Meanings in Madagascar: Cases of Intercultural Communication

Synopsis

Most analyses of interpersonal communication ignore the relationship between communication and culture. When intercultural communication takes place, the interlocutors may have very different conceptions of what is being discussed, since meaning in any culture results from lifelong learning within that culture. Such concepts as worldviews, cultural beliefs, and decision-making processes are unique to each culture, and affect each culture's interpretation of meaning. To illustrate problems with communication and culture, Dahl focuses on the cultures of Madagascar and the Western World. He suggests many ways in which the Malagasy's worldview and values are different from the Westerner's, and how these differences affect communication. A "meaning matrix" is included to assist in interpretations of everyday cases.

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