Siren Watcher Researcher Writer - Having problems describing things in English? Or expressing your opinion? Learn this Tip for English Speaking

Having problems describing things in English? Or expressing your opinion?

Learn this Tip for English Speaking

When you are asking a coworker to do a task do you tell them every little detail. Or do you tell them a little and understand that you have implied the rest?

Author: Siren Watcher – Published: 2021-07-28.

Having problems describing things in English? Or expressing your opinion?

Learn this Tip for English Speaking

Siren Watcher Researcher Writer - Having problems describing things in English? Or expressing your opinion? Learn this Tip for English Speaking

When you are asking a coworker to do a task do you tell them every little detail. Or do you tell them a little and understand that you have implied the rest?

Author: Siren Watcher – Published: 2021-07-28.

One of the main differences between countries is whether they are a high-context or low-context culture. When you are asking a coworker to do a task do you tell them every little detail? Or do you tell them a little and understand that you have implied the rest? These differences can make international business relations jarring. When there is this cross-cultural communication problem. So what is your country like and can you adapt to be able to express things both ways?
In a high-context culture speaking less not more is the proper strategy. In a high-context culture there is an unspoken cultural bond of understanding. This means that certain things are not needed to say. Or may even be impolite to say outloud. Saying less or staying silent are common ways to express your opinion in high-context cultures.
Multitudes of students seem to have the same issue in English. Their cultural way of speaking at home clashes with the low-context culture of English. These cultural contexts are built into languages. So an ESL speaker is generally required to speak in a low-context style to appear as if speaking like a native.

In native English speaker’s conversation. They might overemphasise a fact. To make sure that their speaking partner definitely understands what they mean. Using as many words as possible to get their point across.

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Image by John Hain.

It is common knowledge that within the German language there is a “word for everything”. In English that is not the case. So often an English speaker will speak an entire phrase. For something another language could say in a single word. Words like Drachenfutter. Which means an apology gift that you buy when you know a person may be angry with you. The most famous word English lacks from German is Schadenfreude. Which means to have a mean idea of what you find funny. Such as something unfortunate happening to someone. The closest word to Schadenfruede in English is black humour.

English is a highly expressive language which can be described as being colourful. When an English sentence is written. There is many words included for emphasis and poetic quality. These common expressions have become ingrained as the default way to speak.

“What did you do this weekend?”

How you answer this question to a stranger is a great way to tell whether you are from a high or low-context culture. In a high-context culture you could safely reply: “I did nothing”. Assuming that the other person would fill in the gaps and respect your answer. In a low-context culture, this is considered impolite. As the primary assumption in a low-context culture is that the speaker may not be able to guess what you did. As there is less uniformity amongst the population.

This is the difference between individualist and collectivist societies.

If an English speaker wanted to say: “I did nothing.” They may say something like, “I just watched a bit of TV.” Or another non-specific answer that still provides a way to fill in some of the gaps for the listener. The context of your weekend can’t be implied within a traditional English conversation.
If in the workplace someone asks your opinion saying, “I agree” or “I disagree,” may not be enough. Saying, “I agree because ___.” Then making a statement. Specific or generalised doesn’t matter. This can make a big difference in sounding like a native speaker. As English speakers are known to add more words to their sentences. Rather than less such as in a high-context culture.

Once you see the difference between the two cultural contexts. You can start on using tips for how to improve your English speaking. Some great example exercises for learning how to speak in a low-context manner. Is provided in the ajoining video below on Youtube or Bitchute. There are English subtitles if needed.

Article is also published on Contena and is a Hemingway Editor Grade: 7.

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