The key to the future in which every member of the society will have its purpose is to choose the right path of social progress. The continuity of the experience of past generations, the exchange of knowledge in various fields of science with other cultures — is the way to prosperity of any nation. And on this way there is an important link — intercultural communication.
There is no individual that can normally exist in isolation from other people, as there is no culture that can fully function in isolation from the cultural achievements of other peoples. In the course of their existence, cultures have to constantly refer either to their own past or to the experience of other cultures. Today, it is a frequent situation when any nation is open to the perception of other people's cultural experience and at the same time is ready to share with other peoples the products of its own culture. This appeal to the cultures of other nations is called "intercultural communication".
The concept of «intercultural communication» was introduced into scientific circulation by G. Trager and E. Hall in 1954, who defined it as an ideal aim to which a person should strive in his desire to adapt to the world around him as best as possible. Since then, researchers have made great progress in the theoretical study of this phenomenon, in particular, identified its most characteristic features. Thus, it is noted that intercultural communication will be carried out if the sender and the recipient of the message belong to different cultures, if the participants of communication are aware of cultural differences between each other. In fact, intercultural communication is always interpersonal communication in a special context, when one participant discovers the cultural difference of the other. Such communication causes many problems related to the difference in expectations and prejudices that are peculiar to each person and, of course, varies in different cultures. Features of intercultural differences can be interpreted as differences between verbal and nonverbal codes in the specific context of communication. At the same time, each participant of cultural interaction has its own system of rules that work so that sent and received messages can be encoded and decoded. The process of interpretation is also influenced by age, gender, profession, social status of communicants, their tolerance, entrepreneurship and personal experience.
Approaching the basic topic, it is necessary to highlight a number of problems of intercultural communication. Each problem is specific and requires detailed consideration, as important processes may depend on its solution. Intercultural communication is a fundamental method of interaction between peoples, and therefore we should strive to avoid possible intercultural conflicts and resolve existing ones. So, presenting the report the following problems will be considered:
- Stereotypical thinking. People entering into communication have certain stereotypes in relation to representatives of other cultures, manifested in the perception of those allegedly as rude, retarded, uncultured, etc.
- Ignorance and disregard of etiquette. In every society, there are certain rules of both speech and non-speech etiquette, ignorance or non-observance of which can lead to conflicts and resentment.
- Specific traditions of cultures. Not only the laws of language development, but also religion, caste and social relations determine etiquette of speech behavior.
- Different meanings of nonverbal means of communication in different cultures.
- The problem of social differentiation of language at all levels of its structure, and in particular, the nature of interrelations between language and social structures which are multidimensional and have the mediated character. The structure of social differentiation of language is multidimensional and includes the stratification differentiation caused by heterogeneity of social structure and the situational differentiation caused by variety of social situations.
- The problem “language and the nation”, studying which is closely connected with this problem the sociolinguistics operates with category of the national language treated in the Soviet linguistics as the sociohistorical category arising in the conditions of the economic and political concentration characterizing formation of the nations.
- The problem of social aspects of bilingualism and diglossia (interaction of different socially opposed subsystems of one language).
From now on, having clearly defined problems, we are able to understand the causes of occurrence. However, in the course of the theoretical study of problems, it is important to study practical benefits — identifying ways to solve problems, we will be able to apply them in everyday practice. Thus, we will be open to receiving new experience, improving life of our own people, development of all scientific spheres and cultures.
So, let's consider the first problem of intercultural communication — stereotypical thinking. The problem of studying stereotypes is extremely important. Stereotypes are directly related to the process of learning a new language and culture in order to communicate with members of another ethnic group. First of all, it is necessary to understand that the stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people. The formation of stereotypes is connected with the history of interethnic and intercultural interaction of different peoples.
German precision, English politeness, French gallantry, Italian temperament [vehemence], Finnish slowness are all stereotypes of nations, applicable to all its members. It is often not possible to identify the individual characteristics of people, as it is assumed that all members of the group have the same features. Stereotyping offers an overly static view of the society and the individual, transmitting erroneous and outdated perceptions and thus giving distorted views of another culture. Seemingly innocuous stereotypes and prejudices may be the reason of a potential conflict.
In the case of communication with representatives of other cultures one should take into account the presence of certain clichés and, if necessary, correct erroneous or outdated ideas. Awareness of one’s stereotypical thinking, understanding that stereotypes can distort reality by giving an individual personality traits attributed to a whole group of people (for example, a nation), helps to respond adequately in a situation of intercultural communication and gives an opportunity to look at it through the eyes of a partner. The degree of stereotyping depends on the amount of knowledge about another culture. In recent decades, with the growth of globalization, thanks to tourism, school and student exchanges, economic, political and cultural ties there has been an increase in intercultural contacts between people. Therefore, it is possible to obtain more objective, differentiated information about other cultures, irreducible only to stereotypes.
Increasing the knowledge of other cultures is also a way to avoid conflict in intercultural communication through non-observance or disrespect of foreign communication etiquette. After all, communication between representatives of different cultures is always an etiquette situation that requires knowledge of cultural specifics and compliance with strict rules so as not to accidentally offend partner.
Overcoming the language barrier is only a small step towards successful intercultural communication. Having overcome this barrier, a person faces strong cultural differences at the level of elementary things. In Turkey, for example, a nod of head up and down means disagreement. The white color, which Russian culture associate with the wedding celebration, is considered mourning in some countries. Meeting with such contradictions, one can easily experience a culture shock. The usual settings do not work, people come across some misunderstanding, and it is confusing. Unpredictability is alarming, which can manifest itself in resentment or even aggression.
Each culture has its own characteristics, which may seem strange or unacceptable to other cultural groups. For example, the following characteristics can be considered: contextuality and individualism. A number of States, such as Japan, Turkey, China, Korea and Saudi Arabia are highly contextual, as long as England, Germany, the United States, Canada – on the contrary, have a low context. What are these characteristics? In societies with low context, it is customary to speak directly, as in countries with a high context it is necessary to “beat around the bush”, to hint. In the high context cultures the situation, gestures, intonation, the possibility of retreat and justification are more important.
Individualism, opposed to collectivism, shows the degree of isolation, pursuit of own interests, the desire for personal growth, success and enrichment. In an individualistic society, people tend to become independent as soon as possible and make their own decisions. Collectivists are strongly attached to their large family, depend on the opinion of the group and value their ties with it. It is interesting that the Russian society, which is based on the nature of collectivism (difficult climatic conditions, raids of enemy tribes), at this stage is approximately in the middle between these two poles.
This is not the end of cultural diversity. In a society where government is separated by a large distance from the people (Mexico, Russia, Japan), to show the status, the norm is considered to have the most expensive car and branded clothing. Senior teach Junior, and the chiefs are not contradicted to. Where this distance is small, even rich people prefer to save and boast of profitable acquisitions. Children put on a par with adults, always taking into account their opinion. Some cultures avoid uncertainty in every possible way, while others are open to everything new, ready to take risks and are aimed at getting a good result.
However, even the most serious problems of intercultural communication can be avoided by following basic rules of etiquette. Cooperating with representatives of other cultures, it is necessary to try to find out their "orders", avoiding stereotypical misconceptions. If the information is contradictory, it will be necessary to determine the true current situation by open communication with a representative of culture. One cannot just rely on cultural traditions. If the interlocutor was born and grew up in another country, it could well affect his worldview. In addition, some people do not recognize everything that is prescribed by their society. Show maximum attention to the emotions of the interlocutor. Use "active listening" - repeat the sentence in your own words to clarify its meaning. Active listening always benefits in communication, and in the case of intercultural dialogue it is an indispensable tool. Evaluate words and actions from the point of view of culture to which your interlocutor belongs. After all, knowing a foreign language, the history of the state and the political situation in the country always makes it easier to understand and reduces the possibility of conflicts.
Therefore, all the problems already discussed relate directly to the cultural aspects of international communication. Besides it, at the beginning of this work we identified a number of other problems that are connected with another science – sociolinguistics.
Sociolinguistics is the scientific discipline that develops at the intersection of linguistics, sociology, social psychology and ethnography and study a wide range of issues related to the social nature of language, its social functions, the mechanism of influence of social factors on language and the role language plays in society. Some of these problems (for example, “language and society”) are considered in the framework of General linguistics. The interdisciplinary status of sociolinguistics finds expression in the conceptual apparatus. Therefore, speech team, which is considered as the basic concepts of sociolinguistic analysis, is determined on the basis of both social and linguistic characteristics (availability of social interaction and unity of language signs).
Principal operating units sociolinguistic study sociolinguistic variables are characterized by relatedness, on the one hand, with a certain level of language structure (phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical-semantic), the other — with varying social structures or social situations.
That the language is far from uniform in social terms, it is known for a long time. One of the first recorded observations testifying to this, dates back to the early 17th century Gonzalo de Correas, lecturer at Salamanca University in Spain, clearly delineates social varieties of language: “It Should be noted that the language has dialects, prevailing in the provinces, some varieties associated with age, position and property of the inhabitants of these provinces: there is a language of rural inhabitants, commoners, townspeople, noble lords and courtiers, scientist-historian, elder, preacher, women, men and even small children”.
The term “sociolinguistics” was first used in 1952 an American sociologist Herman Curry. However, this does not mean that the science of social conditionality of a language originated in the early 1950-ies. The roots of sociolinguistics deeper, and they should seek not in the American scientific grounds, and in the European and in particular Russian.
Linguistic research, taking into account the conditionality of linguistic phenomena with social phenomena, with greater or lesser intensity were conducted in the beginning of this century in France, Russia, the Czech Republic. Other than in the United States, the scientific tradition has led to the situation in which to examine the relationship of language with social institutions, with the evolution of society is never fundamentally not separated in these countries from the "pure" linguistics.
“As language is possible only in human society, – I.A. Baudouin de Courtene, – that, except the mental party wrote, we have to note in it always the party social. Not only the individual psychology, but also sociology has to form the basis of linguistics”.
The ideas, major for modern sociolinguistics, belong to such outstanding scientists of the first half of 20 century, as well as. A. Baudouin de Courtene, E.D. Polivanov, L.P. Yakubinsky, V.M. Zhirmunsky, B.A. Larin, A.M. Selishchev, V.V. Vinogradov, G.O. Vinokur in Russia, F. Bruno, A. Meye, P. Lafarg, M. Coen in France, Sh. Balli and A. Seshe in Switzerland, Zh. Vandriyes in Belgium, B. Gavranek, A. Matezius in Czechoslovakia, etc. It is, for example, the idea that all funds of language are distributed on spheres of communication, and division of communication into spheres has considerably social conditionality (Sh. Balli); the idea of social differentiation of uniform national language depending on the social status of its carriers (work of the Russian and Czech linguists); situation according to which rates of language evolution depend on rates of development of society and in general language always lags behind in the changes which are made in it changes social (E.D. Polivanov); distribution of the ideas and methods used when studying rural dialects on a research of language of the city (B.A. Larin); justification of need of social dialectology along with dialectology territorial (E.D. Polivanov); importance of studying of a slang, slang and other not codified spheres of language for understanding of the internal device of a system of national language (B.A. Larin, V.M. Zhirmunsky, D.S. Likhachev), etc.
One of key concepts of sociolinguistics is the concept of the language situation defined as set of forms of existence of language (the languages, regional koines, territorial and social dialects) serving a communication continuum in a certain ethnic community or administrative-territorial association. Two groups of language situations are allocated: eхoglossic — sets of various languages, and endoglossic — sets of subsystems of one language. By eхoglossic and endoglossic situation are divided into balanced, if their components are functionally equal, and unbalanced if their components are distributed in various areas of communication and social groups.
Special attention is paid in modern sociolinguistics to the question of communication and interaction of language and culture. The links between language and other cultural components are two-way. The processes of contact between different cultures are reflected in lexical borrowings.
In bilingualism, two languages coexist with each other within the same collective, using these languages in different communicative spheres, depending on the social situation and other parameters of the communicative act. In the conditions of diglossia there are similar relations between different forms of existence of one language (literary language, koine, dialects). Sociolinguistics also studies the use of language for communicative purposes, and in particular speech behavior as a process of choosing the best option for building a socially correct statement. At the same time the mechanism of selection of socially significant options is revealed, the criteria underlying the choice are established. The ultimate goal of the analysis is to identify social norms that determine speech behavior.
A special place among the problems of sociolinguistics is the problem of language policy- a set of measures taken by the state, party, class, social group to change or preserve the existing functional distribution of languages or language subsystems, to introduce new or preserve old language norms.
Undoubtedly, despite the proposed ways of avoiding problems of intercultural communication, conflicts can arise in any case. That is why one of the directions of intercultural communication as a science is the study of strategies for resolving communication conflicts. Such strategies include, for example, the conscious choice of one of the following styles of behavior by the interlocutor: competition, cooperation, avoiding conflict, compliance, the desire to compromise, the desire to overcome national prejudices, the formation of interpersonal attraction, etc.
Therefore, at present, most cultures are at the stage of active development. New generations are gradually becoming tolerant of any manifestations of other cultures, borrowing their good aspects. This demonstrates the success of intercultural communication around the world. People have become inclined to solve conflicts in a peaceful way without causing harm to anyone, and found in all situations positive aspects. It seems to be the right way of development. Cultures strive to uniting and overcoming the challenges of intercultural communication in the pursuit of a common goal — the achievement of an integrated international prosperity.