Question Synthesis

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Gestures vary from culture to culture. However, the role they play in cultural adaptation is dependent on whether or not an individual is aware of the appropriate use of them during enculturation. If an individual enters an unfamiliar culture and is unacquainted with the speech community’s gestural standards it is very easy to misinterpret gestures or insult someone. If newly exposed to a foreign culture’s gestures, the use of them may serve as a hindrance to successful adaptation and communication. In a study comparing English-Canadian to Parisian-French infants from approximately nine to fourteen months one can see how differently each culture’s caretaker utilized gestures in raising their children. For example, English-Canadian infants differed in having more protest gestures while Parisian-French infants showed more emotion and request gestures. This study concludes that different cultures value different gestures more than others, concluding that each culture interprets gestures differently (Blake & Dolgoy 1993). Looking at another study done with European and American He was able to give many examples which all concluded that there is a miscommunication between people of two different cultures when gestures are involved, especially if at least one of them does not understand that not only does the verbal language need to be learned but also the nonverbal. Overall Kirch’s research was able to give the answer of a resounding no one’s own gestures does not help them in culturally adapting, but if they were to learn that culture’s gestures than yes they would be able to adapt much easier. (Kirch 2002)…….This research tells us the non-verbal differences in just two cultures can make it very difficult to have a conversation beca... ... middle of paper ... ...thson, Nicoladis, Marentett, 2011) Realistically, most individuals will not be fully equipped with the knowledge and understanding of gestures when entering into a new culture. With this in mind, it is evident that using non-verbal communication will not benefit the expatriate’s attempts to interact with the natives of that culture initially. In the research study involving twenty individuals asked about their experience living in South Korea, most expressed that due to their inability to properly communicate through both langue and gestures, the Koreans were unable to view the Americans as one of their own. (Kim, 2008) Therefore, we can conclude that though gestures do play a significant role in communication and cultural adaptation, they can only contribute in correct use. In the midst of the crisis stage, the role of gestures will only hinder cultural adaptation.
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