How does language contribute to inter cultural communications?

Essay by Fiona9999University, Bachelor'sC-, November 2007

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There once was a story named Babel in Bible•The Old Testament. It states like the following: in the early days of the world, all mankind spoke the same language. They wished to build a tower which is high enough to reach heaven when they arrived in the great plains of Babylonia. However, God was angry about that idea and decided to punish these arrogant humans. As a result, God gave them different languages to prevent them from communicating and strewing them into different part of the world. Since then, people could not understand each other any longer (Babel, 1997). Although this is simply a story, it could be indicated that what an important role that language plays in communication. As Sapir- Wharf hypothesis suggests that one's language determines the way of thinking, which means various languages may express unique ideas of understanding the world, and then influence the communication between different cultures (Jandt, 2007).

In addition to this, inter cultural communication seems to becoming more and more important as the whole world has been growing into a global village leading to the increasing need for international cooperation. Curnow (n.d.) summarizes that communication means the use of language and the transfer of information, among which language is a particular, conventionalized, socially-agreed system of signs. All of the evidence mentioned previous show the close relationship between language and cross-culture communication. The aim of this essay is to explore how language influences intercultural communication by dealing with two main elements, namely language evolution and translation to illustrate both positive and negative effects.

According to Gudykunst and Kim (2003), there are five factors for the importance of language in communication. First, it can produce a variety of meaning with different combination. Second, the elements are independent since people can distinguish them for their different...