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Practice 2

Communication And Culture

  • As the basic building blocks of communication, words communicate meaning, but culture is the most important factor that influences the meanings of words. Meaning is in the person, not in the word, and each person is the product of a particular culture. Thus, if we are willing to learn to communicate well in a foreign language, we must understand the culture that affects the language. In other words, culture and communication are inseparably linked. You can’t have one without the other because they are interconnected. Culture gives meaning and provides the context for communication, and the ability to communicate allows us to act out our cultural values and to share our language and our culture.
  • But our own native language and culture are so much a part of us that we take them for granted. When we travel to another country, we don’t think much about our language and culture but we carry our own cultural views along with our passports and luggage; we never leave them behind. Using our own culture as the standard to judge other cultures is called ethnocentrism, and although they are unintentional, our ethnocentric ways of thinking and acting often get in the way of our understanding other languages and cultures. In other words, although we don’t plan to be ethnocentric, we think and behave in such a way that it becomes difficult for us to understand other languages and cultures. The willingness to understand a different culture is the cure for cultural blindness. Studying a new language provides the opportunity to develop different views because we also learn the context of the culture that the language belongs to.
  • When linguists study a new language they often compare it to their own, and consequently they gain a better understanding of not only the new language, but of their own language as Students who study a foreign language will also learn more about their own native tongue by comparing and contrasting the two languages. You can follow the same comparative method in learning more about culture – your own, as well as others’. Remember that each culture has developed a set of patterns that are right and appropriate for that culture. If people do things differently in another culture, they are not ‘wrong’ – they are just different and suitable for that particular culture. Always thinking that ‘culturally different’ means ‘culturally wrong’ will only promote intercultural misunderstanding and this is what we should all try to avoid.
  1. Mark the best choice.
  2. To influence (para.l) is to________________ .
  3. be willing
  4. understand
  5. be the product of
  6. affect
  7. Para. 1, when things are ‘inseparably linked’, they_________________ .
  8. provide a context
  9. are interconnected
  10. share the same culture
  11. are able to communicate
  12. Para. 2, to ‘take’ something ‘for granted’ means__________________ .
  13. to carry it with you
  14. not to leave it behind
  15. not to think much about it
  16. to be a part of it

 

  1. Para. 2, ‘unintentional’ means .
  2. not planned
  3. difficult
  4. different
  5. not used
  6. Par. 3, ‘appropriate’ means_______________ .
  7. comparative
  8. native
  9. foreign
  10. suitable
  11. The main idea of the first paragraph is that_________________ .
  12. communication and culture are closely related
  13. people are the products of the cultures they live in
  14. people should share their cultural values
  15. communication makes it possible to share cultures
  16. The main idea of the second paragraph is that________________ .
  17. it is possible to prevent cultural blindness
  18. we carry our cultural values everywhere we go
  19. our own cultural views may prevent us from understanding other cultures
  20. people who study a new language should learn the culture it belongs to
  21. The main idea of paragraph 3 is that________________ .
  22. while studying a new language, you gain better understanding of your native language
  23. every culture has a set of patterns that are different from others
  24. to understand our culture better, we should learn more about our native tongue
  25. to avoid intercultural misunderstanding, we should realize that people from different cultures behave differently
  26. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).

_____ 1, Words are the building blocks of communication.

_____ 2. Cultural blindness is understanding other languages and cultures.

_____ 3. Linguists are people who study languages.

_____ 4. We should try to promote intercultural misunderstanding.

III.    Answer the following questions about the passage.

  1. What is ethnocentrism?
  2. How can learners of a foreign language learn more about their own languages?

 

 

Word/Phrase Part of Speech Pattern + Definition + Collocations Context in which the word/phrase is used
communicate verb [T] communicate sth: to transmit or reveal a feeling or thought by speech, writing, or    gesture    so    that    it    is    clearly understood As the basic building blocks of communication, words communicate meaning, but culture is the most important factor …
inseparable inseparably adjective adverb cannot   be   separated   or   cannot   be considered separately In other words, culture and communication are inseparably linked.
provide verb [T] to produce a useful result, opportunity

etc

We are hoping the enquiry will provide

an explanation for the accident.

Culture gives meaning and provides the context for communication, and the ability …
native adjective l[only before noun] your native country, town, etc. is the place where you were born

2    native New Yorker/population/
inhabitants, etc.

a person or people who come from or have always lived in a particular place

3    native language/tongue

the language you spoke when you first learned to speak

But our own native language and culture are so much a part of us that we take them for granted.
take   sb/sth for granted idiom to be so used to sb/sth that you do not recognize their true value any more and do not show that you are grateful But our own native language and culture are so much a part of us that we take them for granted.
develop verb [T] develop  sth:   to start to have a skill, ability, quality, etc. that becomes better and stronger Studying a new language provides the opportunity to develop different views because we also learn the context of the culture that the language belongs to.

Remember that each culture has developed a set of patterns that are right and …

appropriate adjective correct or suitable for a particular time,

situation, or purpose

At an appropriate moment I’ll offer the

visitors some coffee.

[* for]: Your clothes are hardly

appropriate for a job interview.

Remember that each culture has developed a set of patterns that are right and appropriate for that culture.
promote verb [T] promote sth:  to help sth to happen or develop Always thinking that ‘culturally different’ means ‘culturally wrong’ will only promote intercultural misunderstanding and this is what we should all try to avoid.

 

 

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