Special Issue, Cross-Cultural Communication

In this special non-dated issue we start with re-publishing an article from the Orality Journal. Membership is free for this journal: https://orality.net/sign-me-up/
The image is courtesy of http://s3.amazonaws.com/libapps/accounts/55535/images/Cross-Cultural_Pragmatics.gif.

The William Carey International Development Journal welcomes submissions and comments at any time on a variety of topics related to international development such as cross-cultural communication, orality, innovation, social justice, disease origins, education, etc. Please send inquiries to beth.snodderly@wciu.edu. Articles will be added as they become available.

To see other Special Issue topics, click on this Archives link.

Special Issue, Cross-Cultural Communication

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Shaw’s irony is apparent when two people from the same language and culture converse over a seemingly simple topic, yet they interpret what is said differently. His irony is especially apparent when two people from different culture and language backgrounds attempt to communicate using a shared language. So often there is a communication breakdown. A breakdown happens simply because language in general and word choices in particular are influenced by at least two things: experience and environment. No two experiences are exactly alike. Environments may be the same, but experienced in different ways. People from vastly different cultures have vastly different experiences which influences how they process or make meaning. No wonder Bible translation, be it oral or written, is so challenging. In hindsight (and ongoing research) the code model of meaning transfer from one language to another seems simplistic. So much “interference” happens in the process because of the decoder’s and encoder’s unique experiences and environment. What can we expect from translation? 

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Since the author consistently encounters objections to oral strategies, he thought it would be helpful to address for our readers some of the main concerns that are voiced and balance those concerns with the major benefits. In this article, he will go through many common objections to an oral strategy, and then present some benefits to this strategy as well.

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Oral strategies are more participative than traditional learning approaches. These include storytelling, audio materials, diagrams, visual portrayals, and verbal discussions. Strategies also include the use of more “right brain” literary genre like metaphor, imagery, folk proverbs.

This short article gives two examples of oral learning strategies.

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Eighty percent of the world, and nearly 100% of the majority world, are from primary oral learning cultures. This means the people— whether non-literate, functionally non-literate, or even semi-literate—prefer to learn in ways other than through reading printed matter. Even listening to Western literate analytical forms (such as lectures, lists, etc) is foreign to their way of thinking. The importance of this is that most of our students work in societies where the people are oral learners. We want to help our students become familiar with techniques they can use in teaching their people. If all they do in their studies with WCIU is read and write, they won’t have learned how to communicate their learning well to the people with whom they work.

This short article gives two examples of strategies for oral learning.

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This article highlights the vital role of oralized Word, for our moment in history, and especially for Jewish people.

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