Barriers to intercultural communication essay

There is no perfect language in the world since anyone can learn a new language. The only difference is that it will take the time to learn and understand it. The language barrier can be solved when the syllabus is revised, and the teaching of foreign languages is implemented. Today, many countries teach foreign languages. For instance, French, Germany, Chinese and Spanish are some of the main foreign languages that are taught in schools. In Nigeria, the Chinese language is being taught in colleges, and this is creating room for the welcoming of the Chinese culture in Nigeria.

The existence of cultural differences in the culture of Nigeria and China are key factors that bring about communication barriers when it comes to interactions between the two nations. The manner in which Nigerians and Chinese culturally think, understand the world and all that is in it, definitely affects their style of communication between the people of the two nations.


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According to the cross-cultural theory of communication, some of the barriers that exist in the exchange between people of different nationalities; in this case, Nigeria and China include;. The assumptions made by the Nigerians about their manner of behaving and acting are universally accepted as the sole rule of behavior.

Since, in Nigeria, many tribes have different ways of life it is challenging to have a common pattern of behaving and acting Phipps, On the contrary, China has many cultural languages but with nearly similar cultural values that make it easy for its citizens to communicate and interact easily. Based on the theory the idea of affiliation and identity arises to be the most dominant in Nigeria, with the country having different cultures regarding linguistics and ethnicity, it is evident that the interaction between the Chinese will be limited if the two decided to interact whether on business matters or socially.

As identified from research, the Chinese have 56 ethnic groups as well as languages that are used amongst them. What makes it an easy task to mingle among them is the consistency regarding their unique culture. Therefore, they can identify themselves with the same culture despite the different ethnic groups and languages that exist within their nation. On the other hand, the language differences among the Nigerians leave alone their ways of life; cultures fact their way of communicating.

The tribal lines that have been in existence have been noted to act as barriers to communication and sometimes to agree on some important matters.

Being a multicultural and multiethnic nation comprised of three ethnic groups namely the Yoruba, Hausa and the Igbo; the country is divided into three regions. Therefore, every person identifies himself or herself as coming from a certain part of the country; North, East, and the West.

These people have different affiliations and therefore, their styles of communicating differ.

Barriers to Cross Cultural Communication

According to the theory of cross-cultural communication, the different languages that are identifiable in the West African nation, Nigeria will always prove to be a challenge when the two communities in the country try to communicate with each other. The languages tend to create individualism during the interaction with other people from other ethnic groups.

The uniformity of cultural values, and practices of the Chinese people gives them an added advantage when communicating to each other.

As the Nigerians practice individualism, the Chinese on the other hand concentrate of collectivism. Collectivism allows the different ethnic tribes to adopt a uniform manner of behavior regardless of the differences that exist in their languages. Therefore, the interaction between a person who hails from China and that one that hails from Nigeria is a very difficult task.

It is further argued that when people act and communicate in different ways, it is difficult to appreciate the culture of the other people because they already have formed what we call, stereotypes. These stereotypes as per the information above are prevalent in the West African nation, Nigeria.

Having stereotypes within the ethnic tribes of a country definitely, will not be an advantage to people from other nations. With the existence of different religions mainly the Muslims and the Christians, it is a challenge to have the people behave and act in a more similar manner than it is observable in the Asian country, China.

Despite the people identifying themselves with their communities, it is worth noting that the safety of the individuals is guaranteed when people divide themselves into their ethnic and groups of religion within Nigeria. Therefore, when the Chinese and the Nigerian interact, their way of understanding the world might be misguided because of the already formed stereotypes in the West African nation.

For instance Carrying out business transactions with a Yoruba with a Chinese is different when the same Chinese decides to work with an individual from Igbo. However, if the a Yoruba and an Igbo went to China or conducted or interacted with a Chinese in their country, they will find it difficult to believe the Chinese people have a more similar understanding of the world culturally.

As outlined by the theory, stereotyping has proved one of the major aspects that act as a communication barrier among people of different nations, in this case, Nigeria and China. In the theory of cross-cultural communication, some strategies have been suggested on how to overcome cross-cultural communication barriers. One of the most recommended techniques is to encourage people from a different culture to have knowledge of the other partys culture.

There is a necessity for the Nigerian systems of governance and education to allow room for people to learn about the culture of the Chinese.

Table of Contents

One appreciates and anticipates observing how other people from different cultures behave because it is interesting. Therefore, having prior knowledge to the interaction between the two nationalities will be a sure way of expecting certain acts and behaviors to manifest in either the Nigerians or the Chinese.

Therefore, evaluating what the Chinese citizen and the Nigeria counterpart means by certain actions cannot turn to be offensive or weird. Therefore, equipping the citizens with an education system that provides the history and ways of other cultures serves to eliminate the communication barriers that might arise during the interaction. Apart from learning and appreciating the norms and values of the Chinese and the Nigerian cultures, citizens from both nations need to understand the potential problems that might arise from cross-cultural communication.

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Understanding puts the people from the two nations of anticipating some aspects rather than getting surprises. When the conscious of an individual is fully aware of the possible problems and possible solutions to solving the problems of cultural interaction, it is easy to foster successful communication. In this way, patience, forgiveness and be slow in providing responses during cross-cultural exchanges.

Hostility and aggression arise from a misunderstanding of people from different backgrounds regarding cultures. To avert such kind of situations, people from different cultures need to learn how to listen and seek to understand rather than being judgmental; jumping into conclusions. Requesting for translation services helps a lot when professionalism is needed. Translations of the meanings of some statements and words that might be portraying a different meaning when used in another culture provide the required understanding, and the interactions become a success.

When the interaction of one party from a China becomes a success, the other Chinese people will have a positive attitude when interacting with the Nigerians. Success is primarily guided by attitude as highlighted in the cross-cultural communication theory.

Phipps, A. Intercultural Ethics: questions of methods in language and intercultural communication. Language And Intercultural Communication , 13 1 , Reynolds, J. Culture and Customs of Nigeria. African Studies Review , 44 3 , UCFL , 11 If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:.

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According to the cross-cultural theory of communication, some of the barriers that exist in the exchange between people of different nationalities; in this case, Nigeria and China include; The assumptions made by the Nigerians about their manner of behaving and acting are universally accepted as the sole rule of behavior. Strategies for overcoming cross-cultural communication Barriers In the theory of cross-cultural communication, some strategies have been suggested on how to overcome cross-cultural communication barriers.


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