Culture and Communication
Communication is the process of passing information from one person to the other. It is also a method that is used to convey information from one place to the other. It occurs in different methods and forms based on culture. Different cultures employ different method of communication. Sign language was used by some cultures as a way of passing information. There are also cultures that use different words to convey information.
It is essential to note that what is accepted in one culture may not be acceptable in another culture. For instance, in American culture, individuals are expected to use humble or polite words such as excuse me before doing or asking for anything. Wolof culture on the other hand considers such words to be offensive and rude.
Different cultures therefore communicate in different ways and it affects intercultural communication. Many cultures across the globe employ non-verbal communication and it is a communication method that that involves use of body movements and gestures such as hand signs. It is also imperative to understand that body languages and gestures mean different things in different cultures.
Raising a hand with the apex finger to form a zero or the thumb while the other three fingers remain standing has different denotations. In the US and the UK, this kind of gesture means okay while in Russia it means zero and the same gesture in Brazil means an insult. This paper focuses on intercultural communication of Indian culture. It has been crafted after watching the clip slum dog millionaire movie.
Different cultural practices that are also interesting were used in the film to communicate in different ways. The observations are listed below alongside their effects on communication.
Aspects of shared observations and insights
One of the most crucial observations made from the movie is cultural identity. Each and every culture just like the Indian culture has an identity (Hall, 101). Cultural identify is the sequence in which social expectations relate to us and to other people. These expectations originate from different forms of relationships between differences and similarities of people in a given community.
Additionally, they relate to personal, communal and relational ways of life in the community. Cultural identity also enables people from different cultural backgrounds to value themselves. They have different rules and regulations that they live by. They also consider their actions as the most ideal way to live.
Indians for example believe in protection and love for and from family or people close to them. In the clip, this is clear when the boy says, ‘‘she is my destiny’’ (Hall, 101). According to the boy, he cannot live without the girl. Cultural identity is also evident in the way people from a specific culture talk, reason or dress. It is also clear from the clip that Indians maintain their traditional attire despite their location.
Female characters as usual in the clip put on colorful traditional Indian saree while men put on traditional embroidered Indian robes. They also appear to care for one another just like any other Indian family. In everything they do, they do to make a loved one feel happy. The boy in the film for instance goes to play in the casino because he thought the girl is or would be watching. He believes his destiny is the girl.
Additionally, Indians believe that for people to be successful, they have to work hard. Gambling at the casino for example is a culture that is embraced from the Americans. They believe that an individual wins after being lucky or after cheating, if some a person is unique in the game or it is a fact of sheer destiny. They also believe in hard work to make cash so that the man can provide for the family.
The boy in this case goes to the casino to gamble and make money (Hall, 103). Indians are also known to have a very jovial spirit. Their culture is also characterized with song, dance and laughter just like in the film. There are people dancing, singing and children running around in a happy mood. Additionally, identity has a lot to do with community, an individual and highly relational.
Personal identity is based on how an individual looks at himself or herself. People often identify themselves as being different way in one way or another. The man in the film asks the boy what a shantytown god can do. He thinks that a person born in the slums does not have ability to be a millionaire like he does. The boy also feels unique and he can do it. He believes that he has ability to win the game as well as charming the girl.
Relational identity is on the other hand is based on how an individual, views the people he or she relates with (Hall, 103). In the film for instance, the man considers the boy a slum dog but the boy considers him as having with the right potential to be with a girl who is sophisticated.
Community identity refers to the way in which an individual relates to the people around. Hence, how the person does identify or associates with himself in the connection to the people around him.
Another significant observation from the clip was cultural conflict. The conflict occurs when the aspects of one culture varies from the aspects of the other culture. Such aspects include cultural practices. People gamble in the clip in order to make lots of money. They also do it to astound other people.
The typical Indian culture doesn’t revolve on gambling. They are known to be great business persons. Gambling is a practice in the community; in fact, it is more related to Americans than Indians. There is a notion that many slum people may not be successful gamblers and cannot make cash out of. This is not true because the boy in the clip can make one million rupees from gambling.
In other cases, people may emulate a different culture. In the film, cultural imitation is notable when Indians gamble at a casino. This is a culture that is quite common in the west and in America. The lady in the film also puts on a unique short and lets off her uncovered and loosened hair (Module3, 3). People in western countries are also known to be quite vindictive; this is a culture in the clip that was imitated especially at the point when the man questions the boy on what a slum dog can do.
People in the film are also seen to be playing around with money displaying their financial worth publicly. This is a culture not common to Indians. In Indian culture, the man doesn’t have to go to extreme levels such as gambling to attract a woman as it was seen in the clip. Use of non-verbal communication in the film was also evident. As per research, non-verbal form of communication involves the use of body language.
Body language as per research is highly powerful and it sends a very strong message to non-intended and intended audiences. Body language accounts to about 55 percent of all the interpretation and meaning of a message (Module 3, 3). Non-verbal communication involves different ways of talking for instance if a person can communicate while emphasizing on some words. Stressing or pausing on some words while talking is meant to display how significant or urgent a message is.
Another method of using nonverbal communication is through facial expressions. Such expressions include a wink, frown, squinting and raising an eyebrow. These expressions are used as a way of passing significant information. Another form of non-verbal communication that is evident in the clip eye contact.
Direct eye contact, often signifies the seriousness of doing something. When the man makes inquiries from the boy if he is willing to gamble, he maintains direct eye contact before he says that he is ready. Other gestures that can be included in this category include nodding of the head as a sign of acceptance. This can be used as opposed to saying no.
Body contact including shaking of hands is also another way of non-verbal communication. Even so, many people often shake hands and converse at the same time. People can also communicate by murmuring, giggling or laughing among other sounds. Sometimes these methods can make other people uncomfortable especially if a person believes that the others are talking about him or her.
Other forms of communication also involve the use of gestures such as waving hands to mean greetings (Module 3, 4). This is observed in the film when people wave happily to others. Body postures such as bending, standing and body movements such as standing, closeness to another person or appearance of someone are also other non-verbal forms of communication.
In the clip for instance, kids from the slums appear to be so untidy compared to city children. Adults and children from the slums are seen wearing untidy clothing while those from the city wore clean clothes. The use of object language is also evident in the clip. This refers to non-deliberate and deliberate use of material things as well as visual objects to relay information.
Visual objects including paintings, artworks and other forms of art are three dimensional. There are also two dimensional objects including writings, posters, burners and maps. Many visual effects in the movie were mainly two dimensional and it involves the use of paintings to ensure the message is clearer. Additionally, art was used in form of paintings and sculptures to enhance different scenes on the clip.
It is imperative to note from the discussion above that different communities employ different beliefs. Different cultures also use different forms of communication including verbal and non-verbal. Cultural identity is however a very significant part of the people in a given culture. Nonverbal communication is also very crucial in any setting and it should be clearly understood to ensure that gestures are not misinterpreted in meaning and content based on when and how they are used.
Module3. The power of language: cross cultural etiquette. P3 -4
Hall, B. Among Cultures: The Challenge of Communication., New York, NY: Wordsworth. 2005, p 101 – 103