Intercultural Communication Second Reflection

Prepared by Tran Cong Hoan
I have always noticed how language signs affect human beings. I have to admit that I
myself am truly affected by words, and how to choose and use words. I would very much
love to read and listen to beautifully stated chains of words. That’s the reason why I have
spent most of my time, whenever I write, to consider which wording I should use when
communicating with others. The lesson in week 7 can comparatively cover some questions in
my mind about the effects of languages in our daily life and intercultural communication.
The easiest content to be remembered in the class is 4 maxims of Grice in
communication: quality, quantity, relation and manner, which I was taught carefully in An
Introduction to Vietnamese Language Studies, the time I learned how to declare any signs of
expression are unacceptable and not meaningful. The new thing here is that “flouting” - or
intentional violation - is to send a hidden message, and “violating” - or unintentional
violation - is created by the specific daily context or cultural backgrounds of the speakers.
This refers to the aim of expressing ideas as clear and simple as possible, especially when
using languages, because it is rather difficult to be fully aware of the results of
misunderstandings. That’s the time when self-correction and knowledge of cultures, actually
mindset and customs, play an important role.
Those key terms in languages can be linked with some of the knowledge in
Stereotypes. I myself don't believe much in the elimination of stereotypes in ourselves, but
there is truly a thing called “transmitted stereotypes” or “unintentional educated stereotypes”.
Take a case in my experience as a very good example: I previously have no idea about
racism, then I traveled abroad more, met some black men and Hindi men, read several
documents about racism and how they are living and treated in their motherland,
unfortunately I developed different feelings about them. I seem to be open to them, as always,
but cannot be as friendly as before. In fact, there are something changing in my mind that
they are different, although I have never lived in their countries as a native dweller, just as a
short-term passenger and stranger. I was not born and raised on that land, but reading things
about that life can build stereotypes in me(!!??)
The language to create those stereotypes is often full of criticism, and I wonder if it is
just a challenging blame game towards those people, or it is just an instint of my not to be
out-grouped, by creating imaginative conflict of resources, in which I suffered from hidden
threats from those people. No matter how far my thoughts come, I cannot find a fair reason
for it, because I am the one who feels bad and regretful, sometimes, about why I become
highly and actively awareness about threats around me in a faraway country. I assume that
they cannot be bad just because the books stated that they look black or inferior in the
society, but then if I unfortunately experienced a crime, I would be so strict and eager to
“group” all those people as prime suspect.
According to the lesson, I personally proclaim what happening in those cultures, or
any cultures, towards minorities and inferiors is examples of Tokenism and Affirmative
action. It can be described by the claim of many things and the act of many things, but the
result is nothing considerable. The language is perfectly and carefully chosen not to offend
those people, or kinds of violating Grice's maxims of communication, but the mindset of
discrimination seems to be a struggle to overcome. How can they declare that the country is
based regardless of discrimination towards some specific groups while the tourist guide, or
recommendation from tourist agency or online blogs often warn us not to use specific
services, provided by specific kinds of people.
That’s what I think about the lesson and my points of view about the previous weeks.
What to suggest about the next lesson is that I feel learning from personal experiences is
rather more interesting. The whole class may travel to some places and have some interesting
stories. It could be more adaptable, along with the case studies or examples in the textbooks.
It is not only a considerably good way to share knowledge and experience, but also a closer
vision to our culture’s aspect, rather than only focus on outsider writers’ views.
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