Thomas Steinfatt Diane M. Christophel University of Miami
The study of intercultural communication is important in any society or culture. This is especially true in the United States, which has made intercultural openness a central feature of its cultural persona. The United States is currently experiencing the greatest period of immigration in its history. Although the late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed a greater proportional population increase due to immigration, the actual number of legal immigrants entering the United States since 1980 was greater than in any previous decade in history. When illegal immigration is factored in, the current period of immigration is unsurpassed in American history, yielding a nation whose cultural heritage is changing, and, as a corollary, its communication is changing as well.
Following Langer ( 1942), we believe that communication in its most fundamental form is intrapersonal. Communication begins as an attempt by human beings to come to know their environment through symbols. This occurs through a gradual recognition