The Silent Language Edward Hall Analysis

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It is argued in the essay written by Leeds-Hurwitz that the work of Edward Hall was vital to the development of the field of intercultural communication. Hall’s well known literary work, The Silent Language, is often referenced as the first work in the field and is noted as a critical beginning point. The argument that Hall’s work was crucial to the development of the field of Intercultural Communication is useful because it helps us understand the foundational principles the field was built upon. A firm understanding of the initial concepts created then sets the tone and context for how the field developed and current practices in the field. The aim of this analytical review is to outline specific contributions Hall made and highlight their…show more content…
Trager worked collaboratively to develop what can be considered the original precept of intercultural communication- descriptive linguistics, which can be defined as the study of grammar, classification, and arrangement of the features of a language at a given time, without reference to the history of the language or comparison with other languages. The two men drew largely on the Whorf- Sapir theory of linguistic relativity and the Freudian psychoanalytic theory as the basis of that theory (Rogers, Hart, & Miike, 2002). In his text, The Silent Language, Hall asserted, “Our observations revealed that there were actually three kinds of time: formal, time which everyone knows about and takes for granted and which is well worked into daily life; informal time, which has to do with situational or imprecise references like ‘awhile,’ ‘later,’ ‘in a minute,’ and so on; and technical time, an entirely different system used by scientists and technicians. Having observed how these time systems are used and learned, and knowing something of their history, we were able to demonstrate that in other areas of life we are also bound by the formal, informal, and technical paradigm [of culture].” He also stated, “All cultural patterns seem to be bound by three laws: those of order, selection, and congruence (Hall, 1959). In making these observations, Hall was able to give others a frame of reference moving forward for understanding the impact time, order,…show more content…
The lasting impact of his work can still be seen today. To date, Hall ranks as the second most cited Intercultural Communication author, and three of his books are among the most cited books in the field (Rogers, Hart, & Miike, 2002). It is undisputed that Edward Hall, in collaboration with George Trager, established the original paradigm for intercultural communication and that the early beginnings of Hall’s work at the FSI in the 1950s continue to serve as an influence in the field today. Without the explorations and distinctions Hall made during his time of research/teaching, communication between cultures would be defined and likely studied in a vastly different
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