Intercultural Miscommunication

The frequent situations of misunderstandings in intercultural communication may be more common then one may believe. The potential for misunderstandings between two different cultures communicating is very high. Through such things as idioms, translation errors, and wrong body language communicative skills can be incorrect. When these intercultural mistakes occur between the people speaking or moving it may be perceived by the opposite culture as funny, rude or confusing. With these considerations in mind, the combination of possibilities for misinterpretations is increasingly elevated.

Idioms are used in every language, which is why it is difficult to communicate in some instances. Different languages seem to create their own language, which may consist of words put together, or words made up by different societies. Most people who learn another language by another way than emersion learn the formal way of speaking a specific language and therefore when slang words, or idiomatic sentences are used, it comes across as either funny, rude or confusing. In the English language, saying words such as gonna and hafta seem normal to those who have spoke English their entire lives, however to a person who has just learned English, formally, these words would seem confusing. They are taught to say going to and have to and hence, making more room for misunderstanding situations between cultures. A sentence such as we are in the same boat would seem silly to a foreign person who had recently learned the English language. They would wonder how a boat got into the story and why they and the other person were the only two in the boat.

Colloquial language is another part of communication that may confuse people who speak the languages when they hear it. It is again informal and not taught to people who have just learned the language. Even within the same language there is room for miscommunication. In English, there are many different versions and accents to consider in places all around the world. For example, accents sometimes change an English word completely. For example, Canadians say hockey and Americans pronounce it hackey . Two people, who know the same language may have a problem comprehending each other when accents are used and emphasis is places differently on words and sentences. The Canadian versus American accent is the closest conflicting one to us. The American s put a different long or short sound on some vowels and say different common idiomatic phrases then we do. The American s, for example tell Canadians, that we say the word eh quite a lot, or the phrase out and about . Canadians tell Americans that they say huh a lot. Even within one country there is a difference in the sound of language. For instance, Canada s east coast population has a very different distinct sound to it then the west coast, and vice versa. Idioms are one way that the potential for misunderstanding is increased, when different cultures interact and communicate.

Translating languages from one to another can sometimes be very comical, or can also turn out very rude. There are many ways that things may be translated wrong therefore increasing the potential for misunderstandings.

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