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Nationality identity can greatly affect the effectiveness of communication. Different nationality means different in cultures and in most cases languages. People from different countries tend to have different ways of understanding the world around them. It affects the way people think and behave in different situations. People who have different nationalities are likely to have different ways to exchange information and perform various activities that are unique to their countries (Lyerly 1997). This may lead to misunderstanding when people from different countries trying to communicate with each others. Regional differences create even more cultural gaps between human. Thus its effect on communication is even significant than that of nationality. The differences in geography, environment and culture are often too large that people tend to suffer from severe cultural shocks when they travel from one region to another. And that is the main force that affects the efficient communication between people from different nations and/or region.
Ethnicity identity is another major force that may contribute to the effectiveness of communication. Due to the different of the ability to understand and gain information of people, there are gaps in how different person understands the same piece of information. And that created the two groups of people: the haves and the have-nots. As for that, it is important to take the issue of ethnicity into account in order to improve the effectiveness of communication between these two groups of people. Holley (2008) stated that ethnic groups are identified by common culture, language, religion, and/or ancestral origins. He also argued that "there are no internationally agreed upon ethnic categorizations because history often plays a role in what aspects are considered most important for ethnic identity". That is, history is usually the major factor that defines ethnic identity.
Language is arguably the most important element of communication. Language is mean, in which the content of the communication is transferred and received. Or as Samovar, Porter & McDaniel (2008) put it: "Language is the medium through which a culture expresses its world view". Language is also considered as a communication tool that needs to be learned and used effectively in order to achieve successful intercultural communication. And if language is a tool then culture may be considered as the environment that has all the effects on language. Because of that, culture is, in many circumstances, what defines the meaning of language. That is why, in some situations, the same word can bring different meanings due to the differences of cultures. The matter is even worse when two cultures talk in different languages. In this case, a translation tool is needed, however the potential of misunderstanding is also raised as a word translated between two different languages between two different cultures may result in totally different meaning. For that, language and culture must be thoughtfully considered in intercultural communication. Or as Sarbaugh (1988) concluded the most important element in effective intercultural communication concerns language.
Communities are a source of identity. Every community has its unique traditions, values, and norms. Communities provide a wealth of organized and deep rooted information, which builds from countless interactions of various socio-political, socio-economic, and socio-cultural attributes that occur over time (Kriesberg 2003). This understanding becomes the property of that particular community and plays an important role in shaping the identity structures of its members. The emergence of various communities, e.g. professional, academic, and virtual has provided the opportunity for individuals to acquire diverse knowledge by assuming membership in these communities. The interaction of various sub-identities of an individual through his/her membership in different communities continuously shapes the learning, thinking, and perceptual environment, which forms the nature of experiences, value preferences, and knowledge arrangements. This intricate and complex system of socialization shapes the identity of a person. The role of communities in shaping the personalities of its members depends on the nature of the knowledge that is organized in its socio-cultural traditions. Analysis of an individual's community affiliations can enable the researchers to comprehend the role that community specific knowledge plays in forming the identity. Consequently study of community memberships of an individual can help us to understand the identity dynamics of a person; furthermore examination of community knowledge can shed more light on social interaction process. According to Kriesberg (2003) community knowledge, individual knowledge, and identity are the three constructs that need considerable attention in order to broaden and deepen our understanding of the relationship between a person and the community.
Social class has been one of the key elements that directly affect communication since the dawn of time. Social class is to some extend still creating boundaries between human, thus creating obstacles in effective communication (Holliday, Kullman & Hyde 2004). The conflicts between the rich and the poor, management and working class were often created by those misunderstanding in communication. People in different social class used to be significantly affected so much that they naturally create a barrier to prevent communication with other social class. It is perhaps in many ways shared the same properties with religion differences. Religion identity is sometimes improving communication where it shares a similar interest. It is also the main cause of conflict when its interest is not satisfied by those of different religion. Throughout history, people always keep trying to solve these significant differences; however, the conflicts with the core causes still remain intractable for many societies until even now. This issue may only be solved if we can change the core of how human perceive and understand the world.
In modern societies, men and women work together more frequently and more closely than ever before. As traditional male-dominated societies diminish, a dynamic communication emerges where women and men have the same goals and equal chances to pursue and archive their goals (Pinto 2000). While the communication between human benefits from this equality, there are still many tips and codes of conduct to be aware of, and it is important not to let gender identity issues interfere with effective communication. Many research have been devoted to the idea that women and men communicate very differently - in fact, it is sometimes stated that women and men communicate so differently from one another that they must have perceived the world from absolute different perspectives (Pinto 2000). The communication between men and women seems to be stable and equal day by day. For example, both men and women can be positive, outgoing, task-focused, or sentimental. The important point to think about, conversely, is that men and women sometimes identify the same messages to have different senses.
Age is of course one of the most important matters that affects intercultural communication. Its role is somewhat similar to gender. People tend to think differently when they are getting older. The more time they spend living, the more experiences they have and the clearer they see through conflicts. This is even true when it comes to multi-cultures. The young generations always have different ideas and the ability to take risks. The older generations see things more thoughtfully and are more cautious when facing new problems. That is why, in my opinion, even come from totally different cultures, the old people's ways of thinking is, to a great extend, similar. However, it is required the flexibility of the young to cope with cultural differences. To sum it up, the balance between the old and young are need to be balanced out in order to achieve an effective intercultural communication.
Perhaps the most important identity issue to be recognized by a young person today is that of sexual identity (Bennett 2007). In today's increasingly aware society, while there is still disgrace attached to those pursuing lifestyles other than heterosexuality, those who realize and honor the fact that their sexual orientation isn't mainstream do receive more acceptance than in the past. This ever increasing awareness and acceptance of differences in lifestyle facilitates increased mental and physical health for those who realize that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Identities can greatly affect the communication between people from different languages and cultures. How people think about who they are and who and what others are profoundly influences the effectiveness of their communication. Their sense of identity and conceptions of each other contribute to their understanding of the world around them. Whether and how identities affects the communication depends on their particular qualities. There are different sources of identity which lead to unique understandings of the people and how they think and behave in their world. Thus the communication between people is often suffered by these differences of understanding. To know, understand and use the uniqueness of different groups of people will greatly improve how people communicate with each others.