Intercultural Communication

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Comments about Althen and the “Communication Patterns” article

Posted by thuicc on October 1, 2005

Remember to read “Communication Patterns and Assumptions of Differing Cultural Groups in the United States” and post your comments on how this text changes the view of “typical” American communication styles described in Althen’s book. (Due Oct. 4)


16 Responses to “Comments about Althen and the “Communication Patterns” article”

  1. Tracy said

    I think the article “Communication patterns and Assumptions” changes the view from Athen’s “The Communicative Style of Americans” by classifying different origins of Americans such as African American, native American, European American…etc.; and analyzing each different groups of Americans by animation, directness, eye contact, gestures, space…etc.. However, the article that written by Athen I think it is too general or too broad to identify the “American Culuture” since America is a multi-racial and multi-cultural country.

  2. Anonymous said

    “Communication Patterns and Assumptions…etc.” takes the Athen’s explanation a bit farther. The last article seems to focus mainly on the “European-Anglo American” of the new article. Basically, the new article is breaking down American communication generalizations into multiple generalizations. When I read this article, I didn’t picture in my head a white american talking to another white american, as I coulnd’t avoid while reading the first article. When considering how Americans communicate, it is so important to consider the mix of cultures that exists in the United States.

    I think the new article is important to consider because it presents how diverse communcation in one “culture” can be–It is very difficult to define any trait of American Culture, let alone define how one of the most diverse countries in the world communicates. Yahoo for comm.


  3. Erica said

    In Althen’s book, it only talks about the general idea of American way of conversation, and there are examples used to contrast the United States and other countries around the world. However, in this article, it emphasizes specifically on the people in the United States. Among the people in the United States, there are actually many different cultural groups; the people discussed in the article are African Americans, Native Americans, European Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans. Their way of communication styles are differed because their cultural backgrounds are different. So I think, in this article, it talks about things that Althen didn’t notice or didn’t put emphasis on, that is, the cultural effect. From the article, we can see that all the groups have their way or cultural aspects of making a conversation; from Althen’s book, we only understand the ways and patterns of conversations but with less consideration about culture.

  4. Hi, all,

    Well, to be fair to Althen, his book contains more than just the chapter on communication styles. But one thing he doesn’t do in his chapter on race and ethnic relations is (if I remember correctly) try to account for racial/ethnic factors that might affect communication styles.

  5. Anonymous said

    In the article “Communication Patterns and Assumptions”, it is trying to compare the different communication styles by categorizing oriented race whom now living in America. I was impressed by the content of comparing “eyecontact” which said most of the people should not look at the speaker for too long, otherwise may be considering impolite. However, I think it is not impolite to see speakers or elders while they are talking. To me is rather a way to show my respect to them, or else they think that I am not paying attention to them while they are talking!

    Evonne Wang

  6. Jennifer said

    Hi all:
    I’m so surprised the part of directnessand indirectness that different styles make different result. Sometimes u think urself speak directly but politely; however, other people from different cultures don’t think so. The communication styles described in Althen’s book make me do a self-examination. Perhaps I should start to improve my behavior and be careful of the person whom I’m talking to. Every culture has its fantastic custom but learning to adopt different cultures, I think, is the responsibility for being a citizen of the global village.

  7. Jennifer, I deleted the second posting of your comment. Hope that’s OK.

    I think you raise an interesting point at the end of your comment–the issue of doing self-examination and trying to adapt to the customs of people from different cultures.

    I’ve often wondered if it’s possible to do that–and to what extent. I guess if you’re dealing with people from one culture, it’s possible. But even then, you need to consider that within, for example, “American culture” there are many cultures (as the webpage shows us) with different customs. What should we do in that kind of situation?

  8. Anonymous said

    “Communication Patterns and Assumptions” focuses more on the concept of multiculture and how it affects the communication among people. Compare to Althen’s book, this article pushes the issue forward, emphasizing the inseparable relation between culture and communicaiton and how do they influence each other, as Kim discusses in her article. Just according to the part that we read, I think Althen’s text could be a basic source for others to know about American ways of communicaiton, and “Communication Patterns and Assumptions” can be an advanced one which specifies on how different cultural backgrounds influence communication.
    About the issue of trying to adapt to the customs of different culture, I think I’m facing the dilemma. Sometimes people from different cultures would like to know my culture; yet, in certain occasion, I need to change my habits or ways of talking to decrease the tension. It takes time to find the balance.


  9. Alice said

    In “Communication Patterns and Assumptions” article, author classifies American communication style by different culture background in U.S. I think it is interesting, but I think it could cause racial discrimination. For examples, according this assumptions, if a European American talks to an African American, European American would feel uncomfortable because African American expressed himself or herself in a passionate way and be suspected of irrationality. Sometimes, we think our communication ways is polite and acceptable, but in different background has different interpretation. Nevertheless, I think America is a multiple culture country nowadays. People in America can tolerant differences with each other who are from different culture background.


  10. Amanda said

    The article of “Communication Patterns and Assumptions
    of Differing Cultural Groups in the United States” offers much more details and information about American communication style. Since America is a nation which combined all kind of races, it is a very excellent approach to discuss about American communication style by seperating different cultural groups. Compared to this article, Althen’s appears to be too general.If I read Althen’s book very carfully and remember all the key points, I could still face problems to communicate with Americans, since there are many differences between Americans.

  11. RyoLee said

    Comparing Athen’s “The Communicative Style of Americans” and the web article “Communication patterns and Assumptions…”, Athen discusses the general American way of communication which is commonly recognized by other country’s people; however, the article makes a deeper and clear discussion by categorizing different ways of communication of the ethnic groups of US.
    It is clear in this article that if we want to have a better understand on other cultures, espcially those multi-culturalized societies, like US, we should leave behind the issue of what cultural background it consists.


  12. After reading this article ”Communication Patterns and Assumptions, ”I realized that the book written by Althen is too general so that we cannot only judge all kinds of races of Americans in one way. This article talked about there are many kinds of races, different cultures and different kinds of communicating ways. Although many communication patterns are the same in different races, for instance, the turn taking and pause time, it is almost the same that people shouldn’t talk too fast or others may feel uncomfortable, there are still some different kinds of expression ways from culture to culture. I think I have to remember some special difference in order not to get into trouble.

  13. Joce said

    After reading “Communication Patterns and Assumptions
    of Differing Cultural Groups in the United States”, I realize how hard it is to be an American. haha. Communication in a multiple society is difficult yet fun, for you will see different views in the same thing. People should be sensitive to the one they talk and also respect every culture. I think Americans might choose a medium or balanced way to communicate with the one they aren’t familiar with. Also, they will concern more on “political correctness”. In this way, people won’t offend the other unconciously.

    Jocelyn 🙂

  14. Grace said

    In the article “Communication patterns and Assumptions”, I get to know many different communication patterns of various groups in America. I think it is important to know those different patterns because they are also a part of America culture.
    After reading the article, I was especially suprised to see that Native Americans prefer indirectness. I used to think most of the Americans give their requests and tell other people what they want in a more direct way. Therefore, when I read the article, I was surprised at native Americans’ preference for indirectness. It’s intersting to find this kind of difference.


  15. Stephanie said

    From this passage there are alot more details about how Americans as a whole, regardless which country they were originally from, communicates and behaves. One strong feeling i felt while comparing this passage with Althen’s passage was that I tend to prefer how this passage arranged, since Althen’s words are a little too subjective to me. Althen, in my opinion, has a pretty high ego while writing “the American ways.” Thus after reading this passage I felt that I learnt more things that I need to know than Althen’s. Also, it helps me to understand many characteristics of different culture and seems to prove to me how culture can effect deeply a race’s communication methods. It has even provide specific details like identity orientation and pictures which present clearly how one grioup represent to others. Overall, I think although as a whole this might be how a race group act while communicating with others, yet as the world processes into globalization more and more of this specialities will gradually fade out. (which in my opinion is a pretty sad thing for I think culture is the main part in us that helps to stand out from others)

  16. Josie Kuo said

    In “Communication Patterns and Assumptions”, it shows that relationship between the different groups is complicated. Various cultural contexts could result in many ways of communication, and these ways of communication may cause misunderstanding when differnet groups are interacting. In contemporary society, it is easy to communicate with another culture through internet, mass media, etc. People all around the worid will reveal their own ways of communication which represent their cultures. To understand them becomes a priority before contacting with people who come from different countries.

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