizabeth," "Betty," "Madam." "Sweetheart," or "Doc", among others. It is not likely that her husband or father would address her as "Dr. Sanderson", nor is it likely that the nurses at the hospital (workplace) would refer to her as "Elizabeth" or "Betty" or "Doc.". Moreover, the same person may use different terms in different situations. Her husband may address her as "Betty" at the supper table, "Elizabeth" in a heated argument and "sweetheart" in a romantic embrace. Thus, levels of formality between speakers and relative status determine what is said and how it is said. Age is another filter, as some people use formality when age is factor (e.g., respect your elders). This is an excellent example of what is meant by the "filter of the social system." In other words, we behave in ways that meet social expectations of our work roles, and our communication style and relationship with our work colleagues is based, at least in part, on status (doctor versus nurse or administrative clerk), but other variables, such as age, relationship to the person, and gender also come into play.

Culture shock was coined by Kalvero Oberg (anthropologist), which refers to the psychological disorientation experienced by people who suddenly find themselves living and working in radically different cultural environments. It is the anxiety that results when all familiar cultural props have been knocked out from under the person who is entering the new culture (see quote at http://www.safarix.com/0131927671/ch03lev1sec5#X2ludGVybmFsX1RvYz94bWxpZD0wMTMxOTI3NjcxL2NoMDc= and other information by clicking on topics on the left hand side of the web page).

This ties into the next question.

2. Focus on a culture different from your own. How do communication ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses "the filter of the social system" through example and then in terms of how a personal social system influences communication style (speech, interpersonal communication, responses/reactions to any given situation, etc.). It also compares United States and Japan on various cultural dimensions and explains how communication styles vary according to age, sex, and status of speakers in that culture e.g. levels of formality, language style, tone, etc.

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