Cross Cultural Understanding In Language Learning

Cross Cultural Understanding In Language Learning

Kirimin : Ni Ketut Dewi Yulianti,S.S.,M.Hum

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Abstract

This paper is intended for those who want to learn languages. Realizing that language and culture are inseparable, when learners learn a language, then at the same time they should learn the culture of the country where the language is from, besides learning to master the four skills namely speaking skill, listening skill, writing skill and reading skills. Cross cultural understanding simply refers to the basic ability of people to recognize, interpret and correctly react to people, incidences or situations that are open to misunderstanding due to cultural differences. There are some guidelines to use language effectively and sensitively to facilitate communication, namely be aware, choose words carefully, avoid idioms, slang, jargon, acronyms, respect the basic rules of correct grammar and standard syntax, be polite and formal, avoid informality, avoid jokes and humor, listen, and value silence.

Key words: cross cultural understanding, English, language learning

INTRODUCTION

            The intention of  this paper is to explain the importance of cross cultural understanding in learning  languages. In learning any languages, besides learning to master  the four skills namely speaking skill, listening skill, writing skill and reading skills, learners are also expected to master about cross cultural understanding. They need to know properly the culture of the country and the people where the language is from. Cross cultural understanding simply refers to the basic ability of people to recognize, interpret and correctly react to people, incidences or situations that are open to misunderstanding due to cultural differences. That’s why, the fundamental intention of cross cultural training is to equip the learner(s) with the appropriate skills to attain cross cultural understanding. 

            In relation to the importance of cross cultural understanding in language learning,   the role of cross cultural understanding in language learning becomes the main topic of discussion in this paper.

ANALYSIS

The Role of Cross Cultural Understanding in Language Learning

Cross culture understanding plays a significant role in communicating with people from different countries. Language and culture are inseparable. Therefore, when learners are learning a language, at the same time they should learn the culture of the country and the people of where the language is from, in order to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. Cross cultural understanding simply refers to the basic ability of people to recognize, interpret and correctly react to people, incidences or situations that are open to misunderstanding due to cultural differences.

Reynold (2004: 57) if we are to communicate successfully across cultures, we must recognize the power of language. Think of how language can be charged with feeling, how it can galvanize and cause upheaval.

The guidelines to use language effectively and sensitively to facilitate communication (see: Reynold,2004:63)

  • Be aware

Non native speaker are often unfamiliar with idiom and confuse by the shades of meaning of words. Pretending to understand when you don’t is often dictated by culture’s desires to be courteous, to seek harmony and conversation-free relationship, and to avoid embarrassment. After all, needing to ask a question means that they didn’t understand.   

  • Choose words carefully

Words are powerful: they can hurt or support. To communicate cross-culturally, avoid words that disrespect or belittle others. Remember that jokes can also wound, especially the kind that make fun of a people or their beliefs. Finally, remember that many cultures that communicate indirectly may find directness rude or threatening.

  • Avoid idioms, slang, jargon, acronyms.

These expressions are seldom taught at school or in formal language courses.  

  • Respect the basic rules of correct grammar and standard syntax.

Most people who learn second languages know their grammar.

  • Be polite and formal

Indonesian people are not as casual as other people from different countries. Be polite. Avoid informality.

  • Avoid jokes and humor

Be ware of sharing the latest joke. Humor, often based on word play, puns, or shared cultural references, is one of the most difficult things to translate. Also, remember that laughter in many cultures signifies embarrassment or nervousness. 

  • Listen

Listening is a very powerful communication tool : it involves putting aside your own self- interest so that you can step behind another’s eyes and see things from that perspective. This is a great compliment to the person with whom you’re communicating as well as tangible proof of your commitment to understanding.

  • Value Silence

Try to become more comfortable with silence. For example, many Asian cultures appreciate periods of silence and do not like to be hurried.

 CONCLUSION

            Cross cultural understanding plays a significant role in communicating with people from different countries. Language and culture are inseparable. Therefore, when learners learn a language, at the same time they should learn the culture of the country where the language is from, in order to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding.

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