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Language and Culture

Please help me with the following:

Write an essay on how language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication. Give examples from the readings.

(3 short articles attached).


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Please see response attached.

Sociology, Ethnic Relations
Language and Culture

The place to begin this assignment is to read the three articles critically, underlining or highlighting important points, which you can then reference later when writing your essay. They are attached below the response for easy referencing, which I refer to throughout this response.
Briefly, your tentative outline for your essay might look something to the effect...
I. Introduction (about ¼- ½ page, including purpose statement e.g. the purpose of this paper is to discuss how language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication).
II. How language plays a role in cross-cultural communication
a. Reason Number 1 (provide examples)
b. Reason Number 2 (provide examples)
c. Reason Number 3 (provide examples)
d. And so on...
III. Conclusion (tie up main points).
While reading the article below, consider the above tentative outline looking for example to fill in the outline.
Now, let's look at some potential examples from the attached articles, which I attached below for easy referencing and reading.

1. Write an essay on how language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication. Give examples from the readings. 3 short articles attached.

There is a general consensus in the literature that language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication. According to Whalen (see Article 3.doc below), for example, language does not merely represent a culture, but is its own contribution to that culture.
In Article 3.doc, there is a very interesting comment about language that explains how language effects cross-cultural communications (e.g., through different visions and values; different human experiences e.g. cultural traditions and perceptions), which you could consider for this essay:
"Language embodies the spectrum of human vision, and its varieties provide unparalleled insights into the diversity of human experience and perception, while the consistencies expose the unchanging kernel across cultures."
Whalen goes on to say,
"Vocabulary, greetings, oral traditions, poetry, and humor are the substance of culture, not just vessels of communication." (Article 3.doc).
These ideas say a lot in regards to how language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication.

Although not just vessels of communication (Whalen, Article 3.doc), language clearly impacts the type of communication style used in various cultures (Article 3.doc) through various means, such as

1. Different visions and values
For example, in Article 3.doc, the author recognizes the impact of language on the cultural values, which are communicated through words and cultural style (indirect versus direct; passive versus aggressive style, etc.):
...language preservation is crucial "because it recognizes people's right to determine their own fate. It helps preserve a record of the value system that's intrinsic to any language.
Add other examples from the articles as well. See page 6 below, the views of James Geary in Time International (highlighted in brown), which recognizes how language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication.
Read the articles again below, and find other examples of the impact of different visions and values on cross-cultural communication styles.

2. Different human experiences (e.g. cultural traditions) and perceptions impact communication styles through language.
For example, in Article 1.doc, the author argues that the Malagasy way is about "taking it slow", which is challenged by the cell-phone and the need to "get to the point quickly":
The biggest potential threat to Madagascar's culture, sighs local poet Ranoe, is the cellphone. Each minute of talk is so expensive, he says, that people have to get to the point quickly - not the Malagasy way. "Basically," he concludes, "we are about taking it slow."
Thus, this cultural difference impacts the Malagasy person, as they prefer to take there time in making decision, as opposed to other cultures, such as the United States who are more aggressive in their approach. This courses cross-cultural communication and decision-making problems are not addressed appropriately. These differences are rooted in language (e.g., language promotes the cultural tradition of "taking it slow" type of communication style). In fact, the Malagasy way is referred to a form of traditional Malagasy oratory, kabary, based on the unhurried telling of ancestral proverbs, metaphors, and riddles, frequently in a dialogue using call and response (Article 1.doc). This is in sharp contrast to the United State's more aggressive, "get to the point quickly" type of communication. See more on kabory, which is rooted in language and cultural tradition (highlight in pink below, pp. 2-3);
Kabary is spoken solely in the Malagasy language, which - like the Malagasy themselves - is a synthesis of Indonesian, Polynesian, African, Arab and European influences. (Article 1.doc)
Similarly, in Article 2.doc, the authors points to Moscow's language being invaded by "the aggressive Americanization" a communication style implied in the use of language, that deviated from the Russian communication style rooted in the Russian language:
"It's one thing to borrow words that express economic and cultural changes, but this aggressive Americanization is something quite different," says Yevgeny Chelishev, a member of the Kremlin's official Language Council, which was created by President Vladimir Putin two years ago. "Measures are long overdue."(Article 2.doc)

See Article 2.doc below (highlighted in blue), which also points to different use of words (language) between Russia and America implies "the aggressive Americanism" instead of the more subtle ways of the Russian words (language) and communication: Even criminals have taken to saying killer, while the Russian language has always had its own word for a ...

Solution Summary

Referring to the articles on cultural diversity, this solution assists in examining how language plays a decisive role in cross-cultural communication pointing out examples from these articles.