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The documentary “A World of Differences a Cross-Cultural Communication”, highlights the differences that exist between typical American culture and the cultures of  different nations around the world.  An “argument mapping”essay will illuminate the cultural variance exposed in the video.   I will focus on four ethnographic claims presented in the video which clearly outline the unique variances that exist in cultures as well as the ethnographic evidence shown throughout the video.  Specific examples will be used to illustrate the extreme differences that exist in all cultures, but particularly between American culture and other cultures throughout the world. Initially the documentary shows the difference between the liberal attitudes, traits, ethics and habits of Americans as compared to other cultures.  One female participant in the documentary describes her experience climbing on a chair in a restaurant in China.  She uses the chair as a stool to reach something.  The other patrons and all surrounding her in the restaurant looked at her in disgust.  She later becomes aware that in Chinese culture a person would not put their dirty shoes on a chair where people would sit.  This is considered inappropriate behavior. Thus the people around her were upset.  In America this would not be considered disgusting and would not promote a negative reaction from the patrons of the restaurant.  A female in Northern India goes to the laundromat outside of where she is living and walks there in shorts.  As she is walking she actually has people spit at her as well as stare at her incessantly.  She did not observe the local cultural dress code and thus experiences very negative behavior related to the way she was attired.  When one chooses to reside or visit another culture and one does not educate oneself on the common practices there may be a negative result.  The documentary clearly highlights this in these and other examples. The second ethnographic claim is in regards to various cultural differences related to the American palate and food preferences in contrast with other cultures.  There are stark differences between the American cuisine and that of other cultures, most Americans found the majority of the traditional foreign dishes mentioned to be objectionable and distasteful. In the Philippines a  very popular item is an egg that has a preterm duckling in it called, Balut.  In America we do not consume unborn poultry and this would be considered unappetizing. One woman dining with a Vietnamese family where she was being served the family’s traditional main dish, spiced chicken blood expressed her dislike and dismay for the item. There are definite differences between American cuisine and and the cuisine around the world. Third claim is regarding social norms governing how individuals interact with each other in public and social settings.  One Japanese woman expressed shock and concern when she heard two Americans speaking loudly in the street.  In Japan it is a more to not express emotions in public.  An American who visited Vietnam describes the lack  of interpersonal space where the societal norm tends toward the use of intimate and personal distance as opposed to the commonly used social distance in America.  An immigrant from Japan noticed when he was watching American television that American’s behave openly excited and happy if they win on a show.  In Japan it is frowned upon to express joy at winning it would be the norm to be humble when accepting a prize.  One can clearly observe the cultural differences in public behavior. The fourth ethnographic claim is in relation to the use of language in all it’s forms and the differences that exist which can cause difficulties in communication.  The discussion by one expert regarding idioms which is an example of linguistic inconsistency that is another barrier for communication cross culturally.  The example used by him are “she threw her weight around and “he put his foot in his mouth”, both of there phrases are highly specific to American culture and would not translate into another language in a way that would make sense therefore causing confusion and difficulties in communication.  In the case of sign language which is considered to be a universal language, a deaf American attending the deaflympics had an experience where he realized that sign language was not actually universal.  He tried to speak to foreigners at the deaflympics and found that they used different signs than him.  Those signs would be specific to their culture and language.  There is unique aspects of language and communication acroos every culture.  Thus, cross cultural communication can be challenging.

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