Miscommunication means failure to communicate ideas or intentions successfully (Dictionary.Cambridge.org, 2019). It was an interesting topic that can involve lots of perspectives in our daily lives. It can be a common affair and happened without any sense when we get in touch with the new language environment. Misunderstanding has a high frequency appeared in school life, and can be a common issue for most overseas students. As a second-year international student in Australia, there are lots of stories that happened at the beginning of my life in Australia.
At the beginning of my life in Australia, I felt quite different from life in my hometown. When I am the first time going to shops buying something. The boss said “Ga-day bro!” after a while, I was confused by his enthusiastic attitude and started thinking about why he called me 'bro', and I am confused about why he said good day to me, curiousing about that’s a question or just pray to me. I asked my parents do I have brothers-in-law in Australia and they said sure not. After a whole year of life here when I recall the memories before, it was really a ridiculous boy one year ago. I realized this is a very normal sentence for Australian Aussies to have friendly and welcoming words. Now it has become one of the most frequent mantras in my daily talking, and I realized that the best way to grow and improve is trying to understand with an acceptable attitude to the new knowledge in a fresh and strange environment. This is an actual misunderstanding for the wrong communication that happened to me because I did not understand the cultural background at that time and it caused the miscommunication from the different language background cultures. Therefore, it is necessary to build up a general understanding of different languages to avoid embarrassment occurred (von Wendorff, 2019).
Generally, different countries have different language backgrounds. However, the same country also has many dialects in different areas. This is a common affair in China. The official language of China is Mandarin, however, sometimes we have misunderstandings when we talk with friends from Hong Kong. Cantonese as a part of the dialects of Chinese and the official language in Hong Kong, the pronunciation and word sequence were a little bit different from Mandarin. But most of the alphabet was quite the same, so when some Hong Kong friends does not fully understand what we are talking about, they can definitely make a guess about what we are talking about from the similar grammar order and comparable pronunciation, most of the situations it is completely correct. Therefore, from a cross-cultural communication perspective, it is a misunderstanding under the two different languages background in the same country. Cantonese is a part of the dialects of Chinese, Hong Kong has the same cultural background and same historical ancestor as mainland China. Moreover, there are more than 70% of Hong Kong’s primary schools use Mandarin as their main language structure teaching (Coca 2018). Hence, although it has some discrepancies between Cantonese and Mandarin within misunderstanding, it is not difficult to understand the general meanings of these two languages.
It is not challenging to exist several types of languages in one country. In Australia, there are around one in five Australians speaking a language other than English at home (Language Professionals Australia Translation and Interpreting, 2019). Australia is a multicultural country that included plenty of nationalities in one country. As the migrations gradually increase every year, the most spoken language is also having a variety of changes during the expansion of the population from different nationalities. There are around 76.8% of Australians speak English at home (Sawe, 2019). There are around 300 individual languages spoken in Australia’s various homes. And the most spoken language except English is Mandarin, which has 596711 people from the investigation in the 2016 Census. And it does not have an official language in the whole country (Language Professionals Australia Translation and Interpreting, 2019). In Australia, we speak a variety of languages at home, but we have English which is a common language outside of the home. We possibly have misunderstandings for the different languages with diverse cultural backgrounds, but we have an open mind to accept the distinction and revel in the prosperity of these cultures. Once upon a time, I have been communicated with my neighbor, an old Aussie couple. At that time, immigration was a sensitive topic, as well as politics or religious beliefs, especially for two cultural ground people. But their open vision honestly motivated me. They are welcoming immigrants to Australia because they are truly relished in this multicultural society, for instance, they can taste a variety of foods from different countries and appreciate the distinct life habits of different cultures. Therefore, although we will have misunderstandings from different cultures, it is significant for us to keep an open mind to confront cross-cultural nationality in our current atmosphere.
In conclusion, miscommunication formed the failure sense to communicate ideas and meanings successfully. And it is a common issue for the newest overseas international students. Most of the time it is an embarrassing experience within the misunderstanding of communication. It is quite important to build up a basic understanding of the variety of languages in order to avoid awkward communication. There are thousands of types of languages in the world and some of those may have the same origins, especially in Asia countries they have lots of common history as well as language recognition. So, some of the dialects have misunderstandings though, but it is clear to identify and combine understanding just like Cantonese and Mandarin. It is also important to have an open vision to realize our current multicultural society, we may have misunderstandings about unfamiliar countries, but it is also important for us to keep an open mind to face and understand cross-culture misunderstandings.
- Coca, N. (2019). Hong Kong Is Fighting Back against a Mandarin Language Invasion. [online] OZY. Available at: https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/hong-kong-is-fighting-back-against-a-mandarin-language-invasion/87198 [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019].
- Dictionary.Cambridge.org. (2019). MISCOMMUNICATION| Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. [online] Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/miscommunication [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].
- Language Professionals Australia Translation and Interpreting. (2019). What Are the Most Common Languages Spoken in Australia? - Language Professionals Australia Translation and Interpreting. [online] Available at: https://www.langpro.com.au/knowledge-base/what-are-the-most-common-languages-spoken-in-australia/ [Accessed 17 Sep. 2019].
- Sawe, B. (2019). What Languages Are Spoken In Australia? [online] WorldAtlas. Available at: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-languages-are-spoken-in-australia.html [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].
- Von Wendorff, F. (2019). Top 5 Challenges of Studying Abroad. [online] Top Universities. Available at: https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/top-5-challenges-studying-abroad [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].