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Culture Differences In Nonverbal Communication Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1234 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Communication contains verbal and nonverbal behaviors, and these two types are clearly influenced by culture. In this paper I will discuss the role of culture in verbal language, focusing on nonverbal behaviors and body language,. I also discuss the control of culture on nonverbal actions in the communication progressions, includes our facial expressions, , eye contact, gestures, posture, and even the tone of our voice.

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Nonverbal Communication is the communication and express feeling with no words the capability to value and use nonverbal communication as powerful tool that help people communicate with others, express what their emotion, experiences, and make better relationships at house and work. Many people think that all they really need to pay attention to in a discussion is the spoken word and nonverbal communications as well (Jeanne Segal et al, 2010)

Every culture has its own language, with its own vocabulary, language rules, and grammar without any doubt Culture influences all characteristic of our life. It entail subjective such as approach, ,outlook, judgment, values, principles, behaviors – and objective – clothe, food, device; frequently look like as if cultural miscommunication produces up in the majority of unpredicted situate (Matsumoto, 1997).

Arabic language shapes combining characteristics of the Arab World. Nevertheless different areas use local language and accent of Arabic, all share the speak of the normal standard Arabic language Arabs, use gestures and body language to communicate with others just like all people do. Some of the nonverbal communication is nearly the same as Western or Eastern but some are completely diverse.

Facial expressions:

According to (Matsumoto, 2006 ) there are six universal emotions : anger, revulsion, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise that would be showing from any person who has different culture and background. Canadian smile at strangers public places which is good habit in my opinion, although our religion motivate smiling to others whether they are known to us or not but most Arab feel not comfortable to see people smile to them or they might think that they know them and couldn’t recognize their name. Smile might show warmth, express respect, or costume true feelings. I faced some differences in the facial expression here in Canada even with Arabs who are from different regions and areas but I realized that we could make mistakes when we judge people according to our own culture in the way of expression their feeling and emotions by their facial expression and if some individuals of culture do not have strong facial expression or they do not show it does not mean that they experience emotions.

Eye contact

Eye contact is something means the trust and honesty while In Arabic culture lack of eye contact does not mean that a person is not paying attention. Women usually avoid eye contact with Men.


Gestures are particular body or hand movement that bring meaning to others use of a finger to signify “come here please” This gesture considered to be rude and offensive in some cultures. The gesture of perfect in western culture means in our culture threats and bullying

Usually Arab use for calling someone right hand out, palm down, with fingers brought to oneself over and over again in a clawing movement,

In nonverbal communication some gestures considered rude and might be normal and polite manners in other culture for example snapping fingers to call a waiter is appropriate, whereas Arab culture consider this gesture rude and impolite.

  touch is another example of nonverbal communication which is normal between the same sex and forbidden between the opposite sex in Arab culture unless if the members are male relative for example father ,grandfather, brothers, son, nephew and sister’s son uncles or by marriage husband’s father grandfather, and husband’s son.

Every culture is different in their nonverbal expression of emotion. Feelings of friendship exist universally in the world, however their expression differ. It is okay in some nations for men to hug and for women to hold hands; in other countries, these shows of warmth and liking are disheartened or forbidden.

Many of Canadians and Americans business manager like comforting with their feet up on their desks. But to show someone from Saudi Arabia the one’s foot is extremely offensive and rude, because the foot is considered the dirtiest part of the body.


Even though it could be tricky to know exactly how we should greet every person in other culture, but it is important to know a common greeting before we visit a new country. Also something need to be known very well that our manners of greeting might be not work in another culture. For example, while it is normal for women to kiss and hug men while this is unacceptable greeting manners religious and traditionally in Muslims and Arab world. It is kind of polite act to fully respect parents and any elders by help them talk to them respectfully and walk beside or behind them never walk in front of them that is rude act also people usually kiss them in the head to show the respect and kindness. Arab and Muslims usually greet each other by these words “Salam alaykum” which means “Peace is upon you with Allah’s Mercy and Blessings”.

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Physical Space:

Various cultures need to speak to each other at diverse space.  People need more or less physical space between themselves and someone else as this can affect the whole communication. When I first start meeting people from different cultures I tried to adjusted the distance take steps back and forth to be comfortable with the speaker. I usually take more space when I talk to male more than female according to my religion and belief. According to (Matsumoto, 2006) Arab men, be likely to sit nearer to each other than American males, with more direct, confrontational kinds of body direction. They also had superior eye contact and tended to talk in louder voices. Additionally, People from Arab cultures usually learn to interrelate with others at space close enough.

Avoiding Cultural Miscommunication:

Knowing the nonverbal communication in the new country that we have planned to visit is something very important to avoid the miscommunication across-culture. Also, knowing where cultural misinterpretation frequently occurs to help to adjust the communication when you observe a something out of place crop up. Practice using this knowledge to develop cross-cultural communication skill helps us to make relationships with people from other cultures.

The way of acknowledge the other person is significant also, direct eye contact, a handshake, and a little words are needed in many culture in communicating with others. Communicating with clarity and empathy are helping the communication to be effective as it build trust relationships. Help the other person to see everything in the discussion. Clarity builds trust. Also we should know that not just the culture that influence the communication with others but the individuals personality and the relationships between people who are communicating.


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