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For Group Communications or Intro to CMMU class - Culture and Verbal Communication For this paper I have once again chosen a topic that I have a great deal of interest in I find it absolutely fascinating how something like culture can so dramatically affect the communication that may or may not take place between individuals of different cultures In this paper I will examine the differences between high- and low-context cultures and the problems that can arise during communication between members of different cultures Before looking at the differences between high- and low-context we must first determine just what they are To begin we must clearly define context Context is the information that surrounds an event it is inextricably bound up with the meaning of that event The elements that combine to produce a given meaning - events and context - are in different proportions depending on the culture The cultures of the world can be compared on a scale from high to low According to Edward Hall in his book Beyond Culture low-context cultures use language primarily to express thought ideas and feelings as clearly and logically as possible To understand what is being communicated one must look at the spoken words Put simply in a low-context culture what is said is what is meant Conversely in a high-context culture there is a usage of subtle cues often nonverbal with the aim of maintaining social harmony The communicators from these cultures learn to determine what is truly being expressed by examining nonverbal behaviors context of the message history of the relationship and the social rules governing interaction Japanese Arabs and Mediterranean peoples who have extensive information networks among family friends colleagues and clients and who are involved in close personal relationships are considered high-context As a result they do not require or expect much in-depth background information when communicating
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