Difference Between Chinese Culture and Western Culture Essay
Introduction After the Second World War, people find that the earth becomes smaller and smaller: politicians from each country are busy in communication on the intercultural stage; international companies are found everywhere; scientists and scholars exist in international academic forum; more and more people visit foreign countries, Chinese teachers stand on the platform of foreign countries, ect.
All in all, International communication becomes so frequent. At the same time, we can see the conflicts and problems in intercultural communication again and again: one country’s president think that the gesture means friendly, but it enrages another country’s people; some businessmen from foreign countries come to China to do business but ailed and left with complaint; the teachers coming from England and America say Chinese students don’t cooperate with them; some Chinese people go to America to study, but, after a short time, they give up the plan, and come back to China…… With the further development of the reform and opening to the outside world, the people and the matter in western societies have come in to our visual field more and more.
Under the situation, the economic and the social communication in different countries, different nationalities and different cultures become a part of people’s life.
This gives us a chance to get in touch with western people and this is a good thing for deepening our understanding of western society. But, this is not an easy thing. Because the things we face are coming from strange cultures and countries, and the people we communicate with are different from us in thinking, life custom, and behavior. It is unavoidable for the phenomenon of culture conflicts to appear in the course of communicating with others. I.
The frequent conflicts appeared in intercultural communication between Chinese culture and western culture There are many culture conflicts in intercultural communication between Chinese cultural and western culture, it is impossible for us to list them out one by one. Here, some frequent conflicts are listed out. A. The conflicts on privacy The privacy sense of Chinese people is comparatively weak. Chinese people think individual should belong to the collective; they think people should be united and fraternal; they think people should care for each other.
So, Chinese people are willing to know the other people’s things and the others also want to tell them. But western people attach great importance to the personal privacy. They want to have personal space and they are not willing to tell others their own things, they do not even want others to interfere their life. So, there are many conflicts on privacy between Chinese people and western people. For example, when Chinese people meet each other the first time, they would like to inquire about the others’ age, marriage, family, profession and even their income.
They think this is a polite way to communicate with each other, but western people believe these questions encroach upon their privacy. B. The conflicts on the sense of time The sense of time of western people is closely related with money. The idea that Time is money has formed in their thought. So, they set a high value on their time. In the daily time, western people have a meticulous plan about their time and they have a good habit of coming to date on time. In western countries, if you want to call on someone, you must inform them or date with them before you come and you should tell them your coming purpose, the time and the place.
After both of you discuss about it, you can make it out. But, Chinese people use their time at their pleasure. Usually, Chinese people will not do things as the western people, and western people usually feel unsuitable on this course. Most western people spend their time in working and studying, they seldom spend a lot time in eating or doing something else. But Chinese people spend much time on other things. For example, when western people come to KFC to have a meal, they eat their food as soon as possible, but, the Chinese people in KFC show another situation.
They eat their food slowly and chat with each other. They do not think this is a way to waste time. C. The conflicts on traditional cultures Chinese people pay special attention to modesty. When they communicate with others, they often respect others but look down upon themselves. They think this is a virtue and this is a polite phenomenon with Chinese characteristics. When others praise Chinese people, they often show very modest. Western countries do not have this phenomenon, when they are praised, they are often very happy and say “thank you” to others to show they accept the praise.
Because of the cultural difference, Chinese people often hold that western people are too confident and ignorant of the fact that modesty is one kind of politeness in Chinese cultures. But, when western people know Chinese people do not agree with others when others praise them or when western people know Chinese people deny their own achievement, western people will feel very surprised, they think Chinese people are not honest. D. The conflicts on table custom Chinese nationality has a excellent tradition of enthusiasm and hospitality.
In the settings of social communication or on the banquet, the enthusiastic Chinese people often give cigarettes to others and drink with each other. When Chinese people hold a party, even there are a lot foods on the table, the host often say some conventional sentences such as “There is not much food” or “This is but a homely meal”(????,??????). The host sometimes gets some foods for the guest and put them to the guest’s bowl and they try many ways to let the guest drink more and eat more.
But in western countries, people attach importance to personal authority and personal privacy. So, they will not force others to do any thing. When they have a meal, they will not get some food for the guests, the guests eat what they want to eat, they will also not ask the guests to drink and drink till they get drunk. ?. The reasons leading to the cultural conflict There are varied of reasons which caused the culture conflicts between China and western countries. The basic reason is that China and western countries have different culture, different history background.
All of these will surely bring the difference of people’s mode of thinking, difference of behavior, thus conflicts can hardly be avoided. A. The difference in the mode of thinking Culture has an effect on people’s view and cognition. Different countries have different cultures. So, the difference in people’s thinking way must exist. You can easily find such difference between Chinese culture and western culture. When western people think, they would like to attach importance to logic and analysis, While Chinese people value intuition which is the characteristic of Chinese traditional mode of thinking.
Due to the great influence of this traditional culture, Chinese people pay great attention to intuition, experience and the feeling in the course of communication, and they often use this experience and feeling to communicate with people. Compared with the thinking way of the western people, the mode of thinking of Chinese people has obvious vagueness, after a long time, it forms their thinking way. It can be explained as the classifying feeling course of distinguishing and simplifying o outside objects.
Looking from the essence, Chinese people’s thinking way often neglects the difference of individual objects and exaggerates the recognitive attitude of other social masses. It often bear a person’s own emotion, accompanied with fixed faith. In all of Chinese people’s thinking ways, some are right but some are wrong. They will affect the intercultural communication directly and cause the failed communication. B. The difference in behavior The specific meaning of behavior is the moral standard and action standard.
In simple words, it is a standard that just tell people what they can do and what they can not do. When people coming from different cultures communicate with each other, a phenomenon that people usually use their own social behavior standard to judge if others’ behavior is reasonable or not. Because of the difference of the behavior standard, it always causes misunderstanding, unhappiness or even worse result. For example, Chinese people like tapping the children’s head to show their friendliness.
But in western countries, this is a very disrespectful gesture. Their parents will be very angry if they see someone does this to their child. So, whether you can recognize and use behavior standard correctly in the intercultural communication is a very important factor to ensure intercultural communication to go successfully. To guarantee the successful intercultural communication, one must understand the others’ behavior standard, especially, one must know what behavior standard is. Then he can avoid the troubles. C. The difference in the concept of value
People’s communicative ability always emerges in the development of society. Therefore, it has close relationship with the concept of value. Every culture has its own specific value system. This system can help people to distinguish beauty from ugliness, kindness from evil. This is people’s life philosophy, moral standard and behavior standard. But it can exist without specific culture. Each culture has its different judgement standard. In this kind of culture people think it is good, while in another culture people think it is bad.
But each culture has its enough reasons to exist in its own cultural system. People can not think one value standard is advanced and another standard is not advanced. Taking Chinese culture and western culture as an example, in Chinese culture, people like modesty and politeness and they pursue adapting themselves to circumstances. Chinese people do not like to compete with others, and Chinese social tendency dislike the individual who likes showing himself or herself off. If one person appears much stronger than any other people, he will be surely kept way from others, just as a Chinese idiom goes, a tall tree catches the wind——a person in a high position is liable to be attacked. In Chinese culture, the collective value is in the leading position. Pursuing individual development is viewed as a serious individualism, and it will be blamed. But in western culture, individualism is generally recognized by people. “Adapting oneself to circumstances” is viewed as a behavior that lack enterprise, it is the synonym of laziness and disability and it is abandoned by society and individual.
Western people like to concern and judge something by themselves, and they would try their best to realize personal ideas. D. The difference in language transference The evaluation and explanation that people give the phenomena and affairs they see are built on the base of their own culture. Some people meet troubles in intercultural communication. One reason is that they neglect the language transference. The rule of using language is different because of the difference of culture. One can explain something in its own culture, but fail to do so in another culture.
The basic reason is that people lack the sensation of the difference of social language. They will use language transference unconsciously. The result of this action is very serious, and it can even bring big economic loss. China’s woolen industry gets a good evaluation all over the world. There is a delicate woolen quilt tick produced in the north region. Its Chinese trade mark is “ShuangYang”. The trade mark is translated to “Goats” in English, as the result, the commodity sells badly in western countries.
The reason is that “goat” this word has a meaning of “sex manias” besides the original meaning. Having this English trade mark, even if the quality of this woolen quilt tick is very good and people will feel comfortable when they use this woolen quilt tick, many women will not put it on their bed. ?. How to improve the ability of intercultural communication and avoid the culture conflicts in English teaching It can be known from the analysis, above that, there are many culture conflicts in the course of communication between Chinese people and western people.
These culture conflicts affect the intercultural communication directly or indirectly. Therefore it is necessary to improve the student’s ability of intercultural communication to change this situation. A. Transforming the teaching concept of the teachers China. The teacher acts an important role. If the teacher only puts the emphasis on the teaching of grammar and vocabulary, the student can not learn the practical application of language and improve the ability of intercultural communication. So, the teacher must transfer their teaching concept.
They should recognize the harm of culture conflicts an Most of foreign language teaching is in the classroom in recent teaching system in d the importance of improving the student’s ability of intercultural communication. At the same time, the teacher should strengthen their own study and improve their own cultural comprehensive quality, and only in this way can the teacher take hold of the quality and quantity of the English teaching of cultural knowledge and the specific steps and methods. In the end, the anticipated teaching aim can be scored. B. Improving the present available teaching methods
For a long time, the emphasis of college English teaching is on the teaching of language knowledge, and the training of intercultural communicative ability is neglected. To change this situation, we must improve the teaching methods, and pay special attention to the quality of the cultural teaching in the classroom. We should make full use of modernized teaching instruments to improve the students’ study activity, such as films, internet and projectors. Besides this, the teacher can conduct some monographic study to satisfy the student’s studying need, and train the talented persons who have great ability in intercultural communication.
But, there is one thing to which the teacher should pay attention: when the teacher improve the teaching methods, they must ensure the new content have a close connection with the knowledge that the student learns and the new contents must combine with the language communication practice. C. utting emphasis on the training of non-language communicative ability Non-language communication is also a very important kind of communication. It refers to the course that people use non-language to communicate and understand the information on particular occasion.
It doesn’t belong to the real language units, but sometimes it can convey stronger meaning than language and communication can do. Some specific non-language behaviors represent the specific meaning. It should be emphasized in intercultural communication. The connotation of the non-language culture under the background of Chinese culture and western culture is very different. For example, Chinese people believe “Silence is gold”. They think there contains plentiful information in silence. Sometimes, they even think silence is better than saying any word.
People in western countries often feel uncomfortable about this. When western people communicate with each other, listener will look at the speaker’s eyes, and they think this can show the listener’s conscientiousness and respect. But in Chinese people’s eyes, this is an impolite behavior. Chinese people are not used to being looked at for a long time. D. Asking the students to read more materials about western cultures In the college, the time of English teaching is very limited. But the students have much time to study after classes.
So, the students should not be dependent on the teaching by the teacher in the class to improve the intercultural communication. The teacher should ask the students to read western English culture materials, newspapers, magazines and the commentary of current events. Through reading can the students learn culture knowledge, increase culture quality, widen visual field and improve the intercultural communication ability. On the other hand, many universities nowadays have foreign language teachers, and students should make full use of this resource.
They are live cultural teaching materials. They should play a positive role in the course of transformation of Chinese culture and western culture. Foreign language teachers can communicate with the student directly. The student can also go to the classroom to listen the foreign teacher’s reports or classes. ?. The significance of studying intercultural communication Studying intercultural communication has great significance. It can reduce the obstacles in intercultural communication. It can reduce communicative conflicts.
And, it can widen people’s visual field and promote cultural communication. A. Studying intercultural communication can reduce the communicative obstacles Every nationality has its own history to develop its cultures. Different geographic and historical background decides the current situation of the different cultures, which leads to the different custom and different behavior standard. In the intercultural communication, if people do not know others’ cultural background, sometimes, they can not understand others’ information correctly. Misunderstanding of communication will appear.
For example, in America, some Chinese people are invited to enjoy a party in an American’s house in winter, when they get into the house, they do not put off their coat, then, the host will ask “Are you feeling very cold? ”, the Chinese people often say “Yes, rather. ”. they do not know, in western countries, when the guests get into the host’s house, they should take off their coat to show their politeness. But when many Chinese students studying abroad enter into the western people’s house, the host says “Let me take your coat. ” or “Shall I take your coat? ”, the students always answer “No, no. they do not know this custom in western countries. So, by studying the intercultural communication, people will know different nationality’s cultural background which can help people reduce the obstacles to the greatest possible extent in intercultural communication. B. Studying intercultural communication can reduce the communicative conflicts Communication conflicts are the promotion of the communication obstacles. The slight communicative obstacles can lead to the failure in changing information and ideas, while the serious communicative obstacles may result in serious mistakes or communication conflicts.
It is just like two persons who can not communicate with each other under the same situation. In that case, one person’s “good words to persuade” is understood mistakenly to “bad words to hurt”, the two persons may quarrel with each other, or even fight with each other. For instance, an American business man comes to china to do business, he is eager to discuss the business as soon as he gets to the destination. But Chinese manager will not do this immediately. He asks the American businessman to inspect for several days and his secretary to lead the American business man to visit the local scenic spots and historical sites.
Then, he will invite the American business man to have meals again and again. All those the Chinese manager does is for the business, but the American business man will doubt if the manager really wants to do this business. And at last, he goes back to America and the business fails. American people have clear idea about work and entertainment. When they are in the situation of “worka holic”, working is the foremost thing. Because Chinese manager lacks the knowledge of intercultural communication, the business fails.
So, one communication conflict can cause a big amount of economic loss. Because of culture difference and the lacking of intercultural communication knowledge, Chinese people’s modesty may be misunderstood as hypocrisy by western people; western people’s straightness may be misunderstood as indifference by Chinese people; Chinese people’s enthusiasm may be misunderstood as red tape by western people; western people’s promise may be misunderstood as deceitfulness by Chinese people. The studying of intercultural communication can promote the communication and avoid the conflicts.
C. Studying intercultural communication can widen people’s visual and promote culture communication Intercultural communication let us see a colorful world. And it can let people know what they can study from other cultures to improve their own culture. One nationality can develop by its own renovation, from little to much, from backwardness to advancement, and it progresses with the development of society. It can also develop by culture communication and increase its own vitality by complementing and enriching foreign culture.
In the years when scientific techniques were very backward, people’s communicative ways were also very limited. The cultural development of every nationality had a characteristic of closeness and slowness and this caused the unbalanced situation of the cultural development of every nationality. The development of culture has a close relationship with cultural communication. Without cultural communication, culture also can not develop. Intercultural communication studying can promote the culture communication. It helps us to know the foreign culture.
In many cases, if people coming from different cultural background know other’s communication customs, their visual field will surely be widened and their curiosity can be satisfied at a certain extent. Studying cultural communication is necessary, we should pay more attention to it. Conclusion Intercultural communication becomes more and more common in people’s daily life. People should learn some knowledge about the intercultural communication. Once people know the cultures that belong to the country whose people they communicate with, they will feel comfortable in the course of communication.
Studying the intercultural communication can avoid the conflicts between two countries’ people and solve the problems and troubles brought by misunderstanding. The college students play an important role in intercultural communication. After they graduate, they will communicate with foreigners. They are the future of intercultural communication. So, their intercultural communication ability should be trained in the college. They should know the importance of intercultural communication and study the knowledge of intercultural communication.
With the development of the society, the intercultural communication also develops. After a short time, it will become an important communication. Most people will know something about it and most people can communicate with foreigners. They can avoid the culture conflicts and they can understand each other better and better. Acknowledgements I would like to take this opportunity to thank my tutor—Huang Tianhong, who offers me academic and constructive advices on composing this paper. Her encouragement and help are worthy of high acknowledgement.
I would like to appreciate the help of other teachers, who give me useful advices on finishing this paper. Their useful advice and help made my paper much more mature than before. I am very grateful of my lovely friends who offered me quiet situation to compose my paper and discuss with me about my paper. I do need to thank the persons who give me my life–my father, Wang Pingshi, my mother, YuanYue, for their warm care and the chance of study. Last but not the least, I would like to express my thanks to them who spend their time in reading my paper, and I will be grateful if you could give me your advice.