When people speak of the communicarion, first they will think of the language, which is the verbal behavior. The verbal behavior is a process relying on the language instrument, including text (written languages) and verbal (oral language ) to carry through communion delivering idea and transferring information. Language is an important tool of human communication, but it is not the only tool of communication. In fact, in addition to language, there is a more abundant content of the means of communication that is non-verbal. The non-verbal communication is the language of all the acts of communication, it is very frequent in the frequency of daily life. A smile, a look, and a gesture belong to be non-verbal bahavior (huang, 2003:16). It is difficult to fancy and cannot be processed that the communication between the people just depend on words without any accompanying gestures or postures. That, at least, is not a sufficient communication. It is impossibility not to have the verbal behavior in human’s communication, but the non-verbal communication goes with the verbal communication. Both of them formed the complete process of communication and also have their own features and functions. Non-verbal communication can represent people’s psychological activities richly and accurately.
As the main component of non-verbal communication, bodt language has its own trait, effect, and function. It must comply with the “principles of cooperation” just as verbal communication (Yang, 1994: 16).
Ⅱ.The Definition and Importance of Body Language
2．1Definition of Body Language
Body language is not a language in the strict sense of the word “language”. “Body language” is expressing how one feels by one’s sitting, standing, moving, etc, rather by words (Oxford Advanced Learners English-Chinese Dictionary, 1997).
2．2The Importance of Body Language
An investigation into the functions of the factors of verbal and nonverbal communications shows: 35% information is transferred by language; the other 65% are by nonverbal patterns (Samovaretal, 1981). Other study indicates: only 7% emotions in people’s communication are passed by language. The other 93% are by nonverbal patterns. American scholars Deleig • Bronan (1991) pointed out that “Human’s communication consists of writing, oral and body three parts. Because of culture prejudices, a great majority of educated people often think that written language is most important; the oral language is the second. The body language is ranked last. However, whether from the continuously evolution of whole humanity or from a personal point of view, the study indicate that thee important position among the three are part opposition. This shows the necessity and importance of body language.
Human society’s long historical evolution confirmed that labor played a decisive role in the course of human’s evolution. At beginning, human ancestors rely on all sorts of gestures and postures for mutual coordination and communicate. So body language is actually the most primitive instrument of communication. The phonic language is gradually developed with the continuous deepening of communication. Human gradually learned verbal communication after a far-flung nonverbal communication. This shows that the non-verbal communication came into being earlier than verbal communication, it is the origin and base of verbal communication, body language is the earliest communication tool of human.
Ⅲ.The Role of Body Language in Communication
3．1To Exchange IdeasTo exchange ideas is the most basic social function of the language. In daily verbal communication, body language also participates in verbal communicate actuality. Speakers consciously or unconsciously use body language to match the language for expressing ideas; the listeners also understand ideas transferred by body language (Yang, 1994:26). Sometimes body language even can express ideas directly, especially at the kind of occasion that is inappropriate to speak or somebody doesn’t want to speak. For example, at the place where is as quiet as the reading room, it is inappropriate for people to talk.
3．2 To Covey SentimentBody language is often affected by the impact of personality; different people use the same body language can express different feelings. If emotion has even a little change, it will be reflected in people’s face immediately. Laughter is a kind of facial brow, in general the laughter is behaved when people feel buoyant (Zhang, 1990:26). Usually the sentiments expressed joy. But in different contexts, different laughers express different sentiments. Sometimes laughers express completely reverse sensibility. For example, “forced smiled”, “a wan smile”, “an artificial smile”, “sneer”, “sinister smile”, “be mock” and so on (Zhang, 2000:32). “The eyes are the window to the soul”, eyes is most good at behaving people’s inner emotion. Sometimes a pair of eyes which looks can speak can convey very delicate and complex emotions. The eyes that convey people’s emotion always go with eyebrow. Eyebrow also is an important part of expression. 3．3To Bring Forth People’s Psychology and to Behave People’s CharacterIn fact, besides verbal language, the body language of gesyures, facial changes, meningful glance are all reflection of people’s innermost movement and character. French literary theorist Turner said: “ Becarefully studying his (Shakespeare) every role,you will discover at anymoment that there is a kind of echo, a kind of omen smong one wording, one gesture, one touch of idea, one rip and one speak mode to leak character’s whole bosom,...” (Chen,2001:38)
Speaking of the humanity, each person can express our innermost feelings throught the body the idea, but West’s expression also differs from. For instance we split out rent a car, we can use the entire palm of the hand to summon, but the weaterner is surely is stretches out the thumb to summon, but also has us and others kiss is surely the relational not common friend and the family member, but westerner’s kiss only is and the friend greets.
3．4To Denote Social RelationsPeople who communicate with the other one have different identity, status, seniority and sex, so there are some differences in the body language they used. Therefore, the social relations between them can be reflected by their body language. A smile and shaking hands with the initiative are the commonly used body language when they first meet somebody. But that is not suitable to stretch out initiative when meeting a person who has status that is much higher than you. No other than the person offers his hand, you can be approached to shake hands. The people who are more familiar often hold each other’s hands after shaking hands. But most women do not shake hands when regarding with each other, they draw their fingers together lightly. In Europe and the United States people often use kissing ceremony. The form and place of kissing is different because status and longevity is different.
The way which but when China’s very many places, the majority people meet greets all are shake hand, certainly, also has some young people runs into the very familiar friend perhaps family member’s time, can use the hug the way to come big greeting.
Ⅳ. The Characteristics and the Reason for Difference of Body Language Between Western and Chinese4．1The Characteristics of Body Language4.1.1Synonymy
One meaning can be shown by more than two body languages. For instance, gestures of shaking hands, nodding, or raise hand can show greeting. Looks like us meets the acquaintance the time we to be able to shake hand, in us to some matter expressed satisfactory time we can nod, at not satisfactory time can shake the head and so on.
4.1.2ObscurityEven experts in kinesics cannot name precisely all the vocabulary of gestures, for example, when an American rubs his nose, it may mean he is disagreeing with someone. But there are other explanations too. When this occurs, we must try to get further information or guess the meaning from the context of the situationg. In a word, all body language should be explained in a certain context. To ignore the situation that could cause misunderstandings. Actually the meaning of some body language should be inferred in a spesific consent, but many more gestures have their meaning.
4.1.3SymbolicThe symbolic characteristic is an important sign for distinguishing the body language and body physiological actions. Although body language has the same physical attribute as body movements, but body language expresses an unique idea in some language condition, it is doing some communicate. In people’s daily life, body language not only can express a variety of frondose emotions, but also can express various kinds of understand or don’t care, powerless; Knocking on the tabla shows angry, warning or impatient. Numerous facts have shown that as a non-verbal communication symbols, body language is a key link in the communication speak of communication symbols system and the important part of purport system.
4.1.4Cultural DifferenceRound or “OK” has been widely used in the United States, but on the “OK” meaning, there are so many different views.
The meaning of “OK” is all the same in all of the English-speaking countries. However, after it quickly expanded to Europe and Asia, the meaning changed. For example, in France, it denoted “zero” or “nothing”; in Japan, it has the meaning of “money”; in some Mediterranean countries, it is often used to express that the male is a homosexual.
This show that body language has a strong cultural identity. In a different culture it should have a different understanding of body language; some different body language can express the same meanings. Some of the same body language indicated different significance or concept; it affects the effect of communication and even can make the misapprehension and conflict of cross-cultural communication if we can not understand the special meaning of the nonverbal sign of communication. This is also embodiment of the dialectical relationship between nonverbal communication and culture difference. In fact, in the same community bosom, the culture, society status and even difference of occupation all have a distinctness embodiment by body language.
4．2The Reason for Difference of Body Language Between Western and China4.2.1The Difference of the Traditional CultureThe difference of the traditional cultural in the differen characteristics. Historians considered that culture is the entire form of movement of a nation. China and Western countries have their own different social soil and cultural atmosphere. They have their own long history of independent development and special space, and each of them has its own distinct ethnic characteristics. Body language reflects the characteristics of a nation , it not only includes the nation’s historical and cultural background, it also contains the attitude for life of the nation; it is a concrete manifestation of people’s lifestyle and way of thinking. Chinese civilization system is accurately called “Chinese cultural circle”, people call it “circle” means that it stays in an obdurate and self-sufficiency status for lengthy millennium because of the geographical factors and profound influence of Confucian thought. In the inward-looking “circle”, the Chinese people came into being a respected family-centered culture system. Looking back over history, their homes are “Siheyuan”; the board is “cubic city”, and has the great wall. It fashions a family-style country, it advocates “reunification”, pursuing “cooperation”, like living together. The strongly family concept ia very dim. Although they also say: “East, west, home is best”. But what they express is probably a kind of “maritime civilization” and “nomadic that is outward expansion and lateral extension, go to the outer world is the only way for their survival and development. Therefore, occidental pursue a kind of autocephaly, outward “on the road” spirit, it engenders a kind of “discrete” action mode. This cultural difference has clearly reflected in their body language between China and the West. For example, weatern people can’t do this, if they have to crowed sit in the narrowness space, they will use “special skills”----they will never see the people who too closed to them and never have any brow.
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