Intercultural communication
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Intercultural Communication. Chapter 8 Nonverbal Intercultural Communication. Definition of Nonverbal Codes. Nonverbal communication is a multi-channeled process that is usually performed spontaneously Nonverbal and verbal codes inseparably linked together. Defining Nonverbal Codes.

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Intercultural Communication

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Intercultural Communication

Chapter 8

Nonverbal Intercultural Communication


Definition of Nonverbal Codes

  • Nonverbal communication is a multi-channeled process that is usually performed spontaneously

  • Nonverbal and verbal codes inseparably linked together


Defining Nonverbal Codes

  • Some characteristics of nonverbal codes

    • Function as a “silent language”

    • Continuous and natural

    • No dictionaries or formal set of rules

    • Less precise


  • The relationship takes a variety of forms.

    • Used to accent the verbal message

    • Can compliment the verbal message

    • Sometimes contradictory

    • Help to regulate interactions

    • Serve as a substitute for verbal messages


Cultural Universals in Nonverbal Communication

  • Some authors have identified what they refer to as “cultural universals” of nonverbal communication.

  • Some examples of these nonverbal universals include the shoulder shrug, facial expressions, and the need to be territorial.


Cultural Variations in Nonverbal Communication

  • Nonverbal communication must be interpreted in the context or framework of the culture in which it occurs.

    • Cultures differ in the specific repertoire of behaviors that are enacted

    • Cultures have unique sets of display rules

      • Norms

      • Intensity

      • Differences cause discomfort and misinterpretation


Cultural Variations in Nonverbal Communication

  • Cultures vary in interpretation

    • Behavior is random

    • Idiosyncratic interpretations

    • Shared interpretations

    • Cultures differ in these aspects

  • None of this is taught verbally-learned through observation and experience


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Body movements (kinesics)

    • Emblems

    • Illustrators

      • Emphasize, explain, and support

      • Less arbitrary than emblems

    • Affect displays

      • Many universally recognized

      • May be unconscious and unintentional

    • Regulators

    • Adapters


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Space (proxemics)

    • Personal space

      • Awareness of cultural use of space

      • Intimate, personal, social, public space

    • Territoriality

      • Protect and defend

      • Rage, invasions, and contaminations


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Touch (haptic)

    • Express positive or negative feelings

    • Cultures differences can lead to difficulties

    • Differ in amount, where, whom, setting, etc.


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Time (chronemics)

    • The value placed on the passage of time

      • Past-oriented cultures

      • Present-oriented cultures

      • Future-oriented cultures

    • They are implicit rules

      • Technical time systems

      • Formal time systems

      • Informal time systems


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Time (chronemics)

    • Informal time systems can be

      • monochronic or

      • Polychronic

    • Because cultures differ in their time orientations and in time systems they use to give order to experiences, misinterpretations often occur.


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Voice (vocalics)

    • Can include:

      • Non-speech sounds

      • Filler sounds

      • Pitch

      • Rate

      • Rhythm

      • Volume

    • Convey meaning beyond words


Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled

  • Other

    • Chemical

    • Dermal

    • Physical

    • Artifactual


Synchrony of Nonverbal Communication Codes

  • Synchronized behaviors form patterns

  • They typify an expected response

  • Subtlety is clearly noticed

  • Behavior of all parties must match


Nonverbal Communication and Intercultural Competence

  • The rules and norms that govern most nonverbal communication behaviors are both culture-specific and learned unconsciously.

  • Monitoring one’s emotional reactions to differences in nonverbal behaviors alerts a person to the interpretations he or she is making and therefore to the possibility of alternative meanings.


Nonverbal Communication and Intercultural Competence

  • A person should observe general tendencies in the nonverbal behavior of culturally different people.

  • Looking for exceptions to general tendencies observed allows one to recognize that no one individual will fit exactly the cultural generalization formed.

  • One can practice the ability to observe, evaluate, and behave in effective ways during intercultural encounters.


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