ntercultural backgrounds and diversity are constantly a growing focus in todays society. Theres a vast difference how people from distinct backgrounds perceive, decode, and understand the collision of cultures. When settling in a new place, one has exposure to distinct customs and cultures and possible language barriers.. Since theres a strong correlation between culture and communication, in circumstances where the speakers do not share the same language, overcoming certain misunderstandings can be challenging.
Communication barriers will always be present even if two people speak the same language.
Cultural barriers, foreign accents and slang can contribute to unclear communication between one another.The use of jargon is one potential communication barrier. Many social, business, or professional groups develop special vocabularies to describe concepts and activities specific to their group (jargon). Examples include baluster in architecture, arabesque in ballet, and all in in poker.1 When jargon serves a useful purpose, it can have a concise message however, it can be seen as a form of snobbery to someone who isnt knowledgeable of that kind of argot.
Using jargon effectively when one communicates can help an audience out by interpreting anything that might be unclear but it can also add confusion which makes the recipient clueless and lose interest.
The indirectness of a message can also contribute to potential miscommunication issues. Stating meaning clearly and effectively varies in different cultures. In a book entitled Intercultural Encounters with Japan theres a description of Sixteen ways to avoid saying no in Japan, which includes everything from ignoring the question to giving a vague yes, when the answer is no.
2 With this in mind, its ok to say no in American culture whereas in Japanese culture its considered rude to say no to a request. One main reason behind Japanese indirect nature is due to their omontenashi lifestyle which is composed of politeness for the sake of avoiding conflict. Thus giving a negative reply to a Japanese person may give off the wrong impression in certain social situations. The diversity of cultures allows one to access all kinds of customs, values, and behaviors.
Accents and dialects can prevent clear communication even if there’s a common language shared. For example, in Mexican Spanish platicar (to converse) is used rather than hablar(to converse) which is used in other Spanish speaking countries. During my trip to Colombia, I noticed the small nuances that set Mexican Spanish and Colombian Spanish apart. Whenever I would use the word platicar some Colombians wouldnt understand what I was trying to say but when I switched to hablar they would follow through. Meanwhile, one of the most distinctive and recognizable Spanish accents is Puerto Ricos. It can be noted by the aspiration of the final /s/ or interconsonantal at the end of syllables transforming /adi?s/ to /adioh/. Regardless of whether a Mexican and a Puerto Rican speak the same language,the slightest pronunciation differences creates more opportunities for miscommunication to occur.
The word choice used in describing anything must be considered before communicating effectively. Using sarcasm, pop culture references or slang can serve for potential miscommunication since certain aspects of language may be judged differently across the cultural spectrum. Words with double meanings, homonyms, homographs, homophones dont send the proper meaning and can be freely interpreted in any way if the recipient isnt equipped with a vast plethora or doesnt have a strong linguistic performance. Therefore, the message will not be sent as intended which acts as a type of language barrier for both parties. Slang is specific to a particular region or country so it cannot be universally understood. Ivory Coast, is one example of how within one country one can find French spoken differently. Despite its lack of official recognition, Nouchi has long been a way for working class Ivorians to express themselves. Lately, its spread across Ivorian pop culture,helping to bridge the gap between classes.3 People in Ivory Coast speak an idiomatic form of French which is also fran?ais de Treichville (mainly in Abidjan).There is also an Abidjan French slang called nouchi which is affiliated with the lower class such as gangs and adolescents being part of the culture. With this in mind, different vernaculars and slang may arise between all kinds of social classes which makes intercultural exchange transformative yet challenging.
Similarly, intertwining slang,dialect and cultural aspects from two distinct multicultural backgrounds can create challenges among both parties. In todays society, miscommunication is the most prevalent among multicultural relationships. Non-Finnish partners related their communication patterns to Finnish conversational styles. They said that communication is often about the cultural codes one needs to know, about being so much integrated into the Finnish society that one can correctly interpret certain communication situations. Other features regarding Finnish conversation styles were indirectness, silence, disclosure (openness) and appropriate closeness (physical distance)4. However in Latin American culture, its natural to make frequent eye contact and physical contact which would be odd to the Fins. Differences between people within any nation or culture unlocks different kinds of perspectives based on education, social class, religion, personality,past experiences, extent of physical contact, and a number of other factors will affect human interaction and behavior. There are cultural and ideological differences and possessing insight about a culture’s customs and ways drastically helps mutual understanding between distinct social groups.
In todays global and multicultural society, more than in the previous years, the interaction between economy and language is an actuality. Practicing the economy of language eliminates clutter and helps people communicate clearly. In the 1990s, a relatively unknown, midsize Italian appliance maker, Merloni, adopted English to further its international image, which gave it an edge when acquiring Russian and British companies.5 Uprising cultural diversity is demanding organizations to learn and motivate individuals with a broader range of value systems. To succeed in managing workforce that is increasingly diverse and multinational, managers need knowledge about cultural differences and similarities among people from distinct backgrounds.Thus having a worldwide sense of insight can attract outer entities as can be seen by the success of Italian appliance maker Merloni. Language becomes an essential communicative agent aiding the individual in a competitive environment.The knowledge of effective language use is not only of academic value, but language in the wider scope also integrates and combines discipline. With the right wording, language can appeal to outer counterparts breaking any kind of misunderstandings that serves as a barrier.
In spite of this there are various approaches for considering the link between the use of language and multicultural miscommunication. In the end, language will never be static, the use of slang, jargon, vernaculars etc.. will integrate into our daily language or decay over time. Miscommunication is bound to happen just as language is bound to change.