Robert B. Kaplan in his article: ‘CULTURAL THOUGHT PATTERNS IN INTER-CULTURAL EDUCATION’ explains that text production is influenced by different ‘cultural thought patterns’. According to Kaplan, “each language and each culture has a paragraph order unique to itself, and learning a particular language is the mastering of its logical system.”
Similar to the culture thought patterns exhibited in written essay or text, I believe we exhibit these culture patterns in oral language too. As Lauren Supraner explains in her article on, ‘Communication and Cultural Thought Patterns’, there is a higher likelihood for miscommunication and cross-cultural conflict when the listener and speaker do not have similar cultural thought patterns. Supraner suggests that by mimicking the communication style of the listener, we can affirm their values and avoid miscommunication.
Below is the diagram of different cultural thought patterns for different language groups.
|Patterns of written discourse (after Kaplan 1966)|
As Lauren Supraner explains, following is a brief explanation on how each language group exhibits its logical system.
English: Direct, linear communication and does not digress from the main topic.
Semitic: Thoughts both negative and positive, are expressed in a series of parallel ideas.
Oriental: Indirect type of communication of the main topic, which is not approached directly, but from various perspectives, working around the main point.
Romance: Communication digresses often and extraneous material is presented along with the main idea.
Russian: Similar to romance, Russian form of communication is often digressive and includes a series of parallel ideas.
1. Read Laruen Supraner’s article on, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURAL THOUGHT PATTERNS here http://www.callearning.com/blog/2010/06/communication-and-cultural-thought-patterns/http://www.callearning.com/blog/2010/06/communication-and-cultural-thought-patterns/
2. Read an excerpt from Robert B. Kaplan’s article on CULTURAL THOUGHT PATTERNS IN INTER-CULTURAL EDUCATION here–> http://ksuweb.kennesaw.edu/~djohnson/6750/kaplan.pdf
Hope you find this information useful and helpful in imporving your communications style.