Intercultural Communication Blog – Article Example

11 December The missing cultural dimension in the language tests These days, cultural diversity has increased manifolds all over the world in general and in the advanced countries in particular. People from the developing and the underdeveloped countries are migrating to the advanced countries for better opportunities of education and employment. Certain tests have been standardized to judge their proficiency of language of the host country e.g. IELTS for the UK and Australia and TOEFL for the US. While these tests appropriately check the migrants’ proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing the foreign language, they have no means to judge the extent to which the interested candidate understands the culture of the host country. In a multicultural setting, one of the most fundamental sources of conflicts and misunderstandings is lack of knowledge of culture. Having this understanding is extremely important for an individual to behave in such a way while communicating with members of the host country that improves their relations and avoids the development of misunderstandings and conflicts. “…speech, language and communication are all embedded aspects of culture” (Braber). People in certain countries tend to maintain a greater distance from one another while communicating whereas there are also certain countries in which people maintain lesser distance from one another while communicating. Two Americans like to greet each other by saying “hello” and may also shake hands, but many Arabs greet each other by kissing on the cheeks. “When people of different cultural backgrounds meet, all differences between them can potentially lead to misunderstanding” (Allwood). This imparts the need to modify the language testing systems like IELTS and TOEFL in such a way that they also examine the extent to which the candidates understand the underlying norms, values, etiquettes, and trends of the culture of the country they want to migrate to. If this is achieved, intercultural communication experiences of the migrants can be improved.
Works Cited:
Allwood, Jens. “Intercultural Communication.” N.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
Braber, Natalie. “Language and Intercultural Communication Problems.” N.d. Web. 11
Dec. 2012. .