Body Language in Cultures

1948 Words Dec 6th, 2011 8 Pages
Sean E.
English 102

Body language is not language in the strict sense of the word language; it is in fact, a broad term for forms of communication using body movements, gestures, facial expressions and eye behaviors in addition to sounds, verbal language, or other forms of communication. Although we may not realize it when we talk with others, we make ourselves understood not only by words but also by our body language. Body language sometimes helps make communication easy and effective. In order to improve the quality of our communication, we should pay more attention to nonverbal communication. Culture has great influence on communication, body language is a cultural signifier that each culture has developed differently to help them
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“Touching people on the shoulders and especially on the head is considered disrespectful. Handing books or other materials can be done using two hands because generally using both hands is considered more polite and respectful than using only one.” (137) Research by Gudykunst and Kim writers of “Communicating with Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication” indicate that Americans tend to use eye contact in one-on-one conversations, indicating interest and respect. However, the Asian cultures commonly consider staring to be rude or even intimidating. Instead of making eye contact while greeting someone, some common Asian gestures for greeting are handshaking and bowing. Asian women rarely look directly at men's eyes, especially those of strangers (250). Different cultures have different concepts of personal space, including the sensations of privacy and appropriate distances, which can be a major issue in certain instances. The size of one's personal space may be influenced by social status, gender, age, and other factors. According to Annetta Lopaz, Director of the Center for Bilingual Education at Kean College “people from different cultures use space differently and experience it differently.” (108) Culture can determine perception. The amount of physical space required for social distance is much less in the Asian societies. Although communication throughout the Asian culture does not rely solely
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