A Cross Cultural Study Of Daily Communication Between The Vietnamese And Americans

2831 words - 12 pages

Author’s name: Le Thi Tuyet Minh

Vietnamese - American cross-cultural communication:
1. Theories of intercultural communication
2. Vietnamese vs. American perceptions and communication styles
2.1 Vietnamese vs. American perceptions
2.1.1 Individualistic vs. collectivistic cultures
2.1.2 High- vs. low-context cultures
2.1.3 Face-saving
2.2. Vietnamese vs. American communication styles
2.2.1 Ways of greetings
2.2.2 Topics for conversation
2.2.3 Silence and Eye contact
2.2.4 ...view middle of the document...

Theories of intercultural communication
Communication between people of different cultural backgrounds involves much more than overcoming the language barrier. Starting with the point that cross-cultural communication competence affects the performance of communication, I will examine how national culture affects one’s perceptions of cross-cultural communication.
All communication is cultural, and culture bound. The way an individual communicates emanates from his or her culture –the way we speak and the way we give nonverbal messages, etc. The cultures that we have internalized influence our perceptions. In cross-communication, these perceptions interpret the meaning, thus affect understanding. Do they hear and understand what we are trying to say? Do their responses show that they understand the words and the meanings behind the words we have chosen? Is the mood positive and receptive? Are there differences that relate to ineffective communication, divergent goals or interests, or fundamentally different ways of seeing the world? The answers to these questions will give us some clues about the effectiveness of our communication. The challenge is that even with all the good will in the world, miscommunication is likely to happen, especially when there are significant cultural differences between communicators. As Wederspahn (2001) stated:
When a person from one cultural background conceives a thought and encodes it, verbally or non-verbally, then transmits it to a person in another culture, the recipient decodes the message to understand the intended meaning. […] The process is by no means trouble-free even if the two people share a common language and culture.  When the message is sent through a cultural filter, a breakdown of communication is likely because the decoding is influenced by a set of values, attitudes, beliefs, preconceptions, and expectations that are different from those of the sender. Therefore, the message often becomes distorted in the mind of the recipient.
Hidden cultural differences often cause a great deal of misunderstanding and friction. Cross-cultural differences manifest in general areas such as in behaviors, etiquette, norms, values, expressions, and non-verbal communication. Therefore, successful cross-cultural communication requires an awareness of the perceptions, sensations, thoughts and behaviors of people in other countries.

Vietnamese vs. American communication perceptions and communication styles

The most distinctive characteristics of the American culture are: individualism, equality, competition, self-help concept, task orientation, informality, directness, practicality, and materialism, which are often opposed to those of the Vietnamese emphasizing collectivism, hierarchy, cooperation, interdependent, restraint, implicity, and humility.

Individualistic vs. collectivistic cultures
The factors such as the physical environment, the history, religion, etc. have given Vietnam a vertical,...

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