Intercultural Communication Barriers

In intercultural communication settings, it is easy to become trapped by invisible walls or barriers to communication. Although these walls are hard to perceive, they are not imaginary. The only way to “escape” is to learn to see them and avoid making communication mistakes that come from them. By the end of this chapter, students should not only be able to know what are the major barriers and how they impede(阻止)effective intercultural communication, but also fully understand the origins of each barrier and then know how to overcome these barriers. Finally students are expected to find out the intercultural communication barriers from their own experience.

7.1 Common Problems and Barriers in Intercultural CommunicationAs we have already known, communication is the exchange of information. Communication does not always result in understanding because it is a symbolic behavior. The meaning of the message, verbal or nonverbal, based on the communication participants’ cultural background, varies accordingly for each person.Intercultural communication occurs when a person from one culture sends a message to a person from another culture. Miscommunication occurs when the receiver does not receive the sender’s intended message. The greater the difference between the sender’s and receiver’s cultures is, the greater the problem for successful intercultural communication. This chapter deals with some common problems and barriers in intercultural communication. Those lists of barriers are anxiety, assuming similarity instead of difference, ethnocentrism, stereotypes and prejudice, and language problems.

7.1.1 Anxiety Anxiety occurs because of not knowing what one is expected to do, and focusing on that feeling and not be totally present in the communication transaction(处理,交易,事务).For example, people may have experienced anxiety on their first day on a new college campus or in a new job. They may be so conscious of being new — and out of place — and focus so much of t...