the primary language of the designated

Posted: August 7th, 2013

The Primary Language of the Designated




The Primary Language of the Designated

Part A

Summary of the Country and its Language

Mexico borders the US on the north, the Pacific Ocean on the west and south, the Caribbean Sea on the southeast, and the Gulf of Mexico on the east. It is one of the most populous countries in the world, with an estimated population of 112,975,406. About 78% of the population lives in urban areas. The main cities in the country include Mexico City, which is the capital and which has a population of more than nineteen million people, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, and Tijuana. Mexico was one of the countries colonized by Spain in the sixteenth century. The colonization by Spain had a tremendous effect in the country’s language. The main ethnic group in the country is the Mestizo, making up 60% of the population. The mestizos are Amerindian, Spanish populations. The main language spoken in the country is Spanish, which is spoken by more than 90% of the population, making it the largest country in the world where Spanish is spoken. There are other indigenous languages such as Nahuati and Mayan, spoken in different parts of the country (CIA, 2012). Mexico regained her independence from Spain in the nineteenth century. By this time, Spain had a major influence in the culture and language of Mexico. Development of the Spanish language in Spain and Mexico was different, and there are some differences in both verbal and written Spanish, between the Spanish spoken in Spain and the Mexican Spanish. Mexican Spanish has influences from the indigenous languages and the US English in addition, Mexicans use some Spanish words, which are considered outdated by European Spanish. These elements influence the differences between Mexican Spanish and European Spanish.

Description of Ferraro’s Model of High Context and Low Context Language

The context in the area of communication matters depending on whether a particular region is high context or low context. High context languages are implicit, and many words are unspoken. Verbal messages do not make a lot of meaning in the absence of non-verbal messages, because of the importance assigned to the environment or the context when a person is speaking. People will tend to associate the words they use with different elements such as religion, culture, history, relationships, and status. There is a lot of indirect communication from people using high context languages. The language lies more towards building relationships, rather than doing business and fulfilling the immediate agenda. This is unlike the low context languages, which are explicit and nothing is hidden. The low context languages assign meaning to every word. People speaking these languages mean what they say. They will have many words to describe what they want in definite terms. Thus, a person using a low context language will tend to use more words to describe an event or situation than a person using high context language will.

Assessment of the Language in Terms of the Model

Mexico is a high context culture and the language spoken is high culture. The people complement their verbal communication with non-verbal communication to make their meaning clear. The importance of forming relationships, even in business settings, means that people avoid using words such as ‘no’ and other negatives directly because they are considered rude. When a person is not interested in an offer, he or she tries to look for the right words to use. Moreover, Mexicans tend to avoid being direct on issues, and a direct answer is not warranted. Although the Spanish spoken in Mexico is a high context language, it tends to use more words than the English language. This is because of several reasons such as the need for the person to express himself emotionally and deeply in an attempt to create more meaning, the use of gendered language, and the fact that the language is not easy to adapt (Devlyn & Moulton, 2010).

Conclusion and Discussion on Factors for the Conclusion

Mexican language exhibits both elements present in both high and low context languages. However, the language is more of a high context language, because the Mexicans have high context cultures. They are expressive and emotional, and they do this in a bid to form and maintain relationships. However, their need for expression leads them to use many words, a factor that is more common among low context languages. .

Part B

Social Habits and Behaviors

The urban population in Mexico has become increasingly westernized. This population uses Spanish as well as English when communicating. Most of the people will combine the two languages when speaking. However, they continue to retain elements of their culture, which are not familiar or readily accepted in America. For instance, the idea of closeness is important to them. Mexicans are not as individualistic as Americans are, and they do not have the concept of personal space. It is common to see two men talking together when they are in proximity.

Non-Verbal Communications and Factors Identified

Non-verbal communication comprises a major part of the communication process, yet many people hardly pay any attention to it. People use non-verbal communication to emphasize a point, show their lack of understanding or agree with the person, and as a means of substituting for words. In some cases, non-verbal communication indicates the power that a person holds. For instance, people in authority will look at their subordinates directly when speaking to them. A subordinate may find it hard to look at his or her employer directly. People communicate in different ways using non-verbal expressions. This happens in the gestures they make, in their body postures, in their proximity towards the person they are communicating with, the expression in their eyes, and in their facial expressions. People are able to gauge the other person’s degree of interest in what they are saying by observing their body posture and facial expression. Some of the gestures are common across many cultures, but others tend to have entirely different meanings. It is essential to understand the meaning of different gestures and other non-verbal communication to avoid miscommunication (West & Turner, 2010). Mexicans make use of non-verbal communication such as gestures, eye contact, and facial expression.

Cultural Traits regarding use of Gestures, Touching, and Eye Contact

Mexicans avoid looking at each other directly when they are communicating. This shows a sign of aggression and confrontation depending on the context. It can also be a sign of flirting, especially if done by a member of the opposite sex. Mexicans will avoid direct eye contact as a sign of respect. Many Americans maintain eye contact when communicating, as a way of showing interest and understanding. Power distance is a crucial factor when communicating. Mexicans tend to have a shorter power distance compared to Americans. They stand closer to each other when communicating. When Americans fail to understand this, they might take it to mean that the Mexicans do not respect their personal space. Touching is widely accepted in Mexico. People use touch as a sign of welcome, whether it is through an embrace or a pat on the back. However, the urban population has become more aware of the differences in other cultures, and it is common to see people in professional settings shake their hands instead of embracing (Centre for Intercultural Learning, 2009).

Summary and Recommendation

            It is essential to understand the various cultural elements and meaning behind non-verbal communications in different cultures. This will help a person avoid embarrassing situations and communicate more effectively. Moreover, it is vital to interpret non-verbal communication in the context of verbal communication to enhance understanding (West & Turner, 2010).





















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