UAB Week 9 How Language Affects how You Think of Others Discussion

I’m working on a english question and need support to help me learn.

How does language affect how you think of others, and why?

Things to ponder…

As similar to how we learn cultural norms and language, nonverbal communication is a unique thing we learn as a child and we start building up upon what we already learned. Each culture, they have their own cultural nonverbal deviant and non-deviant clues and each culture expect us to follow the normal norms of nonverbal clues. Similar to language, these nonverbal clues are pass down from generation to generation. Yes, chances are high that these clues could change the meaning over time. For example, in Sri Lankan culture, it is completely fine for us to use the middle finger to point at things. At schools, teachers always point at the text books and other classroom objects with their middle fingers. When we go to a restaurant, we point at certain menu items with our middle finger and this is all normal to us.

Language plays a huge role of how we think of others. If someone wears their pants down off their bottom, we perceive of them differently than we do someone who wears a business suit, track clothes, or even cargo shorts and a polo. If someone avoids eye contact in Western cultures, they are thought to be shy or disingenuous; whereas if they exhibit that behavior in many of the cultures of the East, they are seen as being respectful and differential. Psychologists have demonstrated that even the manner in which we cross our arms has meaning, stating that crossing them right over left is a sign of defensiveness or unapproachability but crossing them left over right is a sign of openness and attractiveness. Some nonverbal communication is outside our ability to control. Skin color, for example, conveys messages within different cultures. In my own culture, the preference is for light-skinned girls, and no matter how shapely, pleasant featured, or intelligent a dark-skinned girl might be, she will be at a disadvantage because of the color of her skin. My nieces are a perfect example. Both of them are off-the-charts intelligent. They are both pretty, athletic, and outgoing. The younger of the two, however, has a much more pleasant personality and a fantastic sense of humor—the elder one doesn’t have much personality at all (I love her to pieces all the same). In American culture they thrive equally; however, in Sri Lanka, anything nice said about the youngest is caveated with some remark about her coloring: “It’s a shame such a bright girl is so dark.” or “She’ll have such a hard time finding a good boy because of her color.” And such things will be said to her face, which has to be hurtful, especially with her having grown up here in the States. These sorts of color-related communications happen in most cultures, whether it be a preference for color within an ethnic/race group or between different groups.

One form of nonverbal communication not mentioned in your text is smell. Yes, it’s a thing. People smell different based on diet, bathing and grooming standards, notions of perfumery, methods of clothes storage and/or laundering, and so forth. As such, their scent conveys certain messages to those within their own group and to those outside that group. If you have ever ridden in public transportation in a city with a diverse ethnic population, you will have experienced this.

How about time? Yes, this could be a part of nonverbal communication as well. Our text book talks about Monochronic (M-TIME) and Polychronic (P-TIME).

“A monochronic view of time believes time is a scarce resource which must be rationed and controlled through the use of schedules and appointments, and through aiming to do only one thing at any one time.

The pace for P-time cultures (Arab, African, Indian, Latin American, South Asian, and Southeast Asian) is more leisurely than the one found in M-time cultures.

When studying nonverbal communication, it should be remembered that nonverbal behaviors can be ambiguous, contain multiple meanings, and include cultural universals.

Nonverbal communication is important to the study of intercultural communication because people use nonverbal communication to express internal states, create identity, regulate interaction, repeat messages, and substitute actions for words. You can improve your nonverbal communication skill by monitoring your nonverbal actions, being sensitive to the context, employing feedback, being aware of nonverbal ambiguity, and knowing your culture.

Now let us look at this week’s question: How Does Language Affect How You Think of Others, and Why?

What are your thoughts?

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