How does communication influence culture? How do language and symbols create communication?- Arien Becker

Culture is defined in the textbook as a learned behavior of members of a given social group. All definitions of the word imply that culture is learned, and therefore we learn cultural rights and wrongs when it comes to communication. These unwritten rules apply to verbal and nonverbal communication. You grow up learning these things and by the time you’re an adult, you take no time at all pondering them in your brain. They become nature. An example would be burping. You know better than to let out a huge belch at a formal wedding during the best man’s speech, but you probably don’t think twice about burping during a late night snack in your dorm room with your friends. At some point early in your life you probably burped in a place that you weren’t supposed to, and a parent or older person probably communicated the fact that it wasn’t okay. From there you start forming ideas about where it is acceptable and where it is not. Or maybe no one told you, but you burped in an place where it is frowned upon and people gave you weird looks. Nonverbal communication like that is just as useful, and the same conclusions can be drawn from it.

Language and symbols are the basis of all communication, no matter what culture. If you are trying to communicate to someone using words, you’re going to have a hard time doing so if you don’t speak the same dialect. When I go on vacation to Mexico and we have to ask for directions or help reading menus, we have to adapt and use universal symbols. We know a few words of Spanish, and the people helping us know a few words of English, but both groups rely on nonverbals to relay the message.


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