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What kinds of communicative messages need to be examined to study intercultural communication?

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The study of intercultural communication is, by definition, the study of all communication across cultural divides. That means that all communicative messages which are passed between members of different cultural groups should be studied with intercultural communication in mind.

The nature of the world in 2020 is that we live, study, and work in close proximity of people from different backgrounds. If you are having a conversation with a person of a different cultural background, there can be challenges that arise in any kind of communicative message. These challenges extend far beyond language barriers, and non-verbal cues also need to be considered when examining communicative messages.

A communicative message must be seen as a combination of the words that are said and the gestures, symbols, and other non-verbal cues that go with what is said. There are many ways in which a speaker can inadvertently cause offense when having a conversation with someone from a different cultural background, and there are no hard-and-fast answers here, because that which is deemed respectful in one culture (such as making eye contact or offering a firm handshake) can be extremely disrespectful in a different culture. To make things even more confusing, the rules can vary based on the gender or socioeconomic status of the person with whom you are communicating.

The need to study communicative messages in the context of intercultural communication lies in the need for greater cultural understanding, awareness, and tolerance.

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