Thursday, October 24, 2019
Intercultural Communication in the Workplace Essay
Good morning, dobry den, dobry den, Guten Tag, bonjour, buenos dias, these are examples of my native Slovak and five other languages that I can partly understand and speak. I used to think this was a significant number, but I found that there were approximately 4000 languages spoken in the world. It is obvious that we could spend the whole life studying foreign languages and never master all of them. So how do we overcome this barrier? The next part will give a complete summary of the possible solutions according to three authors and will also include my own reflections. The most comprehensive approach to the topic can be found in the book titled Ã¢â¬Å"Intercultural communication in the global workplaceÃ¢â¬ by Linda Beamer and Iris Varner. Linda Beamer is a full professor in the Department of Marketing at California State University, Los Angeles where she teaches marketing courses as well as business communication, intercultural communication and many others. Iris Varner is a professor in the Department of Management and Quantitative Methods, College of Business at Illinois State University, where she teaches the cultural environment of international business. Varner is the author of numerous articles in the area of intercultural managerial communication, and she is also president of the Association for Business Communication. The whole chapter in the book is dedicated to the role of language in the intercultural communication. They believe that language and culture are shaping each other and are intertwined. They show that identical words can have different meanings in different cultures. Ã¢â¬Å"Both the French and the Americans use the word force majeure, but the phrase carries very different meanings. Literally the term means superior or irresistible force. In U. S. legal language, the term refers generally to forces of nature or possible war. The implications are that the terms of a contract may be changed because the risk was not allocated in either the expressed or implied terms of the contract. In European law the term has a broader meaning. It also includes changes in the economic conditions or other circumstances that were not reasonably anticipated when the contract was drawn up. The implication is that when Americans make agreements with Europeans that include discussions of unforeseen circumstances and use the term force majeure, they need to clarify what they mean and spell out what that term coversÃ¢â¬ (Beamer, Varner, 2008, para. 6). According to Beamer and Varner following points may help in communicating with non-native speakers: Enunciate, speak slowly, avoid slang and colloquialism, be careful about jokes, be sincere, be culturally sensitive, and keep a sense of humor (Beamer, Varner, 2008)Speaking clearly and slowly is helpful. Avoiding slang is necessary because unless the speaker has lived in the country for a long time, there is small chance that he or she will understand. The problem with jokes is that they do not translate well and if they have to be accompanied by lengthy explanations, they usually lose their funniness. Being sincere, culturally sensitive, and keeping sense of humor also affects communication in the positive way. On the other hand, I personally prefer new phenomenon called Ã¢â¬Å"World EnglishÃ¢â¬ that is described in the work of two authors. According to Smith, Ã¢â¬Å"The geographical spread of English is unique among the languages of the world, throughout history. Countries using English as either a first or a second language are located on all five continents, and the total population of these countries amounts to about 49% of the worldÃ¢â¬â¢s populationÃ¢â¬ (Smith, 2006). He recognizes six types of World English: US English, Canadian English, Australian, New Zealand English, South African English, Indian English, and West Indian English (Smith, 2006).