The Barriers Language Presents to Communication

Without language, communication of any sort is impossible. Even individuals who have speech impediments still communicate using sign language, and the blind communicate or can read via braille. Communication becomes almost impossible between two people if they do not understand each other’s language or if they do not have a third common language. This inability for people who speak different languages to communicate with each other is commonly referred to as a language barrier.

Unfortunately, language barriers go a long way in engendering mistrust and miscommunication. People may develop a wrong impression of others because of not thoroughly understanding their spoken or written language or the way this language affects their manner of thinking.

Although English is a language that is commonly used in business, the truth is that the vast majority of people on the planet don’t speak English. Many who do have English as their second or tertiary language. And since there are so many variations within the English language, people who speak English may not completely understand what another person is saying in English.

If the speaker and the receiver are not able to communicate with each other in words or writing, any talking that they do is pointless. Attempting to communicate using words that the other person does not understand prevents messages from being accurately conveyed. This is one of the reasons why many businesses invest in equipment for simultaneous translation.

An example of two people speaking the same language who may not understand each other could be an individual from the farmlands of Scotland speaking to an individual who is from London. They both are going to speak to each other in English, but neither individual is going to thoroughly understand the words that the other person speaks. For example, in Scotland a person can use the word ham and bacon to mean the same thing. However, in England those two words mean completely different things.

Then, there are countries that speak pidgin English. This is a simplified form of English that’s used by people who may not have English as their common language. But even here a slight variation in words or a slight variation in phrases can create some unfortunate misunderstandings.

This communication barrier is also seen in text messages. For example, LOL was the abbreviation for lots of love. Now, for many people, it means laugh out loud. However, some still connect LOL to its first meeting. It is clear to understand the confusion that different uses of this abbreviation could create.


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Business A1 by Xohaib