People Are Alike & People Are Different
2008-08-13 15:28:19 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment
Every thing has two sides, and two contradictory ideas may also exist on one thing. People are alike and different, and so are cultures and communications.

People's life is commonly linked with food, clothing, residence and traveling, however, it varies on what to eat, how to dress, where and how to live and go. It proves the statement "people are alike and people are different". Further, these are a part of culture, which shows that cultures are alike and different.

Another example may assure you of this point. People around the world may all worship a special being. But it is the Bodhisattva (菩萨) that Chinese people worship, and the God (上帝) that European people worship. They are both religious believes, but of different types.

As Smith noted, "Whenever people interact they communicate". So, communication is inevitable even between people of different cultures. "Each of us communicates by employing the same basic communication components— we all construct represent our internal states and other people receive and respond to those symbols."

However, "In modern society different people communicate in different ways, as do people in different societies around the world; and the way people communicate is the way they live. It is their culture. Who talks with whom? How? And about what? These are questions of communication and culture."

From the above two paragraphs, we can see communications are alike on the theme (basic components) and are different on the way (different symbols).

Accordingly, when culture resembles, communication practices may resemble; when culture differs, communication practices may also differ.

That is to say, "Culture conditions us (people) toward one particular mode of communication."

To show friendliness, in one culture, one may say hello with a smile on the face; in another, one may make a silent bow formally; and in a third, one may even embrace warmly the people. The example proves the fact that people of different cultures communicate differently even when they have the same motive to communicate. That is to say, though all cultures use symbols to exchange ideas, the symbols used varies due to cultural elements.

Providing we have known how we people are alike and different in cultural environments, we may become a successful intercultural communicator, appreciating similarities and accepting differences. (Provided By eChineseLearning.com)
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